Recently, I was catching up with a friend I hadn’t spoken to in a while. I asked how she was going and she commented, among other things, that life was tough and God was taking her constantly out of her comfort zone. I felt like I could relate all too well! This year in particular has been a huge growing year for me, feeling frequently overwhelmed by everything that’s been happening.
I almost made the comment that God must think us far stronger than we feel to be throwing all this stuff at us, but was stopped by a thought that instantly came to me. The thought that I’d missed the point entirely.
Sure, God sees me and I probably am stronger than I feel, but the challenges he sends my way have nothing to do with my strength – and everything to do with his.
There’s a saying I hear quoted far too often as a Bible verse – the idea that God won’t give us more than we can handle. One, it’s not actually in the Bible and two, to be honest, I think the opposite is true. I think God frequently gives us more than we can handle, not to prove our strength to us but to prove his. And the Bible is full of examples of that.
Let’s be honest, David couldn’t ‘handle’ Goliath. David was a scrawny kid and Goliath a giant of a man, not to mention a well-trained soldier. The only reason David defeated Goliath was because David saw God’s strength, instead of his.
And Gideon? Going up against an army of thousands with a few hundred men, trumpets and some crockery? I’m not a military strategist by any stretch of the imagination, but I can pretty safely say that’s a particularly bad plan. And yet, once again, Gideon and his piteously small band of men won.
God didn’t look at Gideon and say, "Ah, I know he can do this, if he’ll just believe in himself." Gideon’s strength, his self-belief, had nothing to do with his win. That was purely God.
And I think it’s the same with us. I think God constantly throws us more than we can handle, not because he wants us to realise how strong we are but to prove how strong he is. He’s under no illusions of how strong I am. He knows I’m weak. He sees how often I fail. He knows that no matter how hard I try, it still might not be enough.
But he also knows that how I handle the ‘too much’ he throws at me has far more to do with my faith in his strength than my faith in myself.
He knows he is strong.
He doesn’t think me stronger than I am. Nope. He just knows that he’s stronger than I think.
Because he knows that he’s enough. Every single time.
God does give us more than we can handle. But he never gives us more than he can.