More Than You Can Handle

Brothers and Sisters,

I read an article earlier today on some of the myths we believe about grief. One of them stuck out to me: “God will never give you more than you can handle.”

Have you ever heard that line?

I’ve heard it in all kinds of contexts: death, job loss, divorce, wayward children, illness, you name it. It’s typically meant to empower people to gird their loins and slay the giants that stand before them.

Too bad it’s a load of garbage.

Take Naomi. Our first few sermons on the book of Ruth have shown us the utter hopelessness of this poor widow’s situation apart from God’s help. “Call me bitter,” was the cry of a woman who knew that God had given her much more than she could handle (1:20-21).

You know what? She was right. He had. And that was the point.

God gives Naomi more than she can handle, so that He can do for her what she could never do for herself. If she could handle it, then why would she need Him?

To say that God won’t give you more than you can handle is to assume you’ve got life covered just fine. No divine aid necessary.

That sounds empowering, but does it square with the testimony of Naomi, David, Jonah, or anyone else who’s called on God to rescue them out of the depths (Jonah 2:1-9)?

I don’t think so.

Do you want to be empowered to face the giants that stand before you? Take a cue from the saints of old and start by remembering your weakness (2 Cor 12:9-10).

God reminds us of our weakness when our kids disappear or the doctor calls us in for tests. Feel free to insert your burden here. He gives us more than we can handle because He loves us and knows our “best life” consists in learning that we can do nothing apart from Him (John 15:5).

So, I encourage you. Embrace your weakness. Quit acting like you’ve got things under control. You don’t. Stop telling yourself you can turn it all around. You can’t.

Instead, take your hands off the plow and raise them to the One who knows your plight. Then, get back to work (but keep praying!). Ora et labora.

You can’t handle this. But that’s ok; He can.

In Christ alone,