In an attempt to bring comfort to someone in a difficult situation, you have most likely heard someone say, “God never gives you more than you can handle.” The more I have thought about this statement, the more I’ve realized that it is lacking.
I know from firsthand experience. God gave me more than I felt I could handle when he led me to go to New York City on a mission trip in June 2017. God knows that my response to mission trips has always been fear. I am afraid of planes, the turbulence on the planes, and even the multitude of germs in the planes! I am afraid of approaching a Tibetan Muslim I have never met before to boldly share the gospel of Christ. I am afraid of being uncomfortable.
Nevertheless, I am certain that God is telling me to go, so I am going. Not because I feel like I can easily handle it, but because he is teaching me. Naturally, in my own strength, I sometimes approach God’s plans with fear, hesitancy, or anxiety. Yet I am reminded of one of Paul’s letters in which he encourages Timothy not to be ashamed of the gospel and reminds him of the salvation and calling that God gave him. Paul states, “For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control” (2 Tim 2:7). Like Timothy, many of us fall into a spirit of fear. In our own strength, we definitely cannot handle the challenges of life and the often uncomfortable callings God has for us. This is why I believe that God gives us more than we can handle, so that we will realize our need for the Holy Spirit to give us power, love, and self-control.
Consider ways in your own life that you are falling into a spirit of fear. When you feel like you cannot handle something, it is probably because you cannot. But you can with the Holy Spirit, who makes us strong in our weakness. In reality, God does give us overwhelming situations, but only because he wants to remind us that he will never give us more than we can handle…with Him.