God Will Give You More Than You Can Handle
Hear my cry, O God, listen to my prayer; from the end of the earth I call to you when my heart is faint. Lead me to the rock that is higher than I, for you have been my refuge, a strong tower against the enemy. - Psalm 61:1-3 God will give you more than you can handle. I guarantee it. I have heard many people say God will not give you more than you can handle and they often say it with good intentions - to try and comfort someone walking through difficulty or suffering. Maybe you have even said it. Let not your heart be troubled, I have said it many times myself. The verse you might be thinking of that connects somewhat with this is 1 Corinthians 10:13 where Paul writes "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." But this verse has to deal with temptations, not with with events of suffering and pain. The truth is God will give you more than you can handle. There are things that come into our lives that we can’t handle - all kinds of suffering, pain, and darkness. There are macro events like a hurricane or school shooting or COVID-19. And there are more personal events as well. I know people in my church who have lost a spouse or a young child. There are people who have been betrayed by a business partner, a close friend, or a spouse. Others who watch their babies born nearly three months too early or walk with their elderly parents as they come to the end of their lives. And hardly any of them ever saw it coming. You really have no idea what tomorrow will hold. As a pastor, I have a front row seat to see the suffering of people and hardly a week goes by (sometimes a day) without a phone call or an email or a note that doesn’t make me shake my head and weep. Early on in ministry I would try to bring comfort to people by telling them how God would not give them more than they could handle and that if they could "only be strong for a little while" everything would soon turn around. This too will pass.
But the truth is, sometimes this too shall last. These days I am able to balance two profound truths in my head simultaneously: God will give you more than you can handle, but He will never give you more than He can handle. These are the two statements that now drive my preaching and counseling. God gives you more than you can handle so that you can realize you can’t handle it on your own! He gives it to you so that it would drive you to Him. Give the Lord your lament. Give the Lord your pain. Give the Lord your tears. David writes in Psalm 61 that his heart has grown faint. He is experiencing far more than he can handle psychologically, emotionally, and physically. Where does he go when he is at his end? He goes higher. He writes in Psalm 61:2b-3: “Lead me to the rock that is higher than I, for you have been my refuge, a strong tower against the enemy.” There it is. That is where you go when everything is falling apart. The higher rock. The greater refuge. The stronger tower. God himself. You will grow faint, you will tire, and you will get overwhelmed, but rest assured, God’s heart never grows faint. He never tires. He never gets overwhelmed. And with these beautiful assurances as our anchors in the storms, we can say to our faint and weary hearts: “When all around my soul gives way, He then is all my hope and stay.”