First things first. Let’s look at the answers to the quiz from our the first post in this series, “God Helps Those Who Help Themselves”.
Which ones of these sayings do you think are in the Bible?
The phrases that are actually in the bible are:
The apple of my eye
Zechariah 2:8 (NKJV)8 For thus says the LORD of hosts: "He sent Me after glory, to the nations which plunder you; for he who touches you touches the apple of His eye.
Eat, drink and be merry
Luke 12:19 (NKJV)19 And I will say to my soul, "Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry.";
Eat sour grapes
Ezekiel 18:2 (NKJV)2 "What do you mean when you use this proverb concerning the land of Israel, saying: 'The fathers have eaten sour grapes, And the children's teeth are set on edge'?
A drop in the bucket
Isaiah 40:15 (NKJV)15 Behold, the nations are as a drop in a bucket, And are counted as the small dust on the scales; Look, He lifts up the isles as a very little thing.
The skin of my teeth
Job 19:20 (NKJV)20 My bone clings to my skin and to my flesh, And I have escaped by the skin of my teeth.
Now to the next phrase that many think is in the Bible but isn't.
God Will Never Give You More Than You Can Bear
As I said in my first post not everything that is mistaken as being in the Bible is bad things, in fact some of them are good things, good advice, and wise sayings. I just want you to know that a lot of things that you hear Christians even Christian leaders say are in the Bible are actually there and if they are not there they don’t carry the authority of Scripture.
Psalm 119:89 (NKJV)89 Forever, O LORD, Your word is settled in heaven.
Isaiah 40:8 (NKJV)8 The grass withers, the flower fades, But the word of our God stands forever."
2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NKJV)16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness,17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.
So if you have a question about something that you hear check it for yourself.
The phrase “God will never give you more than you can bear” is not in the Bible. It is a misquote of;
1 Corinthians 10:13 (NKJV)13 No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.
In his first letter to the church in Corinth Paul reminded them that people often choose to do the wrong thing when they are tempted. However we know that God does but tempt us. If we interpret this scripture in context we see that what Paul is saying is that God will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you can bear. When we are tempted to sin we can’t say that God tempted us,
James 1:13-15 (NKJV)13 Let no one say when he is tempted, "I am tempted by God"; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone.14 But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed.15 Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.
Temptation and sin constantly test us today so we look to the Bible and in it we find that Paul told the Christians in Corinth that God is faithful and that He give us the ability, through the power of the Holy Spirit, that is in us, to withstand the temptation and the consequences of sin.
This is not an escape from temptation, nor simply a hope of strength to overcome in the future, but a present power to endure in the midst of temptation, a glorious promise for the sorely tried. - The Wycliffe Bible Commentary.
He does make a way of escape the temptation through the power of the Holy Spirit who is in us.
John 14:16-17 (NKJV)16 And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever--17 the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.
Romans 8:11 (NKJV)11 But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.
Hebrews 2:17-18 (NKJV)17 Therefore, in all things He had to be made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.18 For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted.
Temptations are a lot different for the trials and tribulations that come upon us, often without warning, in this fallen world. Some, in fact many of them, come as a consequence of our own actions. The premise of this saying suggests that a God who loves us would never let us get past the breaking point. When some well meaning person says to us “God will never give you more than you can bear” and the reality is that you have reached the point of exhaustion and are about to lose it, you start to think that God is either a masochist, doesn’t really know how much you can bear, or that there is something wrong with you because you’re overwhelmed and God isn’t helping.
We know how great a true follower of Jesus Paul was yet he faced trials and tribulations all the time, and at one time he admitted that by himself he couldn’t take it anymore.
2 Corinthians 1:8-10 (NKJV)8 For we do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, of our trouble which came to us in Asia: that we were burdened beyond measure, above strength, so that we despaired even of life.9 Yes, we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves but in God who raises the dead,10 who delivered us from so great a death, and does deliver us; in whom we trust that He will still deliver us,
Let’s admit it we sometimes hurt so much that it is more than we can bear. There is a quote by Dr. Howard Hendricks, “Sometimes life gets so tough that you don’t just hit rock bottom - you crash through it”. Tough times come with living we can’t get around it and we’re not exempt from them.
The reality of Scripture is that God allows us to experience trials, tribulations, and hardships, sometimes even greater than we can bear by ourselves in order to push us toward true faith and submission.
James 1:2-8 (NKJV)2 My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials,3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.4 But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.6 But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind.7 For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord;8 he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.
The way you bear the burdens that come on you speaks volumes about your faith and commitment to trusting God. Paul, that great follower of Jesus asked, no pleaded, three times for God to take a burden from him. God’s answer wasn’t you can bear it Paul because I wouldn’t put more on you than you can bear. His answer was;
2 Corinthians 12:7-9 (NKJV)7 And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure.8 Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me.9 And He said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness." Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
In my post “Don’t Become Trapped By Discouragement”, I wrote Our expectations are that we won’t ever have to deal with disappointment, that every day will be perfect, no worries, no sickness, no sorrow. But when those things come our emotional response is disappointment. If we’re not careful that disappointment can become discouragement. The circumstances that trigger disappointment may be unavoidable, but the way we respond is a choice. We can either let the disappointment overwhelm us or we can face the situation with courage and take it to the One who can help us through them.
There is nowhere in Scripture where there appears to be a cutoff point for trials and tribulations. Not while we are still alive and on this earth. Yes, when we die and go to be with the Lord, there are no more troubles but until then we have to depend on the Lord to be with us, to guide us, and strengthen us, because there will be troubles that we can’t bear on our own. God didn’t give us the troubles but He stays with us through them.
Deuteronomy 31:6 (NKJV)6 Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the LORD your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you."
The Question Then Is What Do You Do When Things Get Too Much To Bare
Jesus tells us to come Him;
Matthew 11:28-30 (NKJV)28 Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.30 For My yoke is easy and My burden is light."
He tells us to help each other;
Galatians 6:1-5 (NKJV)1 Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted.2 Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.3 For if anyone thinks himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself.4 But let each one examine his own work, and then he will have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another.5 For each one shall bear his own load.
David, who we know had all sorts of problems in his life told us to give them to the Lord;
Psalm 55:22 (NKJV)22 Cast your burden on the LORD, And He shall sustain you; He shall never permit the righteous to be moved.
God Doesn’t Expect You To Bear Your Troubles Alone
It’s pretty clear that God doesn’t expect any person to handle everything that comes to them alone. The Scriptures never say that God won’t give you more that you can handle what they do say is that if you trust God He will be with you through it.
In the book “No That’s Not in the Bible”, by David O. Dykes, which I’m reading as part of my research for this series, I found this paragraph:
Mary lost her husband unexpectedly in a tragic accident. Several weeks after his death, I saw her at church and reminded her, “God won’t put more on you than you can bear.” Mary just smiled and proceeded to teach me a lesson I never got in seminary. She said “Oh, I’ve heard that before. But after Dave died, I tried to find that scripture in the Bible. It isn’t there.” Then she took a deep breath and said, “However, I have found that God will never put more on you than God can bear.” - No That’s Not in the Bible: Popular Sayings You just THOUGHT Were in the Bible, page 51
So rather than the phrase being “God will never give you more than you can bear” it really should be “The world and Satan will give you more than you can bear, but God will help you bear it if you’ll only trust in Him!
This blog is for you! If you have any questions or topics you would like me to address please use the comments section or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Donald Jacobs is an ordained minister with the spiritual gift of teaching. He is the Associate Pastor of a non-denominational church in Los Angeles, CA.