Article by Theresa Sherrod, LPC, Living Well Counseling.
There is a common misconception that “God will not give us more than we can handle.” It is a comforting thought that gets us through that crazy first week of school after a long summer break. It gets us through the sleepless nights after bringing home a new baby. It brings hope after a defeating break-up. A problem with this idea is that although many of us experience hardships like these at some point in our lives, it is undeniable that some of us also experience a greater level of harshness in life. Some of us do, in fact, experience much more than we can handle.
One crippling danger of the misconception that “God will not give us more than we can handle” is that it implies that we will be handling our hardships in our own strengths. The Bible tells us that we don’t have to. He will walk the path with us.
- Philippians 4:8 says: “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. “
This verse is very difficult to appreciate when you are experiencing overwhelming pain, physical or emotional. Fortunately, when we cannot find things of this world to fit this verse, we have a Heavenly Father that fits all these criteria. He is always true, honorable, lovely, commendable, full of excellence, and worthy of praise. Think about Him. Focus your mind on His worthiness.
- James 1:2-4: “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”
Only the greatest of us can “count it all joy” when we are feeling overwhelmed with suffering. It is a worthy goal to strive for. All of us would someday like to reach the goal of “lacking in nothing.”
- Psalm 34:17-18: “When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles. The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.”
This is both a tricky verse and a comforting verse at the same time. It is tricky because it can be easy to fall into the trap of discouragement when God does not answer our cry for help in the timing we hope for.
It is comforting to know that just because we are brokenhearted or crushed in spirit, it does not mean that we have failed. Notice the first part of verse 17: “When the righteous cry for help.”
- 1 Peter 5:8-10: “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you….”
He will restore us. He will mend our broken hearts. “Under his wings you will find refuge” Psalm 91:4.
When we are overwhelmed by life and feel like the pressures are more than we can handle, when we feel brokenhearted or crushed in spirit, that is when we learn a deeper reliance on the One That Is Worthy. That is when we find His perfect strength.