The origin of this claim can be found in 1 Corinthians 10:13: “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.” Yet a close look at this verse highlights a much different topic than whether God gives us more than we can handle.
1 Corinthians 10:13 discusses our temptation to sin. The apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthian Christians to encourage them God would not allow them to be tempted to the point where they were required to sin. This was important, as the Corinthians lived in a city with a sinful reputation and endured much temptation. However, these believers were promised they would never be in a position in which sin was required.
Sin, however, is much different than facing overwhelming situations in life. When a loved one dies, we lose a job, or we receive a cancer diagnosis, these are all times when life feels more difficult than we can stand.
The Bible offers many examples of people who endured similar overwhelming situations. Job faced the loss of his children, wealth, and health. David endured displacement and the ongoing threat of death from King Saul. The prophet Jeremiah faced suffering and ridicule from his own Jewish people after teaching them God’s Word.
Many believers have faced overwhelming odds. These are not temptations, but situations in which we are forced to trust completely upon God’s strength.
A great example is found when the Jewish people stood at the shore of the Red Sea (Exodus 14). Pharaoh’s army had pursued them, leaving the people trapped between the water and an army ready to kill or enslave them. They could turn to no other source of help except for God.
In this situation, God provided a supernatural miracle to answer their need. God opened the Red Sea for His people to escape on dry land and destroyed their enemies. His answer showed their complete dependence upon Him, as well as their need for His power in their lives.
We face similar situations in our lives today. God often allows us to face situations beyond our ability to respond. When He does, one reason is to show our need for His strength in our lives. He may not immediately change the situation or provide a miracle in response, yet He does answer as needed and at just the right time.
Don’t fall for the false belief that God will not allow us to face more than we can handle. He often does allow us to face Goliath-like situations to increase our trust in Him. God will not tempt us to sin or allow us to face temptation to the point of sinning. However, He often allows us to face impossible situations to show that, with God, all things are possible (Mark 10:27).
Dillon Burroughs serves as senior writer at The John Ankerberg Show and has written nearly 40 books on issues of faith and culture. He is also an associate editor for The Apologetics Bible for Students and has contributed to many works on apologetics and Christian worldview. Dillon is a graduate of Dallas Theological Seminary and holds a PhD in Leadership from Piedmont International University. He lives in Chattanooga, Tennessee, with his wife, Deborah, and their three children.
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