I celebrate the NBA championship of the Cleveland Cavaliers with all my Cleveland friends. This win has been a breath of encouragement to a city that has been through a long season of disappointment and discouragement. Following the thrilling finish of game 7, a visibly emotional Lebron James mentions in his brief interview that the “big man upstairs won’t give us more than we can handle”.
Although I can appreciate the slight head nod to God, I cringe every time I hear that phrase.
Does God truly draw a heavenly boundary for us and shield us from trials that would be extremely burdensome for us? If He does, where so we find Scripture to support that theology? We won’t. In fact, a study through the Bible on hardship will reveal the opposite, that God often pushes us beyond what we can bear so that we will depend on Him. This came to mind this morning as I read in our CVC Bible reading plan. In 2 Corinthians 1:8-9 we see this:
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. Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead.
Do you see it? The Apostle Paul said that He was burdened beyond what he could bear! He felt like he received a death sentence. And why? To rely on God. To Depend on the strength of the Father rather than our own strength.
Yes, God gives us more than we can bear! Think of others in Scripture… Moses, Joshua, David, Esther, Peter and Paul, just to name a few, that were given more than they could bear.
So where did we get the phrase that “God won’t give us more than we can handle?” It’s a distortion of 1 Corinthians 10:13:
“No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.”
The context is that no TEMPTATION will be given to us that we cannot endure or flee from. Praise God that is true!
God allows difficulties and heavy burdens to enter our lives. To remind us where true strength lies, to refine us, to humble us, to lift our eyes to the Lord for divine strength rather than turn inward for mere human strength. So let’s stay God dependent people as The Lord allows joys, sorrows, victories and burdens into our lives.