Suffering, Prayer and “God Doesn’t Give Us More Than We Can Handle”

Joni Eareckson Tada to Undergo Surgery for Breast Cancer

Warning: This is one of those not well written and not very coherent posts.

This reminds me of my seemingly morose motto, “Things can always get worse.”

We tend to think that when something really bad happens to someone, that means something good is around the corner or nothing else really bad will happen. I have been told this many times by individuals, read it in devotionals, etc. etc. I’ve also heard that the Bible says that God will never give us more than we can handle.

Regarding the first point–this isn’t Biblical at all unless one is talking about God working in the trial, which is indeed eternally valuable, comforting, encouraging and edifying. But life isn’t always about finding the pot of gold at the end of the rainbows and everything working out fine and living happily ever after.

On the second point, 1 Corinthians 10:13 is talking about temptation, not about anything we ever go through. When we are tempted by Satan or our own sinful desires, God provides a way out. We can run from it (Genesis 39:11-12). But I believe that to say that Job or Paul went through things they could handle is incorrect. Paul said in 2 Corinthians 1:8, “We were crushed and overwhelmed beyond our ability to endure”. Being suicidal is beyond our ability to handle. (This happens to Christians too.) Starving to death isn’t something I could handle. However, God does give us the grace to endure to the end without losing our faith.

One of the things I think about with this is to be as prepared as possible. Part of this is praying as Paul did: “May you be made strong with all the strength that comes from his glorious power, and may you be prepared to endure everything with patience, while joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has enabled you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the light.” (Colossians 1:11-12 NRSV) That’s a subject of another post.

In addition to writing about what 1 Corinthians 10:13 means and being prepared for suffering, I’d like to talk about how to pray for those suffering.

I’ve mentioned this before–if we only pray for healing, we are doing people a great disservice. God uses these situations for His glory and our good in one way or another. Healing of a physical ailment when we will eventually die anyway (I’m getting morose again aren’t I) is temporary albeit important. Praying for the spiritual is eternal and can affect others eternally also (as can healing). Using Paul’s prayers as a model, we know that what we pray for is God’s will. Physical healing may or may not be His will for who we are praying for but growing in knowledge, strength, working for our good, glorifying God–we can know that all those things are His will for those who love God.

In the last few years I’ve gotten one bad diagnosis after another. The latest is needing a lumbar double fusion with laminectomy/decompression with hardware. It’s been one thing after another for me on many fronts. I would hope that people praying for me aren’t just praying for healing. God has brought me closer to Him than ever before even though my conditions have gotten worse after being prayed over many times. In this rambling post, that’s what I’d like to leave you with.

4 Responses to “Suffering, Prayer and “God Doesn’t Give Us More Than We Can Handle””

  1. 1 Nancy

    …This reminds me of my seemingly morose motto, “Things can always get worse.”…

    Proverbs 4:18 (New Living Translation)

    18 The way of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn,
    which shines ever brighter until the full light of day.

    Me thinks you need a NEW motto!

  2. 2 Scripture Zealot

    Well, I could use a new motto, but that one might be a little sunny for me. It is Scripture though.

    It’s strange because so many bad things have happened and gotten worse but at the same time some good things have happened, infinitely the best of all is knowing God better, and I have so much to be thankful for. So it’s a mixed bag.

  3. 3 Carol Carrell

    Myself a christian since a teen,I have said that I can get through anything hard with God by my side, he has never given me more than I can handle. We were blessed with two baby girls, six years apart. Both with Cystic fibrosis, it was very hard, scary, tiring, and stressfull. God got us thru it with many blessings, growth, and love brought to us and others by our girls. they are now at Gods side watching over us all, One was 15yrs and one 22yrs. Even with this juorney over, he’s is still here helping get thru our new journey. There is nothing God can not get thru. He knows our weakness and strengths, and knows whats needed for growth, courage,faith, ect., no matter what..He is there for us no matter what.

  4. 4 Scripture Zealot

    Wow, I can’t imagine. Thanks for the encouragement.

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