Ever had anyone say to you, “God will never give you more than you can bear”, or some variation on that statement? Have you ever really thought about that statement?“ How many people do you know that have buckled, lost it, crumbled, or worse under a burden no one should be expected to “bear”? I have known a few, and I wager you have, too.
On the heels of those who cannot “bear” whatever trial they are enduring are usually “good Christians” tsk, tsking, making judgments, gossiping, or avoiding the “bearers”. It’s easy to sit back and be an armchair Christian, isn’t it? Too easy for some, I have found. The “bearers” are weak, haven’t prayed enough through their trial, don’t have enough faith, haven’t drawn close enough to God, or the like according to those climbing atop their pedestal of superiority. Maybe you have been the “bearer”, and to add insult to the trial you are already enduring, a well-meaning “Christian” comes along with a trite explanation for your plight. Been there, too. Just keep adding more stones to an already excruciating burden there, Junior Jesus.
Very often the scriptures are twisted, turned, and flipped upside down to make them fit a situation, or explain what cannot be understood with the limited human mind. The casualty is the one already suffering. Correct me if I’m wrong, but aren’t those of us professing “Christianity” supposed to uphold, edify, and comfort those who are suffering?
I admit my diatribe is leaning toward the harsh, but we need to understand what the scriptures say, and do not say, and realize some of what is in the Bible is man’s opinion and we shouldn’t wield it at others as if it were the inerrant Word of God. There is a difference.
The scripture that is usually tossed around to “comfort” those suffering beyond explanation is 1 Corinthians 10:13 which reads, “No temptation has seized you beyond what people normally experience, and God can be trusted not to allow you to be tempted beyond what you can bear. On the contrary, along with the temptation he will also provide the way out, so that you will be able to endure.” (The Complete Jewish Bible)
Read that again. Does it say that we will not be “given” more than we can bear? No, it does not. It says we will not be “tempted” beyond what we can bear. Vastly different, in my opinion. The Hebrew word “tempted” can be translated to mean “tested”. Does God “test” us? I believe He does in some cases; testing reveals to us our strength, stretches us, but it should not devastate us. It also says, “beyond what people normally experience”. Suffering doesn’t qualify as “normal” in many cases.
I once knew a family who lost 7 of their 9 children in a house fire. Tell me that was “normal”. It wasn’t. What could God possibly have been “testing” in this family? He wasn’t. A young husband or wife is diagnosed with a terminal illness, a mother watches her child dying by inches, someone so devastated by depression takes his/her life; these are not examples of “normal” experiences. God doesn’t need to “test” us by attempting to destroy us emotionally, physically, and spiritually.
The above horrors occur in the lives of people every day, people suffer beyond their ability to cope and many of these same people have faith. Yeshu (Jesus) said we only needed faith the size of a mustard seed; mustard seeds are tiny, so we need only gather enough to equal a mustard seed.
I don’t claim to know why some people experience suffering beyond what they can bear. I don’t buy the explanation that God is glorified in our suffering, and I don’t think we learn much in those times, either. The bottom line is that we do suffer, unbearably so sometimes, but we live in a fallen world, full of evil and mishap, and circumstance.
The next time you have a friend, family member, neighbor, or coworker that is experiencing devastating circumstances, illness, or suffering beyond the tolerable take a moment and check your words and understanding of scripture before adding to their burden. Does God GIVE us more than we can bear? No, I don’t believe He does. I do believe He knows about it, knew about it before we did, in fact, and is there to comfort us during every moment of the trial, even when the burden IS more than we can bear……