You’ve heard it and so have I.
“God will never put more on you than you can bear.”
It’s not biblical, and it’s just not true. The concept is a misinterpretation of a verse in the book of John. God does allow us to experience more than we can bear. In fact, Jesus tells us, “In this world, you will have trouble … ” (John 16:33).
My question is, “If God never puts more on us than we can bear, then why do we need God?”
Let me describe some events that bear testament to the truth that God will allow more than we can bear on our own. Then I will tell you what the scripture correctly says and hope that we grasp the difference.
A friend faithful to God and to her marriage discovered that her husband had been having a long-term affair. They had been married over 35 years and had raised four children into accomplished adults, all bearing the fruit of the Christian teaching and example of their parents. She was crushed, bruised, disillusioned, angry, beaten down and given to questioning everything, even her faith. It was more than she could bear.
Another friend’s oldest son was critically injured in a wreck after arguing with his father. He will never be the same. A young man full of promise suffered significant damage to his body and his mind. Not knowing whether he would live or die, she spent months by his bed in the hospital and in rehab. It was more than she could bear.
The loss of my husband, Thurston, has been more than I can bear. I have given in to despair so often that I have often depleted myself of strength to carry on. The loneliness in our home plagues me at times; when I allow myself to dwell on the rest of my life without him, I cry in anguish. It is more than I can bear.
The Lord will allow more than you can bear. This is truth. If you believe in God and have faith through his son Jesus Christ, then you know you do not have to undergo alone more than you can bear. You learn to depend on God and to know that His plan is perfect, even when you don’t understand it. When you trust him, he will not desert you, nor will he forsake you. He will abide with you through the tears, the agony, the doubt and the disbelief that earth-shattering events bring. I, along with my friends, carry forward with God’s guidance and with faith in his promises. We learn to find purpose through his wisdom.
Today, my friends continue to carry on with faith. A marriage is surviving because they submitted themselves to discovering the roots of the affair and are trusting God to encourage them as they rebuild. A son, though not fully recovered, completed a college degree with great determination, lives on his own and takes care of himself. I continue to move forward, regardless of how difficult it often is; only with God’s presence, comfort and strength am I able to do this. For all of us, these events are too much to bear alone, but we are not alone. This is truth.
“No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. 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 endure it” (1 Corinthians 10:13). This is the word of God that is often misquoted. God provides a way out of sin, but he does not always prevent suffering.
The real news is that God does allow circumstances beyond what we can bear; that is why we need him and that is why he is always near. Be careful that you do not spread “fake news.”