Tonight I had a great heart to heart conversation with one of my good friends here in Nashville. We shared many things that we have learned throughout our journeys in the struggles, questioning, and discerning of the callings God has placed on our lives. In the midst of our conversation, we talked about an author we were both familiar with and a concept that she had shared in one of her books. It seems that so many Christians have come to accept the familiar saying, “God won’t give you more than you can handle.” Like this author, I have over the years come to find this statement false, especially during times when I am exactly where God wants me to be.
You might be thinking, “Chelsea, now you have really done it. You have spoken heresy. There is a verse in the Bible that clearly says God won’t give us more than we can handle!” Just to clear the air, let’s take a look at this passage of Scripture. 1 Corinthians 10:12-13 says, “So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! 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.”
This is such a fantastic Scripture, and one that every believer must come to understand. Here inlays a bold promise of God. The subject is temptation, and this concept is a very broad concept that I usually interpret as “attacks” from the Enemy. There are many things that we are tempted in mentally, physically, and spiritually. Almost immediately when we hear the word “temptation” we think of sex, and no doubt that is a big one. However, temptation can occur in many other forms such as temptation to fear, to back down on a calling, or to give up on a project that God inspired someone to do. It could be temptation to bend the truth to save face in a job situation or to try to cover up a mistake that could end in consequences. Temptation takes on many forms.
It is important to note, however, that temptation always originates from Satan. James 1:13-15 says, “When tempted, no one should say, ‘God is tempting me.’ For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.” The purpose of temptation is always to stand in the way of a genuine and growing relationship with God. Satan will do anything to throw this off track. However, this promise from God that the temptation will not be more than we can bear is a truth that we can take comfort in: God will be faithful to give us strength and to provide us with a way out of the situation.
In essence, this verse is saying that Satan will never throw anything at us that we will not be able to handle in God’s faithfulness. The flaming arrows from the Enemy must pass through God first, and God is always in control, even of the attacks from the Enemy. We must hold true, and trust that God will give us everything we need to stand firm. This is a promise that we can trust, and it is one that I have found to be true in many deep and dark times in my life. Having gone through many seasons of temptation, I can honestly say that God used those moments, days, and years to make our relationship and my trust in Him stronger.
We have, however, taken this promise that we will not have more than we can handle and added something that is dangerously untrue. We have concluded that it is God who will not give us more than we can handle. Scripture clearly says that God will not allow us to be tempted beyond what we can bear, but it has proven time and time again through nearly every story of faith that God is in the business of giving His followers more than they can handle. That should excite us, not scare us. It is through this sacred trust that God draws us closer to Him.
In every calling, there are several crisis points when we find we have reached the end of our ropes and know that we cannot work any harder or follow any longer. It is in those moments that we have a choice to make: we can either quit or collapse at the feet of God. This is where God meets us and begins the real work inside of us. Many times, He needs us to reach our breaking point of all that we can do ourselves and to surrender to His limitless strength. This is when He fulfills His purposes for our lives and ultimately for His Kingdom.
I am coming up on a big weekend where I will be facing some overwhelming possibilities. I know two things beyond the shadow of a doubt: this is exactly where God wants me to be and this is far too much for me to handle. I have seen myself crumble in the past. I have seen myself fail. Satan reminds me of those times every waking moment. However, I am depending on God’s strength every day to be able to take the steps He is leading me toward in order to do His will for my life. I need Him to help me trust Him, that He can and will work everything out, even though the unknowns have proven to be daunting and downright scary. I desperately need His help to carry me through.
Please pray for me that God will give me wisdom to discern His will and direction in the coming days. Also pray that God will give me the strength to fight the temptation to shrink back in fear. Pray that He will use my life as a testimony of His faithfulness. I long to be close to Him, to be used by Him, and to be obedient every step of the way. I will surrender myself to His higher plan that is far greater than anything I could dream up. I thank Him for His calling that is so much more than I can handle, but truly possible in His grace. This is the Great Adventure!