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God Gives “More than You Can Handle”…and it’s a Good Thing!

Along the way, most of us have been taught some bad theology we need to unlearn. Have you ever heard the popular saying, “God will never give you more than you can handle?” That one must be from 1 Hesitations 3:16, because it isn’t in the Bible. And it’s not just extrabiblical, it’s anti-biblical.

If you believe this is a promise from God, you will eventually either resent Him or condemn yourself. When life feels like ‘more than you can handle,’ you will war in prayer for Him to lighten the load. When it persists, you will conclude either that God can’t be trusted or you’re not working the system fervently enough. Over time, you will stop trusting the promises of God as nothing more than sweet sentiment: a form of godliness that lost its power.

God never promised He wouldn’t give you more than you can handle. He said that He’d never let you be tempted beyond what you can bear (1 Cor. 10:13). This means God will never put you in a situation where your only choice is to sin against Him. But “more than you can handle?” That’s His trademark move.

Sarah yearning to be a mom and yet enduring years of humiliation and heartbreak while remaining barren was more than she could handle.

Abraham being asked to sacrifice his one and only son was more than he could handle.

Joseph being sold into slavery by his own brothers, being thrown into prison though he was righteous, and being continually left to die by the people he helped was more than he could handle.

Moses enduring four decades in a desert, only to be sent back to the place where he was wanted for murder, was more than he could handle.

Naomi burying her husband, her sons, and her future was more than she could handle.

King David running as his own son chased him in order to kill him was more than he could handle.

Job losing his kids, his job, his home, his health, and his reputation overnight was more than he could handle.

Daniel being lowered into a lion's den.

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego facing a fiery furnace.

Jeremiah weeping from a waterless well.

Lazarus laying in a tomb.

The Centurion holding his dying child.

Peter walking on water.

Paul being beaten.

John the Baptist awaiting execution.

It was all more than they could handle. Because it's only when we face more than we can handle that we encounter the God who waits to take us into more than we could ask and make us into more than we can imagine. If you desire to move beyond a life you can explain by sheer effort and determination and to experience the God of miracles, the only road that travels there is called “More than you can Handle.

Here’s another piece of bad theology: Someone’s loved one gets cancer, they lose their job, a relationship falls apart, or they face a terrible unexpected financial battle when you hear the words: “God is just teaching me.” The core belief here is that our trials are directly tied to our actions, so when we misbehave, God sets up booby traps and science experiments to get us back in line. Looking past the horrific implications that would make God an abusive father, (I mean, what kind of loving dad uses torture to teach his kids?), it reveals a broken unspoken belief that we actually think we get from God what we deserve. After all, “God helps those who help themselves.” Yep. Again, not the Bible. And again, anti-biblical.

We can’t help ourselves.

“While we were His enemies, we were reconciled to God by His Son.” Romans 5:10

“When we were dead in our sins, God made us alive in Christ.” Ephesians 2:5

We couldn't help ourselves become unopposed or undead. It's the kindness of God that leads us to repentance, not karma (See Romans 2:4). God's love is patient, not punitive. God's love is kind, not calloused. God does not delight in the evil of stealing from you to teach you, but rejoices in the truth. Our God is present and at work in all things to reveal His heart because He’s a good Father. So, He will draw near and hold us, comfort us, and yes, even teach us more about His goodness in the midst of really broken things we have to walk through, but we need to stop this nonsense that God is packaging up rotten gifts and mailing them to us as lessons. The Cross demands no more blood being shed to get your attention. If God requires punishment in order to teach obedience, then Calvary was insufficient. If this is true, we would need to believe that “all of us as sheep have gone astray and God has NOT laid on Him the iniquity of us all;” that there is still some you and I need to suffer and bear. This is unworthy of the gospel. We are not transformed by the brutality of threat, but by the beauty of the love revealed in Jesus Christ.

If we choose to believe, even subconsciously, that God rewards those who please Him with a life free of pain, we will turn our lives into an exhausting treadmill where we strive to run hard enough to qualify for grace. We will misread every trial as if God is coming to malign us where in reality He has been graciously drawing near in broken situations He didn’t cause because He is fully committed to refine us. Somewhere in the present moment, God is giving you ‘more than you can handle.’ Take heart…and take His hand. ‘More than you can imagine’ is coming up just around the bend.

Adapted from En(d)titlement, © 2023 by Chuck Ammons. Available on

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This is good! I encourage readers to forward it to others who have believed these lies contrary to who God TRULY is!

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