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Has God given us more than we can handle?

Sometimes it really is more than we can handle. Life. 

Somewhere, over the years, it’s become common for Christians to say to our brother and sisters dealing with hard times, “Don’t worry, God won’t give you more than you can handle.” 

That, my friends, is a big, fat lie. 

“Our burdens, our pains in this life can be heavy and hard to carry.”

I say this as I watch a dear friend and mother mourn the loss of her husband to cancer. No longer having the man she vowed to spend a lifetime with by her side is more than she can handle. 

I say this as a dear friend from college mourns the death of her newborn baby. Moving forward each day without her beautiful daughter in her arms is more than she can handle. 

I say this as another friend battles addiction and waits, weeks after reaching out for help, to get that help. Doing it on her own is more than she can handle (and medically unsafe). 

Our burdens, our pains in this life can be heavy and hard to carry. 

In Matthew 11:28 Jesus says, “Come to me all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” 

Our rest, our comfort is in him because we cannot do it alone. 

It seems there’s a need, an urge when someone is hurting to say something, anything. 

So I challenge you to find better words. Praying for someone, taking them a meal, sending a card on dates that were or are significant — those are things that could help. Ask them what they need. Don’t just say something to say something (or comment to comment).

I recently saw a post on Facebook with those words, “God won’t give you more than you can handle,” scratched out. In their place was 2 Corinthians 1:8-9:

“We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, 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. 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” (emphasis added).

“Far beyond our ability to endure.” 

In other words, it was more than they could handle. 

As I write this, a hurricane is causing devastation across the South. For some of those families it will likely be more than they can handle on their own. 

Related: 18 wheels and a heart to serve

In those moments, we see disaster recovery groups rush in, being the hands and feet of Jesus and helping people pick up the pieces. 

We can do the same for our friends who are hurting. It may look different, but being there to support and love them matters and can help to lift the burden of pain they carry.

I am amazed by the faith of my friends. They are each honest about the struggles their losses have caused when it comes to their faith, but ultimately, they are all doing the same — leaning on God and asking him to walk beside them on this painful path. 

“Let’s refuse to pour empty words, masked as scripture, on those we love.”

They’re navigating a “wilderness” as one put it — one most of us would hope to never find ourselves walking through. They each acknowledge it’s more than they can handle alone, but they praise God for his presence and the presence of others who have helped them to carry the searing pain of their loss and struggle. 

I know I’ve been guilty of using those empty words in the past, but as I’ve grown and learned from pain and loss in my own life. I’ve come to believe that there is a better way to love each other when we’re hurting. 

Let’s refuse to pour empty words, masked as scripture, on those we love. 

Instead, let’s do better. 

Let’s love better.

CONTACT: [email protected]. 

Filed under: grief Inside Story loss pain Top Stories

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