I’ve seen bumper stickers, Facebook memes, and such that generally say, “God won’t give you more than you can handle.” Though it sounds nice it’s not true. That is bumper sticker theology. I don’t recall anywhere in the Bible that says anything at all like that.
I have even seen one that said: “Since God doesn’t give me more than I can handle, then he must think I am a badass to give me what I am going through.” That’s even less true than the first statement.
God has other purposes than to show the world what a badass you are. He has a kingdom and a will and it will come and it will be done.
The story of Job is one of a man getting more than he can handle. Even Job’s wife and friends couldn’t handle it. They had to think that Job was a secret sinner deserving of all that happened. Contemporarily, if you look at those with minds broken by physical and emotional trauma, especially the homeless, they have had much, much more than they can handle.
This brings with it a problem of theodicy– why does God allow bad things to happen to good people? Is God administering evil things to happen to people? To one person molestation, to another a car accident, to another the early death of parents, things that as humans we really can’t handle.
There is evil in the world, but to say God causes it is untrue. God allows evil to happen, but that is different than causing it.
Paul writes, “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28). This means all things, even bad things, are worked for the good of God’s people. Crazy to think that God has this spiritual Judo that can turn the worst things into good ends. Evil cannot thwart God’s will or purpose.
In 2 Corinthians 12 Paul famously writes about an affliction he has (many scholars think it may have been poor eye sight), but Paul asks God to remove this affliction:
Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
That is not the writing of a man who thought he was a badass, of a man who thought he could handle the hard stuff in his life. This is a man who is identified with Christ. A man who is identified with Jesus, who in the utmost agony and shame of being stripped naked, beaten and hung up on a crucifix to die turned it around into the ultimate defeat of death and sin.
God’s power is made perfect in weakness.
What weakness do you need God’s power in?