Can You Handle It?

The thought process that lead to this tweet started with the Beth Moore book, So Long Insecurity that I’ve been reading off and on for months. She was talking about how it can be bad for us in our romantic relationships to know too much about each other’s past relationships. While some sharing is necessary and helpful, wanting to know too much is rooted in insecurity because you’re comparing yourself to the former person and seeing how you measure up vs. being confident about yourself. In the process of explaining that, Moore compared that quest to Eve’s original sin, the desire to know more, the desire to know things we weren’t intended to know or that we don’t need to know, “the knowledge of good and evil.” And just like Eve, we can’t handle it. But we don’t know that until it’s too late. God knows that we can’t handle that knowledge so he warns us not to go there.

That got me to thinking about the old adage, “God will never give you more than you can handle,” because if we have the ability to give ourselves too much knowledge than we can handle, then maybe we have the ability to give ourselves too much turmoil than we can handle too. There’s example after example after example of people in Scriptures who have more than they can handle going on. Best I can tell, that adage is an application of I Corinthians 10:13:

No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.

The way I read it, the verse has been taken out of context in that it isn’t talking about problems or stress like we apply it to, but specifically to temptation. God will not let us be tempted beyond what we can bear doesn’t mean we won’t have difficulties in life that are too hard to manage on our own. God may allow or inflict them on us, for reasons only He knows unless He chooses to reveal them to us. But we are also perfectly capable of — and do — bringing on our share of “more than we can bear” problems. Like Beth talked about with finding out too much about things we don’t need to know — we are capable of finding out information that is more than we can handle. I think we are also capable of getting ourselves into trouble all on our own. We don’t need help to cause problems. We create plenty all by ourselves. And sometimes those problems may actually be more than we can take, but that doesn’t necessarily mean God did it to us. Maybe we did it to ourselves.

Perhaps when we dismiss away some of the issues we face in life with “God will never give you more than you can handle” we are just trying to make ourselves feel better, and we end up robbing ourselves of taking responsibility for our own attitudes and actions that may have got us into a “more than I can handle” spot to begin with. Ultimately, I fear we may end up missing out on the blessing of valuable lesson, too.


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