Who tell yuh dat? The lies we believe - God will never give you more than you can bear - Part I
Have you ever heard Kirk Franklin's song, More Than I Can Bear? It's a beautiful song that has ministered to so many people that God will never put more on us than we can bear. This is a popular maxim and because of its popularity, we automatically assume that it is true and attempt to live our lives by it. We may even use it when offering condolences to those who have lost loved ones because we think it is comforting and reasonable. In this final instalment of Who Tell Yuh Dat? The Lies We Believe, we will uncover the truth about this statement.
There are several challenges with believing God will never give us more than we can bear. Let's look at three:
i. It's not in the Bible
This pseudo-scripture is usually quoted when someone is facing painful trouble, whether emotional, physical, or relational and is experiencing issues in their lives, never when facing temptation. But, the only place in the Bible where God says He will not give you more than you can bear is where He refers to temptation.
Let's look at it. 1 Corinthians 10:13 NIV, says, "no temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. 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". When you are tempted to cheat, steal, commit adultery, worry or murder, you can never say, "sorry God, the temptation was just more than I could endure". God always makes a way to escape temptation. We also know that God never tempts us as James 1:13 NIV says: "When tempted, no one should say, 'God is tempting me'. For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone".
It so easy to see how people have misquoted this scripture on temptation to say God will never give us more than we can bear.
ii. It impugns the character of God
When we say God will never give us more than we can bear, we are saying that it is God who puts trouble in our lives. Is God a malevolent deity who weighs His children down with pain and suffering? No. The Bible teaches that our God is a loving Father who has plans for our good, and not to harm His children. Most of the suffering in the world comes from the devil and from the consequences of living in a fallen world full of sin, yet God usually gets blamed for every disaster and accident. While life may not always be fair, God is always good.
iii. Sometimes we experience more than we can handle
There are times when we experience more than we can bear. Apostle Paul had this to say in 2 Corinthians 1:8-11a NIV, "We do not want you to be uninformed ... about the troubles we experienced ... 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. He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and He will deliver us again. On Him we have set our hope that He will continue to deliver us...". Here, the Apostle Paul was saying that there were times when he was so burdened down with the weight of his problems that he could not bear it. If the Apostle could say this, then what about you and me? We will experience things that will be more than we can bear, but God will deliver us.
So, one might ask, why would God allow us to experience more than we can bear? Let's look at one of the four reasons why God would allow this to happen.
First, God wants to:
- Teach us to depend on His presence
The Apostle Paul said, "... this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God". If the Lord had to teach the great Apostle Paul this lesson, what more for us?! Have you ever noticed that when things are going well, it's easy to forget about God? But when things start going down, we start to remember God and seek Him. When Jonah was swallowed up in problems, he declared: "In my distress I called to the Lord and he answered me." Jonah 2:2 NIV. This is what God wants, to teach us to depend on Him, to draw us to call on Him. Psalm 145:18 tells us, "the Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth".
Next week, we will look at the other three reasons. Join us then!