More Than We Can Handle

Written by: Carolyn Ruttan

God won’t give you more than you can handle.”  I’ve heard this said so many times to people when they are facing difficulties.  It´s meant to encourage. I’ve heard it preached from the pulpit.  I’ve read it in devotionals.  Just this morning actually it was part of the devotional that my husband read to the kids before they headed out the door and off to school. I spoke out and said, “that’s not true!” And actually, it’s a bit of a pet peeve of mine actually, because I don’t believe it to be true. I believe at times that God absolutely gives us more than we can handle.

I can almost hear people saying…” Wait a minute! It says that in the Bible…that God will not give us more than we are able to bear! ” But does it really? For a long time I thought so too. Then I tried finding scripture to support that thought and found none. I can assure you, you won’t find it either.  I used to think when times of difficulty came that God must thing I am super strong because I sure didn’t feel like I was handling things so well.  Quite the opposite in fact. I used to think…how much more am I supposed to take, God? I used to wonder when things would ever end.  Would there ever be a light at the end of the tunnel? There were times it just seemed like it was one trial after another.

So, why have we heard so often that God won’t give you more than you can handle? The verse that is so often taken out of context and the verse that people are thinking of is this…

1 Corinthians 10:13 The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.

The verse is referring to temptation. Not trials. Not sorrow. Not the burdens we carry. Not the things that break us….but temptation.

My thinking is that if God does not give us more than we can handle than why would we need a Savior? If we could do everything on our own and in our own strength we would not need to depend on him. We wouldn’t need him in our lives. We wouldn’t need to cry out to him when the hard times come because we could handle things just fine on our own.

2 Corinthians 1:8b-9 We were crushed and overwhelmed beyond our ability to endure, and we thought we would never live through it. In fact, we expected to die. But as a result, we stopped relying on ourselves and learned to rely only on God who raises the dead.

There will be times in life where we feel like we are drowning, times where we feel like we can’t possible take any more. There will be times when our world is falling apart. There will be times that we feel like we have no more tears left to cry. There will be times in our lives when something will blindside us, and times where we are powerless.

But, here is the thing…We were not meant to do life on our own and in our own strength. God wants us to rely on His strength. Maybe we can’t handle it…but He can.

Psalm 46:1 God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble.

Isaiah 41.10 Don’t be afraid for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will HOLD YOU UP with my victorious right hand.


Matthew 11:28-30 Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.

1 Peter 5:10 In his kindness God called you to share in his eternal glory by means of Christ Jesus. So, after you have suffered a little while, he will restore, support and strengthen you. And he will place you on a firm foundation.

One more thing that brings me a bit of comfort…. knowing that our Lord felt the same way. He knew what it was like to feel lonely, and rejected.  He knew how it felt to be hated, to be made fun of and accused of things he did not do. He knew how it felt to be in deep anguish.

Isaiah 53:3 He was despised and rejected—a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief. We turned our backs on him and looked the other way. He was despised, and we did not care.

So if that is where you are right now, in this moment of your life…feeling like you just can’t take any more…know that He gets it. He has been there. He understands your pain and all you are going through and he cares.

1 Peter 5.7 Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.


  1. Joan Ross says:

    You put this so beautifully Carolyn. As I look back over many trials in my life I wonder why it took me so long to understand. He really is there all the time waiting patiently for us to lean on Him and trust Him to do what only He can do.

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