Have you ever heard someone say, “Hey, I know you’re going through a tough time, but don’t worry: God won’t give you more than you can handle.”
It’s often well-intentioned. And some people think it’s from the Bible. (It’s not.)
A part of the reason this expression concerns me is because I think it misleads us about God’s character. Plus, it can frustrate your attempts to improve your difficult situation.
Here’s why. If you think God’s constant goal is to pile up hardships in your life because you’re “strong” and “can handle it,” it can turn him into the bad guy. So instead of turning TO God for help you turn AWAY from him.
But God’s heart is help you not hurt you.
Psalm 121:1-2 makes it clear: “where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.”
What are some of the descriptions for God in the Bible? Saviour, healer, shepherd, defender, shield, fortress…
Does this mean he never challenges you or changes you or calls you to a broader perspective on life and discipleship? Absolutely not. After all, he is a perfect heavenly Father who wants the very best for you.
He is wise. He is true. And he loves you. So when troubles come your way, run toward his outstretched arms—not away from them.
God’s heart is to help you not hurt you.
By Matthew Ruttan
- “God doesn’t give you more than you can handle”… Really? – That was my latest podcast, and it’s closely related to today’s “Up!” devotional. In it I debunk this expression and explore how God is active in our lives in the midst of our troubles. You can listen to the 25-minute message here. Enjoy!