We’ve all heard it. “God doesn’t bring you to anything you can’t handle.” It sounds reassuring, comforting. When someone is cramming for the MCAT, they hear it. When someone goes through a breakup, they hear it. When someone is diagnosed with cancer, they hear it. It gives us the illusion that we’re in control. That no matter what gets thrown at us, we’ll be ok if we tough it out and stay strong.
But that sweet little phrase is fake news, my friends. It is absolutely, positively not true.
Now wait. Before you close your laptop, hear me out.
Sometimes toughing it out and staying strong is not enough. Sometimes even the pretty faces, perfect Instagrams, and encouraging mantras we say over and over aren’t enough to mask the stress and sadness we are facing. Sometimes we come to things that we simply cannot take on alone. That’s when God comes in.
It’s not that God only bring us to what we can handle. It’s that God only brings us to what we can handle with Him.
We humans have such a tendency to think that we can do everything on our own, so in times of need we cling to this phrase for comfort. Yet no where in the bible does it say that God only leads us to what we can handle. This is not scripture. Nowhere in the bible do we see men and women overcoming great adversity by their own will and their own might. Instead, the bible is drenched in stories where humans are given tasks that simply cannot be conquered alone. Noah is instructed to build a boat that fits every species, and then is expected to repopulate the Earth. Moses is sent as a missionary to lands where God’s name is cursed, murder is the norm, and followers of God are beaten violently. Mary, a virgin, is asked to give birth to the King of the World, putting her marriage, her reputation, and her life on the line. Just eleven apostles are told to go out, proclaim the gospel, and start churches in every corner of the Earth. Do you really think that God brought them to these tasks because he thought they could handle them alone?
If God only brought us to what our human capabilities could take on, we would never need Him at all. And that is not the life we are designed to lead. Our God is a loving God who formed humankind to need Him. He designed us to be imperfect intentionally, not to prove His authority over us, but because He loves us so much that He wants to walk with us everyday. When we say that we only face what God knows we can handle, we assume that we are greater than our problems, and that is not true. Only God is. Only God is greater than the tears, the anxiety, the depression, the diagnosis, the heartaches, and the fear.
Friends, there is nothing that we are meant to face alone. He never leaves us or forsakes us. So the next time that someone, in attempt to encourage you, says that God only brings you to what He knows you can handle, remind yourself that that is not true. The Lord always brings us deeper, past the point of comfort, so that we have to lean into Him. So that we have to call upon Him, seek Him, and grow nearer to Him. He grips our hands and guides us forward, for it is out of His divine love that nothing we face is faced alone.
words and photo by Kate Payne