I’m no theologian, but I think the answer to the question, “Will God allow us to suffer more than we can handle?” is “Yes, He will.”
May sound odd, but gimme a minute to flesh out my thoughts on this.
I grew up being told the Lord will never give us more than we can bear. This thought is taken from First Corinthians 10:13. The Message translation of the Bible seems to back this theory:
“No test or temptation that comes your way is beyond the course of what others have had to face. All you need to remember is that God will never let you down; he’ll never let you be pushed past your limit; he’ll always be there to help you come through it.” (1 Corinthians 10:13 MSG)
That’s good news, right? This seems to say life will NEVER throw us a curveball so fast and twisty we can’t hit it. Little baseball analogy for ya.
But check out how the New Living Translation interprets the scripture:
“The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.” (I Corinthians 10:13 NLT)
So this version is talking specifically about “temptation,” not “trials.” We all endure temptations of some kind, be it drugs, cigarettes, pornography, booze, whatever. Everyone has weaknesses, but this verse seems to promise these temptations will never be so powerful we can’t resist.
God will show us a way out of the temptation; He will provide a means of escape, if we trust Him, and are searching for the way out.
Even though the King James Version is not the original translation of the Word of God, for those of us who don’t read Greek or Hebrew, it seems to be the closest we have:
“There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” (I Corinthians 10:13 KJV)
So is this “bad news?” This verse seems to indicate the explanation I was given when growing up in the church is wrong. I felt more confident in myself when I thought there was literally NOTHING I couldn’t handle.
As spiritually powerful and mature as the Apostle Paul was, he suffered trials he honestly didn’t think he could survive:
“We think you ought to know, dear brothers and sisters, about the trouble we went through in the province of Asia. We were crushed and overwhelmed beyond our ability to endure, and we thought we would never live through it. In fact, we expected to die. But as a result, we stopped relying on ourselves and learned to rely only on God, who raises the dead. And he did rescue us from mortal danger, and he will rescue us again. We have placed our confidence in him, and he will continue to rescue us. And you are helping us by praying for us. Then many people will give thanks because God has graciously answered so many prayers for our safety.” (II Corinthians 1:8-11 NLT)
He straight-up said “I thought we were DEAD, man. I figured there was no way we could live through this.”
So how DID he survive the trial discussed above? He stopped relying on his own strength, talents and abilities and relied solely on God. He learned there were trials which WOULD crush him, were it not for Christ.
So in and of our own power, there are adversities which have the power to take us down. But the good news from P(NLT) is, “I
“Everything.” Not some things or most things, but EVERYTHING.
Again, this is my spin on these verses. From what I gather, there is, in fact, a darkness so thick, so dark, so spiritually and emotionally toxic, we cannot defeat it under our own power.
But with Christ on our side, we can survive any trial, test or temptation. God has our back, and evil has no power over us.
This gives us good reason to lay all our troubles and pain at His feet. Let God take the worry from your heart; His shoulders are bigger than yours anyway.