It happened again this week. I heard someone say, “God won’t give us more than we can bear.”
This is theologically and biblically incorrect, yet many people believe it. They probably are thinking about 1 Corinthians 10:13 where Paul writes, “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 the way of escape also, that you may be able to endure it.”
God does not allow us to be tempted above what we can bear. He provides an escape so that we can have victory over the many things that tempt us and prevent them from becoming strongholds.
But God does not promise that we will not experience trial after trial and horror so difficult that we cannot bear it. In fact, God didn’t even do that for his son, Jesus, who cried out “Why?” from the cross. Holocaust victims, sex trafficking victims, burn victims – who of us can bear that kind of pain? Yet God allows it.
What God does promise is that his grace is sufficient. This type of grace is not the saving grace that rescues us from an eternity in hell. Rather, it is the grace that empowers us when we’re going through hell on earth. He sometimes allows us to go through situations that we – in our own strength – cannot deal with. We cannot bear it on our own, and that is why we need his powerful strengthening grace. He allows us things we cannot bear so that we move away from our self-sufficiency and depend on him.
This is why Reverend G often says, “I can’t stand it” – usually within a prayer. She cannot bear the thought of forgetting her son’s name or losing the ability to pray. Reverend G, a life-long minister, cannot bear the very real possibility of losing all her sensibilities through Alzheimer’s. So she prays to God and reminds him that she can’t stand it.
She knows that she needs the powerful hand of God to uphold her even during the times that he has allowed her more than she can bear.
So let’s remember that when we face the next trouble that we absolutely cannot deal with, that is the time to focus on God’s strength and ask for his help. When we absolutely can’t stand it anymore, he can.