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How Much Can You Handle?

I’m sure you’ve heard the saying: “God won’t put more on you than you can bear.” It sounds good. It sounds like something God might say. Perhaps you’ve repeated it when trying to encourage others. 

There’s only one problem with it. It’s a myth.

In 2 Corinthians 1:8, Paul writes about the terrible situation he was in: “For we do not want you to be unaware, brethren of our affliction which came to us in Asia, that we were burdened excessively, beyond our strength, so that we despaired even of life.” How bad was it, Paul? Verse 9 continues: “Indeed, we had the sentence of death within ourselves…” Yeah, it was bad. Real bad. 

Yeah, it was bad. Real bad. 

Did you notice the phrase “beyond our strength”? In other words, the circumstances were beyond their capacity to bear. They couldn’t take any more. Paul’s saying that God has put more on them than they could handle. You and I have, if we are honest with ourselves, felt like that sometimes.

But Paul did not despair, for he understood that these trials were not the end of the story. They were an invitation to a greater trust in God. In the middle of his circumstances, Paul knew he needed to quit focusing on the trials and start focusing on trust. God had put Paul in a situation that Paul could not fix. Though he was a talented and capable guy, this was a set of circumstances where nothing in his resume could help him out. 

God had put Paul in a situation that Paul could not fix.

Paul says that, yes, God put more on him than he could handle. But that wasn’t the whole story. Though he could not handle his problems, God could. Therefore, the challenges were not an invitation to despair. They were an invitation to a greater trust in God.

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