I would like to comment on one of the phrases that is found in the article highlighted in this Tweet:
Five phrases Christians should never use again http://t.co/DzEbmzWpUR
— Mark McIntyre (@mhmcintyre) May 25, 2015
On the surface, it seems correct to say that “God will not give you more than you can handle.” Paul does tell us in 1 Corinthians 10:13 that God will not allow us to be tempted beyond our ability to escape the situation. But it is a huge jump to infer from this that God will not allow you to encounter situations that you cannot handle.
On the contrary, I would go so far as to say that God will certainly give you more than you can handle. The point is that until we come to the end of our own abilities, we cannot learn to trust God for the outcome. All of the great heroes of the Bible were put in difficult situations. Daniel, Joseph, Moses, David, Elijah and Paul all come to mind. Their faith was tested and strengthened by the difficulties that they faced.
Furthermore, anyone who is in any relationship will have more than they can handle. Unless you are a complete narcissist and ignore the people around you, relationships will make you aware of situations that are beyond your control.
We all bring dysfunction with us when we interact with friends, family and acquaintances. I have limited control over my own dysfunction and no control over yours. Relationships are messy and are sometimes more than we can handle. Yet, we are called to be in them and how we function in relationship is to be an evidence to the world that God is working in our lives. Jesus said that the mark of the church is to be love (John 13:35).
This platitude also ignores the truth that there are evil people in the world who get their kicks from hurting others. Belief in Jesus doesn’t prevent one from encountering evil. Or there are those who feel the need to force their own beliefs on others. Just ask Christians under Communist governments or in Islamic States about how much control they have over their circumstances.
We must not forget, however, that Jesus promises to be with us through any ordeal that we encounter. He said, “In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). God can give us the grace to bear up under the trial, but that grace has got to be a work of God to be effective.
In the face of real danger, persecution or any other trial that threatens to overwhelm me, I don’t need a platitude to shore up my inner strength. I need a Savior to come beside me and lend me his strength.