“No temptation has seized you except for what is common to man. But God is faithful, He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear but will provide a way out so you can overcome it” 1 Corinthians 10:13
This is probably one of the most misinterpreted verses in the bible. This verse is not talking about hardships of life but temptation. I wish there was a verse about an easy life and that things wouldn’t be overwhelming but there isn’t. Instead what we find in the bible are people who are pushed beyond their limits; Christians, God’s own people, facing trials and tribulations that are beyond their capacity.
Paul says “For we do not want you to be unaware, brothers, of the affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself.” 2 Corinthians 1:8. He goes on to say that the reason for that despair was given to him by God so that He would not depend on himself but on God: “Indeed, we felt we were under the sentence of death, in order that we would not trust in ourselves, but in God, who raises the dead.” 2 Corinthians 1:9
God allows circumstances that are beyond our strength in our lives. He does that so we would recognize our need for him. The concept of “God will not give you more than you can bear” is the reason why the world is the way it is. It’s a lie that encourages people to believe in some mystical capacity that they have within themselves instead of realizing that they are nothing without God. The bible is not about us or our capacity and strength. The bible is about God’s infinite love, his power and glory.
God gives us more than we can bear so we can realize that He bore all things for us in Christ Jesus. Trials and hardships bring us to our knees before a God who is infinitely powerful and capable to do all things. The bible says “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”. We often forget the “through Christ WHO strengthens me” we think we can do all things on our own. Time and time again the bible reminds us that it is through Christ, in God, by the cross that we are more than conquers. It’s him who brings the strength; it’s him who brings the power and the ability to bear things. Without God, you and I are nothing and we can bear nothing. God gives us more than we can bear so that we can recognize Him bearing it all for us.
As Christians, we cannot afford to be biblically incorrect with the things that we say. When we start believing that God doesn’t give us more than we can bear, when the tragedies strike, when hardships come, we start doubting God and start looking within ourselves or to other people to fix the problems or make the pain go away. When we recognize that the trials are beyond us but never beyond him, we run to him and confess that what we face is beyond our strength but not beyond his. Our words, our acceptance of certain cliché doctrines shape our beliefs in such subtle ways but in the long run they have huge impacts in our lives when they don’t line up with the truth.
He who knows no hardships will know no hardihood. He who faces no calamity will need no courage. Mysterious though it is, the characteristics in human nature which we love best grow in a soil with a strong mixture of troubles. – Harry Emerson Fosdick
Can I be honest? I hate when people say that line to me and I’m sure someone who has gone through profound hurt finds no comfort in that sentence. When my mother passed away from cancer people couldn’t stop telling me that and I felt like dying every time I heard it because I knew I was dying inside. I knew this was beyond my capacity. I knew I couldn’t bear it. When people told me that, I felt as though something was wrong with me. Why can’t I bear this Lord? Why do I feel like I’m the weakest person in the world? The pain was so profound that for months I would choke on my tears at night. And then it hit me, this wasn’t mine to bear, whatever strength I could muster up was a waste of time before this Goliath. It wasn’t my battle, it wasn’t my war, it was God’s and I had to let go of the burden into his hands and so I did and I’m still learning how to do that.
Every day I have to renew my mind with his word and realize that I received a bitter hand and it’s OK for me to say that but God is bearing it all for me. God is making springs in my desert. I am weak, we are all weak but in Christ and only in Him, we are strong. That’s why you can’t go to the child who has been raped and abused and say “God doesn’t give you more than you can bear”. You can’t go to the starving children in Africa and say “God doesn’t give you more than you can bear”. You can’t go to the single mother who has to fight tooth and nail every day to feed her babies that “God doesn’t give her more than she can bear”. It’s a bandage sentence that does nothing for the wound. We love to find unbiblical one liners to give to people to make the pain go away when God gave us the truth of his word and we never use it as He called us to do. When Jesus was tempted by Satan, He replied to him every time with “It is written…”. Where is it written in your bible that he won’t give you or that person more than they can bear?
“A man whose wife just left him went to see a pastor and he poured out his heart before that pastor and cried. The pastor was so stunned by what the man was saying that he was silent for a long time and finally the pastor broke his silence and said “God won’t give you more than you can bear my brother. This too shall pass”. The man with his swollen eyes lifted up his head and looked straight into the pastor’s eyes and said “Pastor don’t comfort me with empty words. Give me God’s word even if it hurts me to hear it”.
Unbiblical “truths” give nothing to the soul. When hardships come, speak and say it is written “here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because Christ has overcome the world” (John 16:33). When someone loses a child say it is written that “He will wipe away every tear from your eyes and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away”(Revelation 21:4)! When someone speaks to you about their childhood abuse say it is written “the Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble”. To that single mother say as David said “I was young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread” (Psalm 37:25). As Christians, when we resort to worldly tactics and words to comfort people, it just shows that we don’t know God’s promises and we don’t spend enough time in his word. The world’s word has no power compared to His word. Speak to the broken soul in a language that heals. God never promised us an easy life but it is written “God is near the broken hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” Psalm 34:18
Pray biblically, speak biblically, believe biblically and trust biblically.