I hate the cliché “God won’t give you more than you can handle.” I’ve spent a decade as a single mom and I’ll assure you this isn’t true. God has given me, or at least allowed, more than I could handle. Some days were soul crushingly more than I could handle.
I know the sentiment is to reassure people, but I’ll be honest and say it didn’t reassure me. And I won’t boldly say God gave me all of my problems, I know that I created most of them on my own. So this isn’t a blame game, but more of a reality-check.
The problem with the quote is the YOU, more specifically, “YOU can handle.”
We aren’t expected to handle everything alone. Jesus said his grace is sufficient, so we could know we need his grace. We also need the people around us, and that is really painful for those of us that have been abandoned on some level.
I struggle with the sin of pride and if we start talking honestly, I‘d say many of us do. The pride of thinking we can handle everything on our own, so much that we don’t even want anyone to help. You see I’ve gotten quite good at providing by myself and I’ve gotten quite good at shutting people out. Part of that comes from a place of necessity and part of that comes from a place of pain.
I think this is a huge problem in society. Look at the high levels of people on medication for anxiety and depression. Look at the suicides and broken homes. Look at the fall out of us thinking we could do things all on our own. The pressure is so high and people are cracking under it.
Jesus cried in anguish when the apostles fell asleep. The living God needed people to be there for him.
St. Teresa of Calcutta so boldly set off on her own at the prompting of God. But it wasn’t to be alone. The sick and suffering were what sanctified her soul and led her to sainthood.
We need each other, both to help and to be helpers.
I’d like to re-write the quote to say, “God will provide the grace, strength and help that you need.” He will and he has for me repeatedly. I’ve always known I wasn’t alone in raising my children alone because Jesus was helping me every day. I know without his grace I would have never endured the hardship of so many trials. I know without the people in my circle, I couldn’t have covered all those shifts, practices, dinners, payments, appointments, court dates, homework, etc. We were created to love each other and help each other.
God will absolutely give us more than we can handle. That’s not to say he will leave us abandoned, but it is to say we will have days or seasons that are too much. We aren’t called to walk this life alone.
We were created to be the body of Christ and to help each other and to lean into God’s grace. We have to help build the body of Christ to come together with all of our strength and struggle. We weren’t meant to be self-sufficient, we were meant to need help, both Heavenly and earthly. By God’s design, He will give you more than you can handle, but He will provide the grace, strength and help that you need. May God bless you!