Gospel Relevance

Gospel-Centered Resources For The Gospel-Driven Life

God Will Never Give You More Than You Can Handle?

The God will never give you more than you can handle Bible verse — is that what you’re looking for? Actually, I’m not sure that’s what the Bible teaches.

It sounds spiritual. But is it biblical?

God Will Never Give You More Than You Can Handle Bible Verse

God Will Give You More Than You Can Handle

Let’s let the cat out of the bag right away: God often gives us more than we can handle.

The saying “God won’t give you more than you can handle” is popular, but we will not find it anywhere in Scripture. It does not exist.

I think what people are doing when they use this verse is a misapplication of another verse. A verse found in 1 Corinthians 10:13:

No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.

It’s important to note that God does not tempt anyone. That’s made clear from James 1:13: “Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one.” But, as Aaron Armstrong says, “While God does not tempt us, He does, in his sovereignty, permit us to be tempted.”

Armstrong continues:

When Paul writes that God will not tempt us beyond our ability, he means that we are never in a situation where have no other choice but to sin. In a situation where telling the truth will damage your reputation, for example, it’s much easier to give in to the temptation to protect how people see you and lie, rather than do the right thing, which is tell the truth. That’s why there’s no such thing as a “white lie”—one that you tell to protect the feelings of someone else. We never lie to make someone else feel better, only to avoid discomfort ourselves. It’s just easier to lie and not deal with the consequences of telling the truth.

But, easy rarely equals right. We always have the option of doing the right thing, that which is honoring to God, but it will often cost us—whether that cost is reputation, position, relationship, or money, there will be a cost. But it’s always worth it to do the right thing.

So it’s true that God will not allow us to be tempted beyond our ability to do what is right, He will almost always give us more than we can handle on our own.

So we learn that the implications behind the quote is in regards to temptation, not affliction. We learn that God will give us more than we can handle from Paul: “For we do not want you to be unaware, brothers, of the affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself” (2 Corinthians. 1:8)

Paul said they were “utterly burdened beyond our strength.” They despaired of life itself. They were afflicted, wounded, battered and defeated. They received more than they could handle.

But why? Is there a point?

Why God Gives Us More Than We Can Handle

Paul answers that in the next verse: “But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead” (2 Cor. 1:9).

The reason God often gives us more than we can handle is so that we can learn to depend on him.

We are not self-sufficient. If we never suffered, we would be worse, not better. Why? Our pride would destroy us. We would never feel as if we had a need to pray, to trust God, to seek him. We would have everything figured out, and our sinful rebellion would destroy us.

Maybe we need to start seeing the trials and difficulties as a blessing, not a burden. He does not want us to rely on our own strength, but his, and he uses the trials to teach us that. We can find joy amidst the trial by receiving the strength he provides in the trial. And he will — He is faithful and true.

You may also like: 

  1. 4 Reasons Why God Makes You Wait
  2. 3 Things To Remeber When Life is Darker Than You Expected
  3. On Dealing with Rejection: A Christian Perspective 

About David Qaoud

David Qaoud (MDiv, Covenant Theological Seminary) is associate pastor of Bethesda Evangelical Church in St. Louis, Missouri, and founder of gospelrelevance.com. His work has appeared on The Gospel Coalition, For the Church, and Banner of Truth. He lives in St. Louis with his wife and son. You can follow him on Twitter.

32 Replies

  1. I’m not a fan of that misapplication of Scripture. Though these scripture deprived people probably mean no harm, but to say God never gives us more than we can handle when He clearly does, impunes the nature of God.

  2. Reblogged this on Shooting the Breeze! and commented:
    Very interesting thought…never looked at it this way before.

  3. I’m so glad you posted this because more Christians need to know this truth! Every time someone tells me, “God will never give you more than you can handle,” my response is always the same. I tell them I believe that God DOES give us more than we can handle, because in reality we can’t handle much. We are simple humans. Sometimes, God allows things to come our way to show us how much we depend on Him. He wants us to know that our strength comes from Him and Him ALONE, and relying on our own strength will leave us weak and defeated. Great message!

  4. Meagan

    I really enjoyed this! Thanks for sharing. It reminded of me of one of my favorite quotes by A.W. Tozer which says, “The faith of Christ will command or it will have nothing to do with a man…the only man who can be sure he has true Bible faith is the one who has put himself in a position where he cannot go back…pseudo faith always arranges a way out unless God fails. Real faith knows only one way. For true faith, it is either God or total collapse”.

  5. Awesome post, spot on. If God never gave us more than we could handle, we wouldn’t need Him. Thanks for sharing this.

  6. ruidanieljaime

    Reblogged this on ruijaime and commented:
    Very interesting post.

  7. ruidanieljaime

    2 Corinthians 1:8-9

    In the post it’s “2 Corinthians 8:9″…
    Very good post by the way

    1. Thanks for the heads up! It’s been fixed.

  8. Thank you for the thoughtful exegesis of Paul’s statement. Pithy sayings make great sermon points for sloppy pastors; you have shown your integrity with God’s Word.

    1. Richard, thank you. Your comments are always welcomed and appreciated.

  9. A very clear and concise explanation of an oft mis-understood verse. Thank you for that.

  10. Thank you! God gives us more than we can handle all the time. And it IS so that we can feel our own insufficiency (which is the truth) and will turn to Him who is sufficient for everything. God cultivates our relationship to Him this way.

  11. Reblogged this on Broken Blessing and commented:

  12. LOVE this. God recently just gave me way more than my little heart could handle.. Praise Him! Through it, I learned amazing things, I was truly blessed, and I grew leaps and bounds. Maybe not in the middle of the storm, but it happened.
    Yes, maybe this thought is comforting but you made me realize it is false. God gives in abundance, ALL for His glory and in His goodness. At all times.

  13. It seems like all of life is about learning how to cast off our self-sufficiency and lean wholly on Him. So yes, I think that getting more than we can handle is far from unusual 🙂

  14. Amen! Amen! Amen! Why would we ever turn to Him in many cases if we felt we could do it on our own. God doesn’t temp but He is every ready to catch us and be our victory when we finally admit the need for help! He is forever standing by waiting for His child to do so!! 🙂

  15. I never understood it to mean that he won’t give me more than I can handle alone, but that as someone belonging to Him and loved by Him, nothing will befall me that will obliterate or pulverize me. He and I together can do it… Sometimes really just Him. 🙂

    I’m not sure why any Christian would interpret that phrase as meaning “God won’t give me a cross that is heavier than I can bear.” We know He fell under His cross. We know he had help from Simon. And we know we are called to pick up our crosses and follow Him! But never alone. 🙂

    Katie Davis says something along the same lines as you on this one though. You both have beautiful reflections.

  16. I wanted to lay bare how counterfactual you were ( like an absent-minded professor) about it not being in Bible! Instead, I was said professor! How much I enjoy it when God singles me out for a humbling lesson so that I may check my pride level! I very much desiderate that we might become friends.
    Oh while on my quest I did find this Scripture that maybe you can append to your article if you find any part where it could elucidate.

    “Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,”
    Ephesians 3:20

    On Facebook I’m, bryanmatthew1973

  17. So true. My wife and I work with people who have all kinds of addiction, relationship and other issues. Some of these people have encountered Christ in a tangible way, but their lives are a living hell. The trendy Christian ‘sound-byte’ culture that abounds on television and the internet has very little relevance to these people, and to me. The irony of this is that the people who Jesus spent most of his time with were in terrible situations, and his answer wasn’t ‘I’ll make everything go away’, it was ‘my yoke is easy and my burden light’. Still a burden though!

    1. Wow. That’s deep. Appreciate the insights and thoughts.

  18. I understand now and also I am sorry. I have a slight habit of letting my mouth overload my behind! Again I’m sorry. You are right about the wording in the Holy Bible and the way the scripture has been tweaked over so many years that honestly, even though I’ve read that passage many times I still thought that the other saying was in there too. Lesson learned! Check the facts before opening my mouth!!

    1. Thanks for your honesty!

      1. Have you found that people, in general, that say they are Christians, lie? That’s kind of a half-hearted joke. I would like to get to know more about your beliefs and views. Would that be something we could do?

  19. Just saw this now! Thank you. I love it. Reminded me of a post I wrote back in June: https://lgde4me.wordpress.com/2014/06/06/we-cannot-handle-a-son-with-autism/

  20. It is amazing how many Christians repeat the phrase that God will never give us more than we can handle, but some of us know from experience that it is simply not true. But more importantly the principle is not found in the Bible. Thanks for the post!

    1. I agree! Thanks for reading.

  21. This is the blog of the day for me. It was something that I myself needed to hear. We become superior in our own flesh, we believe we can do things on our own or the mankind has that authority. Even though God does not tempt us he allows us to fall and to be tempted so we can soley rely on him. God likes to show off and show us HE IS GOD. we underestimate God at times and we don’t even realize it. I connect and very much agree with this message! thanks i look forward to reading more of your blogs 🙂