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Misunderstood: God Won’t Give You More Than You Can Handle

Insights from The Weekly REBOOT

By: Evan Owens

As the season unfolds, our REBOOT trauma healing courses are opening for registration, offering a space for healing and growth. If you know someone in your life who could benefit from a REBOOT group, extend an invitation! I’ve always believed that the difference between healing and remaining wounded often begins with a simple invitation. Your support in spreading the word is invaluable, and as our groups kick off, take a moment to connect with newcomers. Share your story and the transformative impact REBOOT has had on your life. Imagine the encouragement you would have appreciated if someone had done the same for you!

Reflecting on the recently concluded series, “Authentic,” I hope you found it as enriching as we did. If you wish to revisit any of the content, remember that the entire series is accessible on the MyREBOOT app. You can purchase an all-access MyREBOOT membership for only $7.99 per month.

We’re also excited to announce that selected episodes will be available on our podcast, the REBOOT Recovery show, across various podcast platforms.

Unveiling “Misunderstood

Our new series, “Misunderstood,” ventures into the most misunderstood, misinterpreted, and misused verses in the Bible. The Bible is rich with complexities, and we’ve had a blast narrowing down the list to bring you the most commonly misunderstood or misunderstood verse in Scripture.

Today’s Misunderstood and misquoted verse is found in 1 Corinthians 10:12-14:

“So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it. Therefore, my dear friends, flee from idolatry.”

This verse serves as an ideal starting point as it aligns with the core theme of suffering discussed in REBOOT. Often misquoted as “God won’t give you more than you can handle,” this sentiment, while comforting, unfortunately rings untrue.

Consider this: many of us found our way to REBOOT precisely because we were facing challenges beyond our capacity to handle. Diving into the complexities of life, whether in damaged relationships, battling unhealthy addictions, or grappling with constant depression and anxiety, brought us to this transformative space.

While REBOOT groups may not be everyone’s idea of a fun time, they offer a profound opportunity for growth. Acknowledging our vulnerabilities and sharing the worst days of our lives fosters a sense of community and support. The shared understanding that we’ve either been given (or caused ourselves to experience) more than we can handle is what unites us. Life became difficult enough that we called for reinforcements in the form of our family at REBOOT. 

Do you recall the circumstances that led you to REBOOT? What was it that you couldn’t handle anymore?

Debunking the Myth

The idea that “God won’t give us more than we can handle” is a well-intentioned sentiment but ultimately untrue. There’s a noticeable difference between this misquote and Paul’s intended message in 1 Corinthians 10:12-14. 

The context of this verse revolves around the subject of temptation, not suffering.

Paul, in providing a historical backdrop to the Corinthians, draws parallels between the experiences of the ancient Israelites and the contemporary church in Corinth. His warning is clear: flee from temptation to avoid repeating history. The subsequent verses clarify that God won’t let us be tempted beyond what we can bear, offering a way out when temptation arises.

Contrary to the misquote, Paul doesn’t say, “God won’t give you more than you can handle.” He asserts, “God won’t let you be tempted beyond what you can bear.” The emphasis is on God providing a way out when faced with temptation.

In the realm of temptation, God won’t give us more than we can handle. However, when it comes to suffering, hardship, disease, or pain, the narrative shifts.

God didn’t cause my trauma, but He allowed it. Moreover, He might allow it again. This acknowledgment strikes a chord of uneasiness, recognizing God’s sovereignty and the reality that for “it” to get to us, it had to get “through” him. After all, he is sovereign. He chooses to let us suffer as he honors the law of free will which he established at the beginning of mankind. 

Isn’t that an encouraging thought! We see this law at work in Paul’s own life. In 2 Corinthians 1:8-9 he shares an overwhelming set of burdens beyond his strength. It reads:

8 We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters,[a] about the troubles we experienced in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired of life itself. 9 Indeed, we felt we had received the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. 

Paul explains that the purpose was not to handle everything alone but to lean on God, who can even bring the dead back to life.

Contrary to the misunderstanding, God will in fact let us bear a heavier burden than we can carry in order that we will depend more fully on him. He wants us to give our problems to Him. The idea is not to gather more strength of our own accord but to trust only in His strength.

Continuing to believe in the idea that “God won’t give us more than we can handle” might lead to feeling let down. Life’s challenges, whether today, tomorrow, or in the future, could be more than we can handle. In those times, God isn’t far away or uncaring. He is here.
Furthermore, the heaviness of life allows us to experience the blessing of letting others share our burdens with us. Relationships that share burdens are among the sweetest and most rewarding.

Maybe it’s time to change our way of thinking from saying, “God won’t give you more than you can handle” to saying, “When life feels like too much, I’m here to help.” By embracing vulnerability and offering support, we can go through life’s challenges together, finding strength in community and shared experiences.

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