"I won't softsoap it for you. Your child has very severe problems and they are never going to go away. This is the best she will ever be--it's all downhill from here." Exam after exam and test after test would reveal more and more congenital defects. For the next five years, I endured countless occasions of being told, "God won't put more on you than you can bear."
At her funeral, many "well-meaning" friends patted our hands and told us, "Remember, God won't put more on you than you can bear". And as the pretty little pink velvet-covered casket was lowered into the vault that cold November day, the preacher put his arm around my husband and me and tried to console us with, "God won't put more on you than you can bear."
In later years, a mother and dad came to the hospital where I worked to identify the remains of their teenage daughter who had been killed in a traffic accident. My heart ached for them as I heard their outpouring of grief. While I went about my duties, other family members and friends came in to be of comfort to them. Again I heard that term, "God won't put more on you than you can bear."
A son, reeling from drug use, too intoxicated to fully understand what was going on around him, sat by the side of his mother's bed as she lay dying. He spewed vile profanities at God and other family members. His aunt tried to quiet him with, "God won't put more on you than you can bear."
Five members of a family were killed in a traffic accident--the only surviving member was horribly burned and died several weeks later. During my visits in their home as the grandparents tried to put their lives back together in some semblance of tolerable reality, I heard that term repeatedly used: "God won't put more on you than you can bear."
Those are just a few among the countless times I have heard that term used. I have long been amazed by the folks who inanely spout that foolishness. Where do they get that? It's not in the Bible. The phrase, "God won't put more on you than you can bear" is a direct mis-quote, thus making it false and empty. It's of no comfort. I have heard it preached from pulpits, taught by Sunday School teachers and prattled to one and all, including the unsaved, at times of bereavement.
I repeat, it is NOT in the Bible. Yet people go about, foolishly parroting a scripture they don't even know correctly, and all it does is cause confusion. "Confusion?" you ask. Yes! A lot of confusion.
The Bible tells us in I Corinthians 14:33 that God is NOT the author of confusion.
So where does the confusion begin? What is the truth of the matter? Let's look at the actual scripture that is so widely misquoted and misapplied: So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don't fall! No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. 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 stand up under it. 1 Corinthians 10:12-14.
Now let me back that up with another Biblical FACT: God does NOT tempt mankind. When tempted, no one should say, "God is tempting me." For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone James 1:13.
As you can see for yourself, the Bible plainly says "temptation". God will not allow us to be "tempted" more than we are able to bear: He will make a way of escape. We are then told to flee from the worship and participation in worship of idols. Get away from. Separate ourselves from. But do we? No. Matter of fact, most of the time, we succumb to temptation and don't even bother trying to remove ourselves from it. So not only do we distort and misquote the scripture, we don't even follow the actual scripture, either!
Simple, rational logic defies the concept of "God will not put more on you than you can bear". If God never allowed us to have more on us than we can bear, why would we ever need God? We could do all things for and by and in and of ourselves. Think about it! We would never need to pray, never need to stand on His promises, never need to have faith in Him--we wouldn't even need Him!
We are going to be confronted with problems/situations that we don't know how to cope with. It may be in the form of physical sickness, financial failures, emotional turmoil or devastating loss. There may be those times during which you feel that God is further away than the most distant star. You may have a desert experience, barren and dry, or you may go through a deep dark, lonesome valley.
I want you to understand one thing: you are in this place for a reason. God wants you to learn something from it. And if you will cling to your faith in Him, you will emerge stronger than ever before!
What then? Should we despair? Now that that ever-handy phrase, "God won't put more on you than you can bear", has been brought into the light and shown for what it truly is, a perversion of scripture, do we have any comfort?
Of course! The Word of God is full of comfort for us, to us. We do have to get between the covers of that Grand Old Book, The Holy Bible, to find them though. And a good place to start is in the 12th chapter of 2 Corinthians. Paul, a great man of God, very clearly explains, by his own personal example, that God's Grace is sufficient. In this chapter we read:
Even if I should choose to boast, I would not be a fool, because I would be speaking the truth. But I refrain, so no one will think more of me than is warranted by what I do or say. To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12:6-10.
Did you see it in there? The Lord said to Paul, "My grace is sufficient for you." Paul said to us, "...for when I am weak, then am I strong." What?
Therein lies the entire problem. We want to be strong in and of ourselves. But if our strength does not come from God, it will not sustain us, for it will not be sufficient to meet our need.
And just how do "we" do all things? Through JESUS CHRIST. Why? Because His Grace is sufficient. And we can further back that up with: For no matter how many promises God has made, they are "Yes" in Christ. And so through him the "Amen" is spoken by us to the glory of God. 2 Corinthians 1:20.
When we get so elevated within ourselves, when our SELF-esteem becomes so great that we forget to factor God into our equation, when we forget to esteem Jesus Christ above ALL things (including ourselves), we are in trouble and we will not be able to make it. By, through, in and of ourselves, we will fall short. However, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me!" I can make it, with Him, through Him, by Him and of Him, because HIS GRACE IS SUFFICIENT.
I strongly urge you to go to another page, Promises Of God for When It's More Than We Can Bear. There you will find fantastic, awe-inspiring, never-changing, eternally-faithful promises of Our God, Who is not slack concerning His promises!
He is an ever-present help in time of need and you can stand on the direct promises He has given to mankind through His Word. He will never fail you. These scriptures are clear and direct promises that you can depend on.
And if you want to be truly encouraging to someone? Offer the strength of God's promises to them. Then, the next time you feel as if God is not close to you, or you see someone who needs a lift, you can stand on...
Surely the arm of the LORD is not too short to save, nor his ear too dull to hear. Isaiah 59:1
Lord, you have been our dwelling place throughout all generations. Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God. Psalm 90:1&2
Excerpts from "More Than We Can Bear?" Copyright © 2000 by Patricia Sikes.
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