• Kara Abernathy

God Won't Give You More Than You Can Handle

A lot of Christians take Scripture out of context and confuse themselves into believing something that God does not promise. I’ve definitely been guilty of that.

It's easy to pick and choose select verses to justify what we want without reading and digesting the whole context of a passage. Here’s an example:

“If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full” (John 15:7-11).

I remember convincing myself that God would provide something I desperately wanted because I had misinterpreted passages like John 15:7-11. I took verse 7 out of context and falsely assumed that God would give me what I desired in the exact manner I had asked for it.

If we take verse 7 and isolate it, it appears that Jesus is telling us He will grant whatever we wish.

But if we read verse 7 in the context of the passage, we see the message. The passage is about abiding in the True Vine. The True Vine is Jesus Himself, and his mission is to make us disciples for the glory of God. Abiding in Him brings fullness of joy because we are right with God and walk in His love, protection, and care.

This passage instructs us to ascribe to a process of asking God to shape our hearts to ask for what will bear fruit and allow us to keep His commandments. This heart shaping process requires us to learn to use the filters that God uses to see our requests. We must start to ask for what will make us better disciples. The passage doesn’t guarantee that we can ask for absolutely anything and God will automatically say yes.

John 15:7-11 is a clear example of a passage that is easily misunderstood based on what we want to hear.

Another common misinterpretation of Scripture is using 1 Corinthians 10:13 to convince ourselves that God won’t give us more than we can handle.

“No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide a way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it” (1 Corin. 10:13).

Here is where we get the common misunderstanding that "God won’t give me more than I can handle." The problem with this interpretation is that this passage is talking about the temptation to sin, not the problems that we face in our lives.

OF COURSE God will give us more than we can handle on our own. That’s exactly why we need Him.

  • If we are going about our daily lives and see no need for God, why would we ever turn to Him?

  • If we think we’ve got it all under control, why would we lean on Scripture and pray through our worries?

  • If we think we can do it all on our own, why would we become part of the Church?

We can’t control so many of our circumstances, so it makes sense that this saying “God Doesn’t Give You More Than You Can Handle” just simply doesn’t work.

Think about the child with a chronic illness or a patient with cancer. Think about the young widow full of confusion and loneliness. Think about the father who just lost his job and isn’t sure how he’s going to put food on the table.

The minute we say that "God won’t give you more than you can handle" is the minute we mislead anyone going through overwhelming pain, loneliness, or distress. It causes people to doubt God’s protection and care.

Instead, we should say God can handle what I can’t. I don’t have it all together, but God does.

“O LORD, my Lord, the strength of
my salvation,
you have covered my head in the
day of battle” (Ps. 140:7).

I love the imagery of this verse. It’s comforting to think of the Lord covering our head when we face the turmoils of this life. I’m so thankful that God has it all covered. He has it handled because I do not!

This concludes the “Common Sayings Debunked” series, but make sure to check out the other posts:

1. “Sorry Not Sorry”

2. “Follow Your Heart”

3. “Speak Your Truth”

4. “You Do You”

  • Instagram - Black Circle
  • Facebook - Black Circle
  • Twitter - Black Circle
  • Pinterest - Black Circle

© 2019 Kara Abernathy

Disclaimer: my thoughts do not necessarily reflect the thoughts of my employer.