Confronting the lie: God won’t give you more than you can handle

March 11, 2013 — 1,195 Comments

The past three weeks have been the most difficult I have ever gone through.  These three weeks have been filled with illness, the terrible-three’s (the terrible-two’s are an out-and-out lie), a friend suffering the consequence of sin, a ministry I am a part of reeling in confusion and pain, having to cancel a trip to celebrate my parents 60th birthdays, and our family experiencing the emotional roller-coaster of finding out we were pregnant only to be told the pregnancy was ectopic and could be life-threatening to my wife if it was not ended.

Needless to say, I have had enough.

DIGITAL IMAGE

I know I am not alone.  As trying as the last three weeks have been for me, I know some people who have dealt with far more for far longer.  But that doesn’t change the fact that this has been painful for me and my wife.  In the face of all this, I can honestly say I feel no pressure to be the “pastor” and have the answer for this.  Honestly, even as a pastor, I have no answer for this.  My questions before God about the reality of what my family has experienced over the last three weeks are the exact same questions anyone would ask.

Why?
Why not step in?
Why not act?
Why wouldn’t you make it right?
Why couldn’t you part the clouds and provide a moment for us to catch our breath?
Why everything at once?
Why?

Not only am I okay asking those questions, but I think there is something holy and sacred in being courageous enough to ask them.  Don’t be fooled, those questions are only to be asked by the courageous.  It is easy to spout trite Christian platitudes designed to make people feel better with bumper-sticker theology.  But insipid axioms do little in the face of the actual brokenness of the world.  It is more courageous to ask the hard questions of God and wait for him to answer than it is to find hope on the side of coffee mug.  Asking those questions requires courage because, in the end, it is very likely they will not be answered.

Ultimately, it isn’t about the questions.  Behind the questions is a deep current of emotion threatening to overtake us.  But too often, when the fracture in the universe threatens to swallow us up in pain we fail to get fully present to our emotions.  In those moments I think we do one of two things.  Either we ask the questions but never investigate what emotion is driving those questions, or we resort to some banal Christian slogan to try and make us feel better.

This experience forced me to look at one such statement that gets spouted often when people go through a lot:  God won’t give you more than you can handle.  If I may be so bold, let’s just call that what it is:

Bullshit.

Tell that to a survivor of Auschwitz.
Tell it to the man who lost his wife and child in a car accident.
Tell it to the girl whose innocence was robbed from her.
Tell it to the person crushed under the weight of depression and anxiety.
Tell it to the kids who just learned their parent has a terminal illness.

Limp, anemic sentiments will not stand in the face of a world that is not as it should be.

Now that I have said how I feel, let me back up this argument with some actual Biblical evidence.  This particular statement, that “God won’t give you more than you can handle,” isn’t even in the Bible.  There is a statement that sounds like it.  1 Corinthians 10:13 says, “No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to humankind.  And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear.”  But notice that verse is about temptation.  That’s it.  You won’t be tempted beyond what you can stand up against.  This text is not saying that you will not experience more than you can bear.  That idea just isn’t Biblical.  If anything the exact opposite is true.  Look at this text.

For we do not want you to be ignorant, brothers and sisters, of the affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead (2 Cor 1:8,9, emphasis mine).

Later, Paul will write it is when he is weak that the strength of Christ is seen.  In other words, when we can’t do it any longer.  When we are fed up.  When it has become too much.  When we have nothing left.  When we are empty.  When it is beyond our capability to deal with it.  Then, in that moment, the strength of the God of resurrection will be seen.  Until we get to that point, we rely on ourselves thinking we can handle it and take care of the problem.

Don’t hear me saying I am rejoicing because of the last couple of weeks.  I am not.  Not once have I danced around our house shouting, “Yeah suffering!”  Instead, in the midst of pain and hurt, I am actively expecting God to do something.  I don’t know what.  I don’t know when.  But I am expecting the God of resurrection to heal us.  I am expecting God to restore us.  I am expecting him to redeem this situation.  I am expecting him to do this and so I will be actively looking and waiting for him to do something.  I believe expectant waiting can only happen when we exchange our feeble platitudes for an authentic faith that engages God with the full brunt of our emotion and pain.  Only then can salvation been seen.

But that exchange takes courage.

photo credit: denzleah via deviantart

Nate Pyle

Posts Twitter Facebook

I'm being transformed from one degree to another. Sometimes it is a joyful process. Many times it's a painful one. I'm finding that as I follow Jesus I need to unlearn a way of being in the world and learn a new way of being. This blog is a place where I am working out that process.
  • Katie Terpstra

    Thank you for this, Nate. I needed it!

    My heart aches and my tears are falling for your family right now…praying for healing and peace. Please hug Sarah for me…really tight! Love you guy!

    • wade

      google….Broken Bread by John Wght Follette

  • http://Caringbridge.org/visit/alyssadivers Lynn

    Thanks. My ten year old daughter recently died from cancer. As clergy, myself, it was nice to hear your words articulate my thoughts. Now to educate the masses… And, I do not think my heartache can be redeemed on this earth. Sometimes, there is sorrow that just lives with us…

    • Nate Pyle

      Lynn, I am so sorry to hear about your daughter. I cannot imagine the pain and heartache you and your family are experiencing. May grace and peace be yours in abundance.

      • Amy

        You can add to the situation and add to the years for us. We have been dealing with such hard times for the past ten years and its getting harder and harder to hold on. My husband is a pastor too without a church; we’re still waiting………
        p.s. You are right, it is misquoted, but it also doesn’t stop at He won’t give you more temptation than you can bear either; in fact, you might get more temptation than you can bear, but He won’t allow it without a way of escape.
        However, the language you used was not necessary; therefore I could not “share.”
        Keep on keepin’ on!

        • Monika

          http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/commentary/la-oe-0407-silk-ring-theory-20130407,0,2074046.story

          Reading your comment reminded me of an article I read earlier today :).

        • http://www.facebook.com/NotYourAvrigeBean Elizabeth Avrigean

          I appreciated the use of “language.” Jesus, himself, was often perceived as scandalous with his choice of words. I often go too far the other way to make the following point: are we more we concerned with HOW something is said or WHAT is actually being conveyed?

          My church experience & suffering amidst the body of Christ, has made certain proprieties & niceties both tiresome and circuitous. I’m a straight shooter. There is TOO much suffering to cluck cluck about the alter pieces & talk around the elephant standing in the church baptismal font. To use a be-platitude: be the change you want to see.

        • Wes M

          The church is funny this way – what’s wrong with saying ‘bullshit’ from the pulpit? The Bible says ‘let your speech be seasoned with grace’ (Col 4:6), but then Paul actually writes “bull shit” in Phiippians 4:8. It would have been strong language in his day, and Jesus wasn’t above using strong language to get the point across. Christians need not aim at being crass – we just need to communicate. We get hung up on these rather trivial notions of what words we use, and miss the greater point. This post is going viral because it hits home. ALL Christians need to read this, or at least be honest enough to admit that we are sometimes given more than we can bear – because that’s the point. We need our brothers and sisters to come alongside us when life’s loads get too heavy. I call bullshit on NOT sharing this post. The language is necessary because it will shock some people – as it should! The poster is angry, and hurting, and the language conveys this. It is raw and honest – qualities the church could use in greater measure.

          • amber

            i don’t think the focus should be on wether or not he should, or should not have used this word. i can totally understand why it would be offensive to people, the Bible also talks about being careful of the words we say, i think there is even a verse about using no profane language. also that we bear the burden of being coinsiderate of others. i think the point though, is that you have a very hurting person, pain is exhausting. i think most christians, or likely all, at some point in their life are asking “where are you GOD!!! why don’t you care? why won’t you help!!?” God did tell us this life would be hard, but that does little to comfort us when we are hurting so bad. my family has also had some things happen recently that have no explanation. and without a chance for the clouds to part. and i was asking the Lord, “are you serious!!!??? this cannot be happening!!” and i unloaded a massive amount of profanity to a very close and loving friend, and i have to say, i felt better for a minute. but the profanity is not the issue. it’s being able to know that we have a loving and merciful Father, and that he lets us be angry. He allows us to question Him, rail at Him, and sometimes walk away from Him for awhile…He knows when we’re angry and hurting, and it’s ok to let it out. if your not hurting others unneccesarily and it makes you feel better…swear away. the Lord has heard it all. as for “feeling” better when life stinks, i don’t have the answer to that.i have the tendancy to despair. my husband spoke to me this morning about it. he said that God knows the end of our story, we don’t. That despite what we feel, He loves us, and it is safe to trust Him. and so i go against my feelings, and try to cling to this truth, and maybe tomorrow will be better.

          • Jina

            Philippians 4:8 NLT

            And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.

            No it doesn’t…

          • Kaylyn

            It should be Philippians 3:8. The Greek word there (skubala) is usually translated into English as “garbage,” “rubbish,” or “filth” was considered a vulgar word in the Greek, and literally meant something along the lines of “crap” or “shit.” So, yes, Paul really did include a profanity.

          • Lindsay

            Philippians 4:8…where does it say BS? I see only ” whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable- if there is any moral excellence and if there is praise-dwell on these things.” This was from The Apologetics study Bible.

          • Kaylyn

            It should be Philippians 3:8. The Greek word there (skubala) is usually translated into English as “garbage,” “rubbish,” or “filth” was considered a vulgar word in the Greek, and literally meant something along the lines of “crap” or “shit.”

        • Karen

          Hi Amy, I personally would like to defend Nate on the language he used. In my opinion it was used to emphasize the depths of his pain. I lost one of my twin boys last year and therefore know the place he is in: the full breadth of pain. A place I pray you never have to visit. To lose a child is indescribable, unbearable and unrelenting and absolutely not right.

        • http://Yahoo.com Jonette Wiles

          I noticed that (language), also, but tried not to “judge”….

    • Hal

      Lynn, my hearts aches to hear your news. May God bless you with a “double portion” of God’s spirit as you struggle with your grief.

    • Pink Chic

      Yes Lynn, on the topic of sorrow living with us… I do reluctantly, believe that you are right..(reluctantly only because I want the pain of suffering to go away) and I guess I use it as a reminder that “This” is not what it is all about..” There is a future that we have as Christians where we will have another life in His Presence and that is really the main attraction, the main event, as we are only here on this earth and in this life, for a blink of the eye.) I personally avoid the topic of preparing myself that I will some day have to face that death (separation from my loved ones and all that I know and cherish) The brokenness that we experience, the sorrow, the pain.. the feeling that your heart has been ripped out of your chest.. was never intended for us to experience in the initial design and there is a future life that will not contain this kind of sorrow.. So one of the many places I let my thoughts go in my own grief is to the reality that there is a future life where there will be no more suffering and I personally need to allow myself not to fear it.. So yes Lynn, if only for a little while, we will carry sorrow with us in some format as long as our hearts beat.. perhaps that sorrow is what will help us hold onto our loved ones memory or perhaps its to remind us not to place our energies in the temporary or less important matters.. It certainly propels me to place value on others as a higher priority in my decision making… in my calendar… in my life’s choices… knowing how valuable the time I do have with them is.. I speak out of my own battle with cancer this past year and the decision I made “not to waste the cancer” (if I have to go through this.. then I want God to lead me and to use it for His purpose and to be used by Him) That is my experience.. I pray for you as you go through such devastating loss that as you rebuild your own shattered picture window.. that you will know intimacy with the HOLY Spirit like you have never known and that you will be comforted and find your own meaning as to where to take this next…

      • Heidi

        God is going to use you on his kingdom in such a mighty way. May he bless you and give you comfort during your time of need. Thankyou for your story

      • Ian Jameson

        Well said. I myself dwelt too much in expectation of an intervention of “kingdom now” for years, leading eventually to an exquisite pain of disillusionment and despondency. More recently I have seen more clearly what you are expressing here in your response – it really is about what Paul calls the “great and precious promises” of a future restoration which our hope is meant to be anchored in.

      • http://Yahoo.com Jonette Wiles

        Wonderful, Pink Chic…

      • Vicki

        Dear Pink Chic, Thank you so much for your words. I really heard you and it will make a difference. A little about my suffering. My husband of 24 years died suddenly and unexpectedly December 16, 2012. After his death I not only lost him, his family, my family, my pets, our home and all our belongs. I live in a dark basement with no windows. I was so spiritual and God was my best friend. I feel like he has left me. Someone told ,me I left him which is probably more true. The excruciating pain I live in daily is making life almost unbearable. I used to rely on God when I couldn’t do it myself. I can’t do this myself. What I really liked about what you wrote was that we are on this earth for a very short time. That there is a future life where there is no more grieving. That I am here to prepare for that time by allowing God in my heart and allow him to lead me through this life left on earth. To be of service to God and others. To do the right things in life. I am not afraid to die. I’m ready. Right now I’m afraid to live. Your words have helped me so much Ms. Pink. Thank you. I wish you all the best. I also love the way you put not to waste your cancer. You sound like an incredible person. God bless you on your journey.

    • Jane

      True. I think people want to try to make us feel better with their words. But those who hurt, don’t want their hurt minimized, or to be told it isn’t so bad as something else, or how they ought to feel. No. It’s BAD. that’s all I know right now. People need to be taught that it is best to acknowledge how bad the hurt is, how sorry they are, and cry with them. If someone tries to say something to cheer me up when I really hurt, I want to slug them in the teeth for minimizing my pain.

    • http://SeminaryGal.com Barbara Shafer

      Lynn, having given birth to a stillborn child 3 days before Christmas in 1998, I’d like to encourage you that someday, looking back…we will see the many ways God redeemed our heartaches even when we didn’t know it. There is tremendous sorrow for our losses, to be sure, and a hole that never will be filled by anyone else. But that is a testament to our love for our children, is it not? I’m convinced that Julia can see me from heaven and every time God redeems the shortness of her little life by my compassion for others, and by bringing them to the Great Healer Jesus, she’s up there shouting, “YAY Mom!” In heaven, I will see the fruit of her life displayed in mine…and I’m convinced I will be awestruck by how one so little who lived so short a time could have been such a powerful evangelist to the love of God who sent His Only Son. In love and prayers, Barbara (SeminaryGal)

    • Sherry

      I so agree! My daughter passed away suddenly as a result of an accident. She was only 10 as well and had just accepted Jesus into her heart 3 days earlier. It has been so hard for me to make sense of this. It hurts so much when one quotes this to me!

    • Dianna Hesselman

      I am so sorry for your loss, Lynn. Yes, I believe that there is a depth of grief that only Heaven will cure; when we are reunited. God promises to sustain us with His love and through His children loving you, too. I pray for God’s depth charges of love to touch where you in your sorrow. I do not know you, but your story touched my heart. God bless and comfort you, and help soften the shock and grief.

    • http://www.retrogirlandchemokid.blogspot.co.nz/ Kiri (The Angel Zoe Kindness Project)

      My six year old daughter also recently died from cancer. Although I am tired of the platitudes, I accept that people say them because they don’t know what else to say. I took some comfort in two books When Bad Things Happen to Good People and Man’s Search for Meaning, both of which described people’s authentic spiritual searching in terrible situations. I could probably go on and on, but I’m at work, so keeping it brief ;)

      • http://www.retrogirlandchemokid.blogspot.co.nz/ Kiri (The Angel Zoe Kindness Project)

        Sorry that was supposed to be a reply to Lynn

    • http://empoweringgrace.com Sharla Vellek

      Lynn my prayers are with you and from one cancer mom to another – a big squeeze. At times life simply hurts and cancer sucks. I am deeply spiritual and God showed up so many times during our sons journey, but it still is a horribly rough road,. . . . my heart is with you.

    • http://gravatar.com/gracextended gracextended

      Lynn, we’ve suffered nothing of you have but agree with you completely in mourning with are pastor’s family of the 25 year old son. Our pastor said in exact sentiment as you have stated, saying “We don’t think we’ll find any answer to our son’s death, this side of heaven.” Our hearts ache with yours, however.

  • Kim Steenbergen

    Praying for you and Sarah Nate…so sorry what all you both have been through lately…thanks for letting us all in on what had been taking place. Was wondering with your posts…Again I’m so sorry and will continue to keep you in our prayers. Hugs to you and your family ((( ))). Kim

  • Kathy Geurink

    Thanks for sharing, Nate. I have had a problem with that sappy, non-Biblical phrase for years. I appreciate you stating the truth. I’m so sorry to hear that you and Sarah have been experiencing so much pain, but glad to know that your faith is still strong and deep-rooted in the Word. Love and prayers…

  • http://www.facebook.com/edie.lenz Edie Pekich Lenz

    I so deeply appreciate your putting words to your pain, and to your courage. The question of God’s redemption and resurrection of any place we find ourselves is so much more courageous and in my own experience so much more real than all of the “nice things” we say that are so often more hurtful or more wounding than we realize. I am praying for your moment of redemption and relief, both you and Sarah. I do believe that God can bring good, but I also know that sometimes it is not perceptible at first, sometimes we walk in the darkness groping for light and it is only in hindsight that we are able to see the lamp that was guiding our steps. May God grant you enough – enough courage, enough love, enough support, enough hope, enough……
    I am so sorry for the places that you have found yourselves in the past few weeks. I will continue to pray for resurrection.

  • Ruth

    Nate, your words resound. Two years ago, our fourth child was born still. That was a pain that was unbearable to me, and yet even that pales in comparrison to what others have been asked to edure. After that experience, my husband and I began to correct people when we would hear them say “God won’t give you more that you can handle”. A phrase that we, ourselves have used in the past. Instead we direct them to Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.” It’s not that we can handle the hard hurt…it’s that HE sustains us through it, when we search for Him. Thank you for your courage to say this loud enough for many to hear. I know you do not know me, have never even heard of or from be before, but please tell your wife that I am praying for her mama heart.

    • Nate Pyle

      Thank you, Ruth. We appreciate the prayers. I rejoice that Christ has granted you strength in the midst of your pain.

    • http://garnetstevens.wordpress.com garnetstevens

      I wholeheartedly agree.

    • Richard Spooner

      everyone misses that this scripture isn’t saying that He won’t give you more than you can handle what it emphasizes is that He will provide a way of escape so that you can bear it, it’s up to you to find that way of escape and use it. Additionally look at the definition of the word Temptation it means: a putting to proof (by experiment [of good], experience [of evil], solicitation, discipline or provocation); by implication adversity: – temptation, X try. The word for temptation here can just as easily be adversity.
      There is a parallel scripture I often use in Romans8:28- Rom 8:26(mkjv) Likewise the Spirit also helps our infirmities. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.
      Rom 8:27 And He searching the hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.
      Rom 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose
      The condition of the promise is praying in the spirit. Christ called the Holy spirit ”the comforter”. Yes situations will overwhelm us, but God is faithful, our here-all end-all is not on Earth but eternally in Heaven, sometimes God allows the ultimate healing which is our death and resurrection to be with Christ. Like so many I went through 15 years of loss and devastation myself. But God has been gracious, the problem for so many of us is that we don’t pray and praise the Lord until the peace returns. I had reached the point of deciding that God hated me. I honestly decided that I wanted to go to hell, because I couldn’t bear the thought of spending eternity with someone who so obviously hated me. I contemplated suicide almost daily, I felt like Rock bottom was a tiny pinprick of light at the top of the hole I had fallen into, hope was a thing of distant memory. but other than that I barely remembered was joy felt like. However, God does care. in my years of agony, I shut God out of my heart. Though I still went to church, even preached from time to time. Still, the relationship I lost was not there, but God never left me, he knew and understood my pain. I believe He even might have wept with me. We cannot comprehend God’s love. But it took about 14 years to rediscover that God really loves me, he did not desert me. I count myself privileged to have lost so much and to have been so devastated for so long because God has brought me through. And because He brought me through I can unequivocally say. God Loves you and has not deserted you or forgotten you.
      Rev. Richard L. Spooner PhD.

    • Rhonda Adrian

      It’s not that we can handle the hard hurt…it’s that HE sustains us through it, when we search for Him. .. This rings true in my experience and it is the hope we have in suffering … 18 years of chronic back pain and three surgeries for me, 7 years of sickness for my husband, and now 2 terrible years into having our 21 year old daughter completely unable to walk, feed herself, etc. because of lyme disease. We do almost despair at moments and then God meets us and pulls us through.

      • Kris

        Hello, I can see that you have been through a lot, and so glad to hear that God is there to help you even in the hard times. I too myself was diagnosed with an auto immune disease, and a good friend told me to go to http://www.hacres.com/ and read about how diet can change a lot of health issues. I am not sure what your family has for meals, but reading the information that my good friend gave me has been a blessing. The gentleman who created the “Hallelujah Diet” is a Christian and he himself was diagnosed with cancer. Rev. Malkmus today is cancer free and has been now for many years, by changing his way of eating. There are some really amazing stories of people who changed what they ate, and there health has improved drastically if not completely gone away. I just thought I would like to share this with you, as it has truly helped me since 2009. It was worth the look for me and I encourage you to just even have a look to see if it is something you would like to try. Thanks for reading, and I am praying that the God will help you in your time of need.

  • Jan S.

    There’s a song out that says “God loves a lullaby in a mother’s tears in the dead of night better than a Hallelujah sometimes.” and “The silence when the words won’t come are better than a Hallelujah sometimes.” I think people forget that God wants to comfort us when we’re in pain – - He wants us to come to him when we’re hurting – - and it “pleases” him that we Want to go to him in our times of trouble. I so appreciate your thoughts here. So many times people who utter that phrase (you’re not given more than you can handle) are people who haven’t been through something Really bad or hard. Thank you for sharing this. I meant a real lot to me today.

    • Nate Pyle

      Thank you, Jan. I am so glad it meant something to you. Thank you for your thoughts.

  • http://simplydarlene.com Simply Darlene

    I came here by way of a FB link this morning. Thank you for this Truth and clarity. I’ve oftentimes thought of those very examples you listed when folks offer that saying.

    And to me, not only is it a lie, but it twists things around so much so that folks who feel steamrolled, end up feeling less-than because they interpret it to mean that they aren’t “good enough” Christians to be able to see the hash mark on their sorrow/pain/difficulty/grief measuring cup.

    Blessings.

    • Nate Pyle

      Thanks for commenting, Darlene. I agree with your statement completely. Feeling “less than” can add an extra burden to already weary shoulders.

    • http://hillpen.wordpress.com Amanda B. Hill

      Truth, Darlene.

  • http://hillpen.wordpress.com Amanda B. Hill

    Oh my dear. This moved me so much today. Thank you for your real, honest words. What a blessing.

    Amanda
    http://www.hillpen.com

  • Becky Bennett

    Hi, Nate. I’m praying for you and your family. Thank you for “getting real” and having the courage to share it. I’m a PK. I don’t have any children. I had 4 miscarriages over the space of 7 years and had to have a hysterectomy at 27. I had so many health issues due to among other things, a toxic job & a toxic marriage that I ended up losing my job and becoming disabled with fibromyalgia & a litany of other diseases.

    Throughout it all, well meaning and loving people piled platitudes on me. I clung close to God, then turned away from God for a few years, and later turned back. Eventually my husband of 10 years decided that he was done. He put me on a plane home to my parents in Michigan and expected them to clean up the mess that I was.

    I had been a bit estranged from my family. They did not know all of the details and when I came home, I told them all and then embraced me and welcomed me home with open arms. Through the faith and love of a lot of family and friends, I was restored to fairly good health, fibromyalgia doesn’t go away.

    I am now working full-time again at an amazing company whose founder and CEO is a believer and truly cares about people and wants to help them and ease their suffering if he can. I am also looking into foster care. Being a single parent is not ideal, but will be better than the homes that they are in. God prepared me all my life to be here. I wish that I hadn’t had to experience all of that, but it brought me here.

    God has even brought me to the place that I am thankful for my miscarriages. My children will never know pain or hunger or sorrow. They are forever worshipping at his feet. I could not ask for a better parent for my children than my Heavenly Father. My children also did not have to suffer through a nasty divorce and bouncing back and forth between my ex and I. God spared them. Not everyone can get to that point or understand my point of view. I say this only to say that it takes time to understand.

    Also, my family recently had a friend who had run screaming from God come “back into the fold”. It had been 15 years. So, don’t give up hope on your friend. God is the Great Restorer. “I will restore you to health and heal your wounds,’ declares the LORD” Jeremiah 30: 17

    • Nate Pyle

      Thank you for sharing, Becky. Your story and perseverance are encouraging and hopeful.

      • http://www.facebook.com/beckfree79 Becky Bennett

        Nate, I am sorry that I could not reply sooner, life and all that. I re-read what I wrote and it seemed very pompous and arrogant to me. I sincerely hope that I did not come across that way. I hoped to maybe ease the burden a bit, but I may have unintentionally added to it, for that I deeply apologize.

        Also, the amount of responses and discussion on this post astounds me. There are SO many people out there that are hurting. I am praying that your post has brought some healing into all of the lives that have been touched here.

        With Mother’s Day and Father’s Day coming up, I wanted to point out a website that has been *immensely* helpful to me: http://www.facebook.com/CarlyMarieProjectHeal?fref=ts. Carly Marie is an artist out of Australia who is one of those who are spearheading an internet movement to help families who are grieving for the loss of a miscarriage, infant, child, family member.

        Many are setting aside the Sunday before Mother’s Day and Father’s day to recognize individuals who are parents to children who are no longer on this earth or “Angel Babies”. There is a lot of new terminology coming out in an effort to help those who are dealing with major losses such as ours.

        I would very strongly encourage you to check out her website and her “ministry”. I am not sure exactly where she stands with God, but she does use a lot of Christian and pseudo-Christian terminology. I have made a lot of new online friends who are “Angel Mommies”. We celebrate milestones together and support each other on difficult days. It is an amazing community/subculture that is developing.

        I hope this helps.
        Becky Bennett

        • http://retrogirlandchemokid.blogspot.co.nz/ Kiri (The Angel Zoe Kindness Project)

          Becky, I am so glad you have come to a place of peace about your Angel Babies. I have found some peace in Carly Marie’s website also. I believe rituals of remembrance are so important to healing. And yes, while becoming a mama to an Angel is never something we would want to have to do, the Angel Mamas I know are awesome.

          • http://www.facebook.com/beckfree79 Becky Bennett

            Thank you, Kiri! I am so very sorry for your loss. I found your Angel Zoe Project on Facebook. I will be sure to share it with the other Angel Mamas that I speak with! <3

    • Blossom Teele

      Dear Becky, I am sorry for your intense pain, but thankful God is making Himself real to you and to know that His love covenant with you will never be broken. Nothing can separate you from His love.
      I wanted to write you about your sickness. Have you ever been checked out for Lyme disease. There are many people who have your symptoms and it is often Lyme disease which mimics a host of others. Both my daughter and my daughter in law were diagnosed recently. My daughter in law has been very sick for about 20 years. There is a place in Kentucky called Home for Health run by a Christian doctor, Steve Day. He was able to help my daughter tremendously with her Lyme disease. He can help with other diseases as well. You can look him up on line and see what you think. He will do phone consultations too. I just needed to let you know this. May your faith increase as you get to know your God more intimately. Mrs. Teele, Oregon

      • http://www.facebook.com/beckfree79 Becky Bennett

        Hi, Mrs Teele. Thank you so much for taking the time to read my story. I apologize that I did not see your comment sooner! I have been checked for Lyme Disease. The test was negative. I have talked to a lot of people and done quite a bit of amateur research and I found that once you have one auto-immune disease, other tend to follow. I have 2 or 3 now. I would be interested in talking more with you outside of Nate’s blog, would you mind? Thank you!
        Becky, Michigan

    • Kris

      Hello, I can see that you have been through a lot, and so glad to hear that God is there to help you even in the hard times. I too myself was diagnosed with an auto immune disease, and a good friend told me to go to http://www.hacres.com/ and read about how diet can change a lot of health issues. I am not sure what your family has for meals, but reading the information that my good friend gave me has been a huge blessing. The gentleman who created the “Hallelujah Diet” is a Christian and he himself was diagnosed with cancer. Rev. Malkmus today is cancer free and has been now for many years, by changing his way of eating. There are some really amazing stories of people who changed what they ate, and there health has improved drastically if not completely gone away. I just thought I would like to share this with you, as it has truly helped me since 2009. It was worth the look for me and I encourage you to just even have a look to see if it is something you would like to try. Thanks for reading, and I am praying that the God will help you in your time of need.

      • http://www.facebook.com/beckfree79 Becky Bennett

        Thank you, Kris! I will check it out! Of all of my research, the best advice that I have found is that the causes of Fibromyalgia and autoimmune diseases can be different for everybody and to try anything that works for someone else to see if it will help!

  • hirondina mercille

    Our Heavenly Father is NOT a liar. He did give us Free Will. When we don,t follow his direction and we don,t listen to that “Little” voice ( The Holy Spirit) then we are not accepting God,s direction and we are making our own choices. It,s very important that when we realize our mistake , that we ask for forgiveness and then MOVE on. The longer we hold on to un-forgiveness the longer we are away from our Father. Our relashionship with Our Father should mirror the relashionship with our children. What instructions do you give your children on how to live out today ? What rules have you put in place for them? What chastisment do you have for them if they disobey you? What rewards will you give them for obeying? Well, Our Father is the BEST parent. We are to do our best to mirror Christ.
    There are many “If”s in Our Fathers Instructions to us on how to live….Do your best, Trust God….and REPENT daily of our sins.

    • http://www.juliecoleman.org Julie Coleman

      Whoa. Nate is not saying God is a liar. He’s saying that our little platitude we so quickly spout off to people in pain is a lie. Scripture never tells us that “God doesn’t give us more than we can handle.” It does tell us, however, that when we are at the end of our resources, in HIS STRENGTH we can carry on.

      Coming to the end of our own strength and resources is when we can operate in His. This is something I had to learn (the hard way). One summer at camp, a preacher urged us to “Let go and let God”, or something similar to this. But he didn’t tell us how. So I cornered him and asked: how can I do this? He nodded sagely and replied “Ah, that is the question, isn’t it?” He didn’t know either.

      But when I was knocked off my feet at the death of my mother, I figured it out. When we are on our back, out of resources, out of power, we know what it is to depend on him. Gone is our self-sufficiency. And we understand what it is to wait on the Lord.

      Thanks, Nate for this honest post. We need to stop the platitudes and give true hope in someone’s pain. The bad news is no, you can’t survive it, not on your own. The good news is He doesn’t expect us to. Being in a place where we are totally dependent on Him is exactly where He wants us. It is a good place to be.

      I actually wrote a post on this a couple of weeks ago. http://juliecoleman.org/blog-post/the-best-laid-plans/

      • Nate Pyle

        You are exactly right, Julie. Thank you for the comment.

  • http://www.samspond.org Jenny

    Thank you for confirming my belief that God does allow more then we can handle.

  • Jenni hadden

    Nathan Pyle? I. Love. You!!! Sean and I went through two of those ectopic pregnancies….they completely suck. It was that word you said. Praying for you beautiful people

  • Darien

    May The Lord help you in every way!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1314583 Josh Ditmer

    Thanks for sharing this, Nate. I pray you and yours find a moment of peace and rest very soon.

  • David Geier

    Sometimes I feel like
    I’ve never been nothing but tired
    And I’ll be walking
    Till the day I expire
    Sometimes I lay down
    No more can I do
    But then I go on again
    Because You ask me to

    Some days I look down
    Afraid I will fall
    And though the sun shines
    I see nothing at all
    Then I hear Your sweet voice, oh
    Oh, come and then go, come and then go
    Telling me softly
    You love me so

    From Patty Griffin’s ‘Up on the mountain’

  • http://nathanhart.org Nathan Hart

    This is such a wonderful essay, Nate. I love how you have laid bear your heart and so eloquently theologized your experience. The Apostle Paul would be proud. Your congregation is greatly fortunate to have you!

  • http://www.facebook.com/kevinraidy Kevin Raidy

    I just said those exact words to a pastor friend. “Don’t tell me God won’t give you more than you can handle.” AND I do think I also said….Bullshit! There are many time in life when enough is enough…… and then that’s when the “people of God” are to step in. I’m reminded of an article I wrote: “A Pastor’s Pain” http://www.inumc.org/news/detail/2200

  • Rochelle Rawlings

    So many who have lived the unthinkable agree with you. i have always felt that we are given reminders that we are not in control. Our task is to learn and grow from each experience. Sadly, we are not always up to the challenge but we can get help from others and that is also our task, to prop up those who bent from the weight of sorrows.

  • http://www.momlovesbooks.com Shannon

    I’m sorry, I disagree…. God will NEVER give us more than we can handle WITH HIS HELP. He ALWAYS provides the strength we need, He ALWAYS has a Good Plan, even when what we face today is so horrible we feel we cannot bear it. ALL things work for HIS purpose (which is ALWAYS a good one). Even when you are being robbed of innocence as a young girl, even when you are faced with parents who are abusive and self-destructive, even when you are living on the streets, even when facing infertility, the death of a child, an adulterous spouse, a rebellious child, the death of a parent, the death of a dearest friend… ALL THING work for HIS good plan. But only if we trust Him, trust His plan, FULLY RELY ON HIM. So it’s not a platitude, it’s a truth… like it or not.

    • Jacob

      A young girl being raped is not part of God’s good plan. That is ridiculous. God does His best to bring good out of the things we choose with our freedom, but in no way does He decide it will be good for some evil to happen. Some verse in Eph. 1 says He accomplishes all things according to the counsel of His will, but this does not mean that everything that happens is something God accomplishes. Evil & sin certainly are not accomplishments.

      • qwe

        But slavery apparently IS part of god’s plan? http://www.evilbible.com/Slavery.htm

        • http://gravatar.com/mendieverett mendi

          Have you actually read the whole bible?

      • Just Jesus 4 Lyfe

        I do not believe that Shannon is saying that is God’s will for us to suffer, but our suffering CAN be a part of his plan for us to overcome. Lets see my testimony – childhood abuse so bad I blacked out the first twelve years, childhood sexual, emotional, physical and mental abuse. I was raped in high school twice, I was beaten within an inch of my life and only see partially through one eye, lost a child, battled suicide, addiction, homelessness, ex husband was abusive, raped our four year old, and a gang member, so I had to hide from him and I am still in hiding today, loss, after loss, after loss, betrayal after betrayal- Through it all the Lord trained me to hear Him and see Him. He revealed himself to me and has shown me that the intense suffering produced the dedication and immense compassion and mercy that I have for other people. EVEN THOUGH THE ENEMY tried to kill me literally..I am still here. I am still alive. I am still strong and JESUS sustained me through it all. There are stories far worse than mine and those people were delivered and are on FIRE for God. People call me a Jesus freak, it is the anointing that comes with great pain. The more we suffer the more we learn to rely on God and keep the precious hope for when this will all be a memory beside our true Husband once we are rejoined to Him. Shannon is not saying that the evil and sin were accomplishments; nor am I. They were attacks by an already defeated foe who has no power and can only form weapons that will not prosper against our salvation -once we take hold of God and His awesome love. I would not change one single event in my life because it built me Ford tough – able to bear others burdens and relate to all pain- I do not believe in platitudes but I am a walking testimony that God can bring you out. FULLY RELY ON GOD because it is the only way..all other ways are false. Joseph suffered, Moses and the Israelites suffered, David suffered, Daniel suffered, Jeremiah SUFFERED, Ezekiel suffered, Paul and ALL the apostles suffered, JESUS SACRIFICED THE MOST AND SUFFERED THE MOST..why would we be any different? I do not think that we will not be tossed and smashed and broken by the weight of our pain… the prince of the power of the air and ruler of this world will not stop seeking to steal, kill, and destroy us ALL. Psalms 91 shows us where to find refuge. know that Christ will bring us out. A powerful read for us all is a book called Tortured for Christ by Richard Wormbrand. That book changed my life when I realized what this man (a pastor) experienced and STILL came out proclaiming the GLORY of GOD. He is making you a spiritual giant when you are suffering, whoever you are. “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28. The apostle Paul knew a little bit about suffering. He went through arrests, beatings, imprisonments, shipwrecks, threats, and just about every other difficulty you can imagine. Even as he wrote his letter to the Philippi church, Paul sat in chains in a Roman prison, not knowing whether he would ever see freedom again or if he was going to live or die. Yet in the midst of all that, he was able to say from the heart, “always be full of joy in the Lord” Most importantly through all his suffering God brought forth some of the most powerful books in the NT; proof that His strength is made perfect in our weakness.

        Nate I am overwhelmed with you and for you as well as everyone else on this blog. I pray for us all that we will have the ability to trust that God will bring us all through the horrific abuse, pain, disease and other turmoils that this life has in store for us all. I love your raw and real sharing (the language too! (~: ) May the Father protect and keep us all through the storms of life FULLY RELYING ON HIM!

    • Sarah Lock

      God never promises that the road we are on as Christians will ever be easy. In fact He promises the road will be hard! He does promise that He will be with us the entire way… that does not mean making whatever we face cease. What about those disciples who were murdered for their faith? Don’t you think that was more than they could handle? If it wasn’t, they wouldn’t have died. Death is obviously more than we can handle. I have been in the deepest staged of depression. After 4 long years and multiple suicide attempts I was finally freed. But the truth be told it WAS more than I could handle. Am I mad at the Lord for that? No absolutely not. Because there was a reason for it. For the last 14 months my 4 year old has been battling Leukemia. What if she dies? Again I say that is more for her little body to handle. I don’t believe the phrase, either way you put it, that God won’t give you more than you can handle because quite frankly, I’ve been in circumstance after circumstance where it WAS to much for me to handle. But He was right by my side each and every time. And I know more than anything that if my daughter passes from her cancer, there is a reason for it. I will be distraught, but I will trust God, just as I have been, that there is a reason why He allows us to face these hard times. I agree that He has a plan for us, but His plan is not for a young girl to me sexually assaulted, it’s not for people to get cancer, or for someone to be abusive to their spouse. As a victim of rape myself, I know that God did not MAKE the rape happen to me… that’s not His will whatsoever. But I do trust in the Lord that He MAKES ALL THINGS BEAUTIFUL. That my friend is what its about.

    • AlyM

      Go back and read this reply to an earlier objection…
      Julie Coleman March 13, 2013 at 12:14 pm

    • Alexander

      I think it’s fine for individuals to believe that God will never give them more than they can handle with HIS HELP but it takes a certain kind of arrogance to insist that your belief is the truth. Shannon, I’m happy that you believe that God will never give you more than you can handle, just don’t assume that same is true for Nate or anyone else. As for all things working for “His Good Plan”, that is a stunning revelation. Given the fair amount of misery generated during the whole of human history your belief is a function of your blind faith (in my opinion). Your belief sounds comforting and I am a little jealous of how all encompassing it is. Then I think of the Jew who died at Auschwitz after being gassed with Zyklon B and leaving their fingerprints in blood on the walls of the chamber, his or her gold teeth removed for gold bullion, the hair removed to make a pillow, and then the body being reduced to ashes via an oven designed to burn bodies and think hmmm. Really? That’s what you are going to stick with? Then, I only feel sorry for you. Only a little though, because anyone who holds that the aforementioned is part of “HIS GOOD PLAN” doesn’t deserve my attention or quite frankly the right to post that belief where the rest of us have to put up with it.

      • http://outin2thedeep.wordpress.com outin2thedeep

        Alex -
        are you not reminded of another Jew who was completely innocent and yet was beaten, spit on, mocked, whipped, derided, had a crown of thorn pushed down on His head and was then crucified like a criminal. Wasn’t that greatest of evils part of God’s good plan?

    • http://NancyVirden.com Nancy Virden

      As a believer of 35 years, student of God’s Word for just as long, a teacher, church leader, mother of two and wife of 29 years, I probably looked like someone who had it figured out. At least I thought I did. Life-long emotional pain was met with prayer and platitudes- from myself. The scriptures spoke to me, God spoke to me, the comfort from HIm was real, tangible, and faithful. Yet because the pain did not go away I began to believe suicide was an option. Recurrent Major Depression is my diagnosis, It lied to me and told me God wanted me to come home to HIm. So I tried to die.

      Depression had overtaken my love for God’s Word, His strength, His hope. My attempted suicide belies any claims I could make of a perfect love for my family. Unbelievably, Depression trumped my love for my children. Was it more than I could handle? Yes.

      God rescued me through mental and medical help. In the last two years He has been teaching me how to think, and how to respond to overwhelming emotions. The Bible’s practical means of speaking to Major Depression is becoming apparent, however no one ever taught me these things in church. I did not see it for myself. Until I experienced professional psychological help, application was impossible due to a lack of knowing how.

      In the last year I became the author of two books on the subject. My speaking career is kicking off with a blessed opportunity to speak with troubled young adults. I am learning how to enjoy life. Do I think God planned all this? Do I believe my severe pain was His will? Clearly, He is working it all out for the good. I am privileged to be allowed to see that in my case, not everyone gets to see that.

      It takes courage to stay alive when you’d rather be dead. Fully trusting Him, as you say, is really not so easy as all that when a disease is morphing your ability to reason. God does not change. He is sovereign. He cannot be somewhat sovereign or sovereign only on good days. Nonetheless, we humans can reach the point of no return. Too much is actually Too Much.

      Trusting Him may not be a decision we are capable of making at any given point. Remember, it is not our strength – not even our will- that gets us through victoriously. Only God can do that. That is why platitudes do not work. Truth does not “work” in every situation as the suffering may not understand how to apply it. God is who works. His Holy Spirit, the people He brings in our path, our guided steps; He is the reason those of us who have reached Too Much are alive and that anything good comes of our struggle.

    • Meghan

      I could not love a God that I believed planned the hurt and suffering that I have lived through. I do not understand God, I am not so naive as to think that I do… but I know that a God incapable of evil would not have let me be molested as a little girl, or raped as a young woman… if God planned the evil things to happen, God too would be evil. It’s not a matter of what God has planned for us, it’s a matter of trusting that God is a good and loving God who knows our pains and suffers along with us… and that the greater purpose HAS to be beyond this evil world.

      • Crystal

        Dear sweet Meghan…I too was molested and raped as a girl, in fact I was pregnant as a result of my virginity being stolen, and gave birth then relinquished my daughter in an adoption. I know what you’re going through, and I can assure you that God did not plan for evil to happen to you. I want to challenge that belief in you, and hopefully help encourage your healing and relationship with Christ. He only had plans of good for you, to prosper you…his precious daughter. But in his infinite wisdom, which is in all honesty to great to question, he does allow people free will and choice. The spiritual powers of evil were brought upon those people that hurt you, and they made a choice. They too may have been hurt/molested/raped at one point and learned the behavior. It was not God’s choice for them to hurt you like that. God cries tears for us also. That is why he sent his son Jesus. To show us that he mourns sin and evil with us, and to be the payment for the sins of those who believe. I seriously am here to talk if you want an email buddy to talk to about healing….I wont push God on you, but I will tell you about my healing process. i was right in your shoes. Please! email me dear sister…. Info@Crystalblount.com and my website is http://www.CrystalBlount.com

    • qwe

      And you know the mind of god how? And your version is more correct than most other people’s variant why?

    • Kassy

      do you know the scripture you are quoting? if referring to romans 8:28, many scolars of original languages would concur that an alternate and maybe more accureate interpretation of the greek would sound something like this – God synergizes with those who love him to work good for all people.
      That makes much more sense in my world and in this world of pain.
      Like it or not, what you know of or read in English tradition and English bibles may not be what it seems.

      This is a great post Nate, and addresses that what we hear, and are even taught may not be what IS. I rest and I wrestle in the arms of my creator too, but he is big enough.

  • bev

    Thanks for sharing your heart, Nate. My prayers go upward for you, your wife, and all you’ve been dealing with. When it comes right down to it, however, I must agree with Shannon. God’s grace IS sufficient. His plan is always the best even when it is the hardest path to travel. He will walk with you and He will see you through….through even all of this that you have written. Trust Him and keep walking with Him.

  • Lorna B. Hernandez

    Nate, thank you for this honest article. When I think of children dying of hunger and dysentery, innocent children, those dying crossing the border, and those swallowed by human trafficking, I cannot agree that God won’t give us more than we can bear and that he has a good plan. What kind of a plan is that? When we live in first world countries, it is easy to agree with statements like this, however, when our situation is about life or death, about survival, it is amazing how quickly our perspectives change. Unthinkable things do happen, and they happen every day in every corner of this world. I refuse to believe God would elaborate a good plan using those awful things and many more I haven’t mentioned.

    Thank you for reminding us that posing difficult questions takes a lot of courage. Someone told me once that it is not about finding the right answers, but asking the right questions. And, referring to the last part of your article, where you mention that you are expecting God to do something, I will venture to say that more times than not, that “something” that you are waiting for is not remotely what you had in mind.

    • Nate Pyle

      Your welcome. And thank you for commenting.

  • http://www.myreallifebyyvonne.blogspot.com yvonne Clanton

    I hope it is ok, I’d like to share this blog on my blog http://www.myreallifebyyvonne.blogspot.com a friend sent me your blog since I”ve wrote about this several times….. my son was born blind and delayed…then we adopted several children….this past summer our new little girl was in a near drowning….our lives are forever changed and I am so very very sad…I’m a PW’s and if someone says this to me again….I may end up writing from jail…:) thanks for this great post!!!!!

    • Nate Pyle

      Yvonne, please feel free to quote and link to it. Thanks for sharing and I pray you are surrounded by people who support you well.

  • Suzanne

    I came across this on Facebook. I so needed to hear this as my family has been having a very difficult time the last four months. Many times up I have fallen on my knees crying, “I absolutely can not handle THIS!” In those moments God has spoken to me. “No YOU can’t handle this. But I can.” Never again will I say something so trite as “God doesnt give you more than you can handle” or “everything happens for a reason” to someone who is suffering.
    Nate I worked with Sarah at Quincy and will be praying for you two. Thank you so much for sharing.
    Suzanne

    • Nate Pyle

      Thank you, Suzanne. I will tell Sarah.

  • http://brokenbeautifulworship.wordpress.com Sean Gasperetti

    Holy smokes man, this was exactly what I needed today. Thanks for being so vulnerable…I know that must be terrifying to do online while right in the thick of it…praying for you and your situation. Thanks for the encouragement.

  • Angelica

    God allowing bad things to happen is not His will it’s His permissive will. why the cross? Jesus suffered tremendously and did not sin. yet we feel we are owed when we should not even be given anything but God showed us His mercy and even had His only son die on the cross. remember what happened to Job he lost everything God allowed Satan to do this, again permissive will, to prove that Job had faith in the Lord through all the hardships he endured and when it was all said and done the blessings the Lord bestowed on Job was ten fold. remember Jonah? hold steady and have faith. there’s no reward if there is no test. I’m not writing this to be harsh Lord knows I’ve been through tremendous hardships and I’m going through one at the moment but i am blessed with so much cause my heavenly father is the king of king’s and I’m an heir to the throne.

    • Holly Tartaglia

      I agree with you, Angelica. It is dangerous to interpret Scripture through our own experiences rather than interpret our experiences through the truth of Scripture. This is only ONE truth. Job is a good place to go….

  • http://www.divingintothewaves.com Ali

    Hi Nate, thank you so much for putting into words something I myself have tried to express before. I have a son with a rare genetic disorder called Prader-Willi syndrome. His life has brought us more joy than I thought was possible, but also some of the greatest heartaches. So many (well-meaning) people have uttered the whole “God won’t give you…” platitude and it is just not true. Why would we need God if we could handle everything?

    Thanks again. Praying for peace through your hard time and for God’s wings to cover your family!

    • Nate Pyle

      Ali, so sorry to hear of your sons condition, and yet I rejoice that you have found joy in that. Your point is exactly right! Thank you for your prayers.

  • http://www.facebook.com/TheLordisMyEditor Crystal A. Murray

    Thank you for a straight-forward and honest article. I’m so sorry for the struggles you have to endure, and I pray that you will feel the presence of God walking through them with you. I have always disliked those statements that just don’t ring true with reality, and while I can find where God has brought good out of much evil that has come through my life, it does not diminish the fact that evil did come through. On my own, I don’t believe I could have handled it, or I may have handled it inappropriately as so many who do not have God to lean on tend to do (with drugs, alcohol, violence, etc.) This lie just tends to promote false guilt and keep Christians in bondage when we are supposed to be free.

    By the way, I also feel strongly about the lie of “forgive and forget.” I’ll write on it one day, but I’d be interested to know your take. I have to ask that if we are to forget, why did God make the Israelites walk in the desert one year for each day the spies were in the promised land. He gave that punishment after saying He forgave them. While God was abundantly merciful to King David and cast HIS sins into the “sea of forgetfulness,” that same King asked God to not let him forget the pit from which he was rescued. I think we are not supposed to remember sins AGAINST others, but I don’t believe that if we remember what others have done to us, or that if we feel it’s fair for people to reap what they have sown, that we are unforgiving. I think when we refuse to accept repentance or desire to see people spend eternity without Christ, then we are unforgiving. Am I making sense?

  • http://www.keepersathome.blogspot.com Julie

    You have just described the last 2-3 years of my life! The last year was probably the most painful. I too had an ectopic pregnancy and dealing with fertility issues already it really brought me down. We are also dealing with financial issues due to my husband being underemployed. Every time I think I can’t take anymore we do experience some kind of blessing. I lost my baby in Sept. of 2011. In Sept. of 2012 I conceived and will be welcoming our second biological child in May. At Christmas we had no money. Most of it was going towards some medical bills for me and a few other necessities. Gift cards and money started pouring in and we were able to give our 6 children (5 adopted) a nice Christmas.
    I’ve often had a lot of doubts about this particular platitude.
    God will never leave us nor forsake us. Duet. 31:8, He will provide all our needs. Phil. 4:19, He wants us to cast our burdens on Him. 1 Peter 5:7
    But nowhere have I been able to find God will not give you more than you can handle. I think He does give us more than we can handle. I think He drives us to our knees so we can see his grace and mercy. Alone, I am nothing! I can’t do anything without Jesus Christ! My life is just a vapor apart from God. I love your last thoughts. God does allow us to become so overwhelmed that we have nothing else to do, but wait for Him and then stand in awe at what He is doing. That is what keeps me going every. single. day. KNOWING that God is working a great work in my life and that it is not completed just yet!
    All that to say, Thank you for putting into words what I’ve been feeling the past few years! :)

    • Nate Pyle

      Thank you for sharing, Julie. I share your perspective. God does give us more than we can handle to drive us to him. Hosea 2:14-16 says that God will lead us into the desert and there will speak tenderly to us and “In that day you will call me ‘my husband,’ you will no longer call me ‘my master.’ Intimacy is born in the crucible of pain. True, but I don’t like it.

      • qwe

        “more than we can handle to drive us to him”. This is called Stockholm Syndrome. It wouldn’t be a good thing (if it was true).

  • http://twitter.com/meganlela Megan Watts (@meganlela)

    Thank you so much for writing this. You couldn’t have put it better. I’m the parent of a special needs child and can’t tell you how many times this phrase has been said to me. I literally have cringed everytime. I shared this on my FB page and your blog has literally been shared multiple times off of my page. What you’ve said really resonates with us. Thank you again!!

    • Nate Pyle

      Thank you for sharing and I am so humbled that it is connecting with so many. It seems to be part of the redemption of the situation. Doesn’t make the pain less, but it does mean God is a God of redemption. Thank you.

  • Shelton

    Thank you

  • Michelle

    Refreshing post Nate, thank you. We do get more than we can handle, suffering the repercussions of free will – both ours and others. I do feel this overwhelming time opens the door for others to care for us, support us and help us get through. Ultimately this is through Him, so we aren’t suffering alone. We bear one another’s burdens – but some pain just makes you feel alone.

    At 12, I was raped. It was more than I could handle.

    At 15 I left home, a pawn of an abusive man. It was more than I could handle but I was given the strength to flee and survive.

    At 17 I got pregnant, I was homeless at the time. It was more than I could handle – but He stepped in with those who helped me reunite with my family and care for my baby and myself again.

    After enjoying the blessing of that child, then her sister and brother – she suddenly died 19 years later.

    In the span of 16 months starting April 2011, I lost my oldest daughter to sleep apnea, my aunt to liver failure, my father to lung disease and my sister to diabetes.
    It was Absolutely More than I could handle. I have heard that bumper sticker phrase more than I can handle. I know people mean well because they just don’t know how to help.

    We are the tools for one another that He has supplied to help us handle the trials of this broken and often painful human life.

    My heart goes out to you and everyone posting and reading here. Thank you for your honesty and truth.

    • Nate Pyle

      Michelle, all I can say is, “I am sorry.” My heart aches for you. Thank you for sharing your story. May grace and peace be yours.

  • Elyse

    I’ve often reminded myself and others that this saying actually does come from that verse on temptation and not on suffering, death or difficult opportunities. God does indeed often give us more than we can bear. More than we can handle. But God never will give us more than He can handle. When we are weak,he can come in and be strong for us. Our awful situations, grief and terrible pain are just that: death, garbage, nothing good in them. Yet, if we allow God to enter into the experience with us, we can find that He can have a way of recycling it into something of value even while the pain may be always with us… We have found ourselves burdened way beyond what we might have imagined we can bear and way past what we “know” we can handle. God has been good to walk with us.. at the center of the storm.. even as we fail. He has walked us through the death of a daughter, the stillbirth/miscarriage of another at 13 weeks, the significant illness of other children, and 2 rare life-impacting disorders for our children, as well as other multiple other trying situations and extended family health issues… The false theology would have you think either you did something wrong (like scenario in Job) or that you do not have enough faith, or that you belly-ache over nothing cause you can handle anything God sends your way and you should be happy since it is for good anyway… Good can be transformed out of bad, but there is no good in bad or death.

  • http://overwhelmingpeace.wordpress.com overwhelmingpeace

    So many people need to hear this. The problem with any answer that is not Truth, whether meant to encourage or not, is that because it is not God’s Truth, it will hurt.

    On top of dealing with life circumstances that were more than I could handle, my family was being attacked from all angles at once, far more than we could handle. As we were breaking mentally and emotionally we felt it was our fault because, after all, God wouldn’t give us more than we could handle, and we weren’t handling it.

    That situation had been building for years, and took years to get through. Some things happen by bad choices, others by sheer spite of other people, and still others just plain happen. As someone who lived with all of those at the same time, I can say, God will certainly let us be pushed beyond our ability to cope. Today, however, I can say that without breaking the way I did, I would not have what I have in God today. I am a truly different person, from the inside out. The person I was was not capable of having the peace I have today, every day.

    The trite sentiment hurts people because not only do we question God and ourselves when we find it to be untrue, but as long as we believe it, we can’t accept the truth: that we are broken by the “too much” and need to let God carry and heal us. Denial blocks forward growth and healing.

    I am so glad that I acknowledged that it was all too much, and there was no strength left in me. I lay like a puddle on the ground, no strength, no shape, no will left to fight. God took me and rebuilt me, changing my foundations and making the me he had always intended me to be. It’s been years, and I am still scarred and I limp from the Too Much, but I am a better and happier, more peaceful person, and I am able to give all that God filled me with to others without regret. He continues to heal and change me, and I am fully content to let him do what he wants when he wants. I would still be battling today if I had held on to the belief that I had to handle everything that came my way.

  • Pel

    Thank you, especially for explaining those two verses and the falseness of that overused platitude. Having just been told “why not you?” to my cries of “why”? was devestating. Thank you for sharing that asking why is okay. I just wish I knew how to get to the place of believing and expecting God to act for me, too, not just everyone else.

  • http://kterlep.wordpress.com kterlep

    I cannot fathom how we can be in a relationship with our God who creates us in love, sustains us in love, and redeems us in love, and then, when we find ourselves in a pit of suffering, we aim a question at the sky, “Why did you…?” There is no answer from the sky because God is right there with us in the pit, suffering with us.

    It would be better if we turned from a doctrine of theodicy to questioning the human actions or inactions which contribute to the problem of evil.

  • http://www.facebook.com/janice.howell2 Janice Howell

    Nate, thank you so much for sharing this….I’m sorry to say that I just recently said that to someone who is going through a really tough time right now. Now that I know the truth, I will be more careful. The examples you used were spot on. I know of people who have come through many trials and tragedies who have developed more solid faith because of what they have been through. I’ve also seen others walk away from God in heartbreak, never to return. Thank you for opening my eyes, to the emptiness of that phrase.

    • Nate Pyle

      Janice, thank you for having the courage to see differently in this area. It will be a blessing to so many people you interact with who are hurting.

  • Mary

    So some may say after reading your article that scripture implies that God will break you until you learn to turn to him in the times of suffering instead of handling it yourself. Is that true?

    • Adena

      Mary,

      I saw your question and if you don’t mind I would like to offer my input. It is true that God will use the trials we go through to help build character and perseverance. And also to teach us to trust and rely on Him. How ever that needs to be held in tension with the truth that God is altogether good and loving. He is not a cruel God who is callused to our pain and suffering. It breaks His heart to see us hurting yet there is ALWAYS the opportunity for redemption and restoration.

  • http://tomakeitworththepain.blogspot.com Gail Wahl

    After reading through all these responses I think I conclude it is just semantics.

    I was faced with this very question 11 months ago when my oldest son (20) died in a climbing accident. I remember sitting on the couch on the morning after and saying to the Lord, “Really? You think I can handle this?” It was at that time that His promises I had read and memorized throughout the years came rushing to my mind,

    “You can do ALL things through ME who will strengthen you.”
    “I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future”
    “ALL things work together for good IF YOU CHOOSE TO LOVE ME, and are called accoring to My purposes:

    ….and there are so many more. These are not platitudes; these are promises. My reality was whether I was going to believe those promises, or choose to doubt Him. I had to make a concious decision to trust, even if my belief was shakey, even if my reality was pain. That morning I knew I couldn’t do it, I couldn’t handle it…..UNLESS….I turned to Him.

    Dance brave and unafraid as we shout a gutsy, “YES!” to God regardless of our difficulties, for in that “YES!”, we find depth of Life.

    This has been my choice.

    • http://www.facebook.com/sarahkatesandquistbozarth Sarah Kate Bozarth

      You are right. It is a promise.

  • Darryl

    Good word. Truth and honesty I think go hand in hand. My wife and I lost our only son, Jeremy in 2008. It was Fathers Day. He was washed out to sea in Australia. He was serving the Lord as a missionary to young people with Youth With a Mission. The story is too long for here, but I must say its the hardest thing we have ever gone thru. If you want more of the story go to our website onetwentyone.com. After all has been said and done, we both still say,”God is good.” We stand with you and your family. God bless you with his peace and presence.

  • http://www.facebook.com/doug.fournier1 Doug Fournier

    I feel your frustration, and I agree that the saying is indeed not truth, nor scriptural.

    That being said, as a complete stranger I’m going to be bold enough to challenge your attitude. I hope you can have grace to allow me to do that.

    I believe one of the more harmful things we can do as Christians is ask “why me?” Or the litany of examples you listed in your writing. Why? Because they put the focus on us, how we’re feeling, and our circumstance(s), and it impairs our ability to keep our countenance lifted up to Him.

    This is not to say that we don’t hurt, we don’t feel pain (mental, emotional or physical), that we don’t grow tired, or experience times of frustration or anger, or that we don’t deal practically with our family, friends and circumstance(s).

    While I don’t believe any of us want to known as “so Heavenly minded that we’re no earthly good”, the reality is everything and everyone on this earth is put here to be about Him and His Kingdom business. Everything! And Everyone!

    So if you’re scratching your head wondering what I’m rambling on about, let me get to the point.

    1 Thess. 5: 16-18 says: “Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

    There are a whole litany of scriptures that tell us to rejoice, and to rejoice in all circumstances that we may encounter!

    1 Peter 1:6-7 says: “In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, f necessary, you have been distressed by various trials,so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than god which is perishable, even though tested by fire, my be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelations of Jesus Christ;”

    When we rejoice, give thanks, and praise Him in the midst of our pain (which personally, I often have to FORCE myself to do because it feels so counter-intuitive when I’m hurting, tired or emotionally drained), we place our attention squarely on Him, and doing so brings us peace.

    Philippians 4:6-7 says: “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts an your minds in Christ Jesus.”

    Bless you! ALL of you, who are going through difficult trials. It can be incredibly difficult to give praise and thanks while in the middle of stressful times. But it’s at those times that you have to make yourself do so. And after you force those first utterances from your lips, don’t relent. Continue to give praise and thanks until your focus changes and your countenance lifts.

    I might also mention, take note of the joy and peace that begin to enter your heart, mind, soul and being. They are the gift of a loving Savior who loves your love for Him and your obedience to Him.

    • Regina Fuller

      1 Thess 5:16-18 says to give thanks “in” (as already experiencing something) not for. I do not believe that God wants us to be thankful for the evil that happens to us. God is not the author of evil. We can be thankful for God’s presence when we experience evil.

      1 Peter 1:6-7 speaks of rejoicing for what is mentioned in the preceeding verses 3-5 (a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade-kept in heaven for you, who though faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. The rejoicing does not refer to suffering becaue of evil.

      Phil. 4-6-7 speaks of worry. God’s promise of peace is there when we seek Him in prayer and we need to do this in whatever difficult place we find ourselves. This is perhaps the best of your illustrations but I think it is still a little off when applied to harsh evil as worry is not the only emotion we experience when undergoing deep trials.

      Please be careful to check the context of the verses you use.

  • http://cherrysocks.wordpress.com triciastevens37

    Nate, first — I’m so sorry for your loss. I’m heartbroken for you and your family.

    Second, thank you for your raw, honest post. I grew up in the church (both my parents are ministers), but spent many years during and after college feeling disillusioned with it all. Over the last maybe dozen years, I’ve been finding my way back into relationship with God.

    We’ve had our share of suffering. Our son was born too soon and spent time in the NICU. Two years later, my husband was diagnosed with brain cancer. In the midst of it all, we’ve had a 3-year struggle with secondary infertility. This morning, I was sitting at a coffee shop around the corner from the fertility center where I was to have an IUI procedure when I read your post – it literally met me *right* where I was.

    Awful platitudes (too numerous and ridiculous to mention) are like salt in the wound. People mean well, but some of the things we say have no real Biblical basis and are just downright unhelpful to hurting people.

    Our anger, our questions and our railing – I believe that He’s big enough to handle them all. I wrote a similar blog post recently that I titled, “Dear God: This Sucks. Amen.”
    http://cherrysocks.wordpress.com/2013/03/01/dear-god-this-sucks-amen/

    Thanks for speaking (writing) truth and for your authenticity in the midst of your own pain. I pray that you and your wife feel comfort during this sad time and that you’ll be surrounded by the support of family and friends.

    Blessings, Trish Stevens

  • K. Swift

    I want to thank you for shedding light on a very damaging, very un-biblical phrase that too often serves to estrange a broken, hurting world even further from a true understanding and intimate knowledge of our loving Father. This is being shared everywhere!

  • E. Ross

    Don’t get me started. My best friend (who is much older than me by 20+ years and an Orthodox Jew who lost her entire family to the Nazi’s in concentration camps) responded to that line when I said it about trauma I was trying to deal with in my own life, in the same exact way you did. She said….”Bullshit. God gives people more than they can handle every day. They’re called suicides”.

    There is one other that makes me crazy to hear….what I refer to as “useless happy thoughts”… Whenever I hear people preaching about the only way one can be happy is if we are living on in the *now* moment. The idea being that if you are living in the past or present, you can’t find true peace. I challenge them to try that while existing as a 7 year old child who has just been sold into sex slavery in some third world (or first world for that matter) country, who is being raped all day by middle aged pedophiles. How do they propose these children find peace in their *now*? For many, the past and the future are the only things keeping them alive in their now moments.

  • Pattti

    Wow what can I saw other then you expressed what I could not find the words to say – as a long time sufferer of depression and anxiety some days it is more then I can bare and then I got diabetes and that tipped me to my last bit of hoarded resources – it is only God that keeps me going – sorry for all you have been through – and the courage to tell it like it is!

  • David J

    As one who suffers from chronic depression, anxiety and PTSD, I appreciate your words. The last 9 years of my life have been hellish. I, too, am an ordained minister, one crying out, “How long, O Lord.” And you are absolutely right. God did not have a plan for me to suffer, and it has been more than I can handle — over and over and over again. Without medication, I’m not sure I would still be alive. But I am turning a corner as I am learning again to explore my feelings and, as courageously as possible, ask the hard questions, knowing that they may never be answered. Yet the asking is what I am finding important. You post may be a lifesaver. Thanks. And know that I, and I am sure many others, join in praying for you and your family. Peace.

  • Pingback: The Message That's Changing Me | Beyond The Risk - Erik Cooper

  • Mary-Ellen

    God has made us all unique and with our own thoughts and interpretations on the things that we read, hear, and understand. I truly appreciate the very honest place that you are coming from and I also appreciate all the comments, regardless of whether I agree with what anyone has to say… the difference in perspective is enjoyable.
    In my life, this has been a saying that has held hope and meaning for me because I relate it to the Bible verse of being able to do all things through Christ who gives me strength.
    I’m a critical care nurse of 10 years who acknowledges the fact that 80% of the patients that I care for will not survive their hospital admission and I deal with the direct aftermath of acutely grieving families on a daily basis. My husband has almost died twice in the last 10 years and we are young. My son almost died at birth and struggled for years with severe asthma and is now struggling with behavior problems in school. I was blessed enough to be able to help a young girl finish high school that caused me to have to work with people who, daily, treated me poorly because of my skin color. I also dealt with the daily threat of the gang of drug dealers harming my family because I chose to help this girl. I don’t share these things to garner sympathy or pity, but rather for an understanding of my perspective based on the experiences of my life.
    My perspective is my own and I just wanted to share that, for me, this is neither empty nor a platitude if it is followed up with genuine conversation and spoken with prayerful thought. I know that God is not the cause of great evils like the Holocaust, child slavery, wars or evils that cause PTSD, gang violence, drug dealers, and the like but I do believe that with prayer and time there can be healing if the evil does not destroy us.
    God may not grant us healing on this earth. We are human and subject to frailty but we have the hope of the resurrection to rely on. Some people are just better at sharing this than others and I respect that, for you this doesn’t sit well with you. It doesn’t for me either if it is only said to shut me up rather than to remind me that I am to rely on God’s strength to sustain me. I don’t know how I would have survived the last 13 years without it.

  • Regina Fuller

    I, too, am deeply sorry for all of your troubles.

    You have caused me to think regarding 1 Cor. 10:13. I looked up the word “temptation” in the concordance and was give the following:

    1) an experiment, attempt, trial, proving

    a) trial, proving: the trial made of you by my bodily condition, since condition served as to test the love of the Galatians toward Paul (Gal. 4:14)

    b) the trial of man’s fidelity, integrity, virtue, constancy

    1) an enticement to sin, temptation, whether arising from the desires or from the outward circumstances

    2) an internal temptation to sin

    a) of the temptation by which the devil sought to divert Jesus the Messiah from his divine errand

    3) of the condition of things, or a mental state, by which we are enticed to sin, or to a lapse from the faith and holiness

    4) adversity, affliction, trouble: sent by God and serving to test or prove one’s character, faith, holiness

    c) temptation (i.e. trial) of God by men

    1) rebellion against God, by which his power and justice are, as it were, put to the proof and challenged to show themselves

    Number 4 mentions adversity, etc. Could you please explain this to me. It would seem that temptation could mean adversity.

    Thanks

    • Nate Pyle

      Thanks for the comment, Regina. The context of 1 Corinthians 10 is important to understanding what kind of temptation Paul is talking about. In 1 Corinthians 10 Paul is talking about idolatry and sexual immorality. He is not talking about suffering. Context is what is key with this verse. To take it out and apply it to suffering to prooftext it. Hope that helps.

  • Pingback: Coffee Mug Hope | His Big Picture View

  • Mamabear

    I’m so sorry to hear of your suffering and hope it encourages you to know so many believers are praying for you. I’m so glad that you see God’s glory will be revealed especially in your weakness. Those that have wrestled with God bear His mark on their lives. A non-Biblical platitude…What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger.

  • Robert Aubrey

    As long as god is perceived by a theology that understands god as a supernatural being that sometimes dabbles in human affairs and sometimes ignores human affairs, people will always be asking the “why” questions. Life is hard and perhaps there are no answers, unless living in a compassionate and loving relationship with all of creation on an individual basis as best we can, is an answer.

    • Philip Glanville

      I agree with Robert Aubrey. Bad things happen, horrible things happen,good and great things happen. Sometimes as a result of human endeavor and sometimes by chance.

  • http://gravatar.com/dananotdayna dananotdayna

    Last year, as I coped with a deepening depression, I struggled with these very issues of the “right” way to relate to God when overwhelmed with grief, fear, suffering, and waiting in uncertainty. I wrote about it, shared it online, and received the same mixed bag of responses. Some shared thanks or affirmation of my wrestling, others felt they ought to rebuke me or fix my thinking. But the God I know from scripture and from experience is both majestic enough to be beyond my understanding and compassionate enough to welcome and respond to my questions, cries, and doubts. He chose to speak directly to bold questioners and wrestlers – Abraham, Jacob, Moses, Job, etc. So it is not wrong to ask “why?”, or “what now?” or “how?” or “how long?”. It is also not wrong to cope by refusing to question. At Lazarus’ tomb we see both responses represented in Martha’s acceptance of loss and in Mary’s expectation that Jesus could DO something. Jesus doesn’t praise Martha or chastise Mary. He grieves with them and shows everyone present that real hope *is* expectant, and that we can expect resurrection power to work in ways we never had the capacity to anticipate.

  • Linda Braun

    I have had a difficult time hearing and feeling God in my life since the loss of my 20 year old son who died by suicide in 2009 after a deployment to Iraq. That action was not from the son I knew before he became a Marine. I have gotten on my knees many times and cried out to God for help. I don’t think I can hit any lower or need God any more than I already do… What am I doing wrong? I love my Lord and have had a relationship with him most of my life.

    • Donna

      Linda, I know it’s a couple of months after you wrote your comment, but I so hope you find my reply!
      Honey, this pain that you’re going through over your son’s death? This isn’t because you’re doing anything wrong, or not needing God enough. Please don’t add to your pain by believing that you are somehow grieving wrongly, and therefore God hasn’t healed your broken heart.
      I haven’t been through what you have, and I’m not going to pretend that I understand how you feel. I don’t have bible verses… all I can tell you is what I have experienced in my own pain. When my heart hurt so much I could hardly breathe, God was holding me, and weeping with me. I didn’t know or feel it at the time, but He showed me years later. Just because you can’t sense God with you, doesn’t mean He’s not there.
      I am praying for you.
      http://www.undauntedreality.blogspot.co.nz/

  • http://www.facebook.com/pamelajbox Pamela Rawlins Box

    nate, a friend who i trust posted an excerpt from your blog. it seemed just what i needed, so i opened your blog and read. just want you to know that i also am waiting for God to do something marvelous and bring healing and restoration. thank you for being vulnerable and speaking with honesty.

  • Shelly

    I can tell you from personal experience that there is NOTHING more painful than the loss of a child. This is especially true of the unborn because so many fail to recognize it as a real loss. I have lost 7 babies, 6 though miscarriage and 1 through ectopic pregnancy. I think the ectopic was the hardest because I had to sign the release form for the surgery. It felt like I was the one sentencing my baby to death. I was crying with a friend about a couple weeks later and she said something that really made sense and was comforting. A baby cannot survive when incorrectly implanted. The circumstance itself is a death sentence for the child. Had I not signed the paper and gone through with it, the only outcome would have been my own death leaving my then 2 (now 6) year old son without a mother and my husband without a wife. Now having some years distance from it I have a second son who is 1 and is his big brothers best friend. Grieve for your baby, memorialize him/her in whatever way brings you comfort, but always remember that little life is now with the Father and you will see them again!

  • http://weeklydevotionalthoughts.blogspot.com/ Byron Myers

    Thank you for writing on this subject. I have come to believe as you do. We as Christians have used this phrase to make ourselves feel better when we have discomfort arising due to someone else’s pain. I read most of the comments and those who disagree defer to relying on God. I beleive that is what you are saying. It is more than WE can handle, not more than God can handle. We as Christ followers may face more than we can handle, yet many of us make it through. It is because of God that we make it through.

    Thank you for your truth.

    • Nate Pyle

      Thanks, Byron. That’s exactly what I am saying.

  • http://dianatrautwein.com Diana Trautwein

    This is such powerful truth. Thank you for writing it down so articulately and so very, very well. When my son-in-law was dying a long, painful, protracted and ugly death, my daughter almost shut the door in the face of a good friend and former pastoral-staff-colleague when her visitor let those words past her lips. My daughter told me she wanted to stand there and scream, “Whaddya mean ‘not more than I can bear?’ I am so far past that point I cannot even find the words for it!!!” It is hurtful, it is trite, it is misapplied scripture and it is false. Period. I am so sorry for this extended time of suffering for you and for your family. I’ve been there, and it’s tough. YES, God does redeem. But being thankful FOR it – not a chance. Learning to be thankful IN it, yes. Praying with you for signs of resurrection amidst all the death around you right now.

  • http://gg-notesonthejourney.blogspot.com Glenda Childers

    I am sorry for the pain your family is experiencing. I am glad that as process it, you find the strength to share these words.

  • http://blueeyegravy.wordpress.com Blue Eye Gravy

    Nate, I am so sorry. So so sorry that you and so many other believers are suffering. There is no platitude, no answer, nothing.
    However, this is the second time that I’ve heard this verse used this past week and I want to give a little insight into “temptation”, which is exactly what you and others are enduring beyond your strength to endure….

    http://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=G3986&t=NKJV

    In an odd way, I also wanted to share this blog post from Rachel Evans… bottom line (so you don’t have to read it or misconstrue my intent) is to say that the Bible is so often taken in context of individuals and our suffering. While of course it speaks to it, all of scripture is seated in community.
    http://rachelheldevans.com/blog/bible-not-into-you

    What is truth is how communal the suffering is, and as you’ve shared yours, so others are sharing theirs – so it’s the body of Christ, even if virtually. I truly wish that we would all suffer and love and be present without words and pray for whomever in the body is hurting because as we are taught, if one part is off, the whole suffers.

    I will be praying for you and all the post-ers here suffering, in the spirit of joining you in the only way I can. Knowing that truly, you are all going through Greek “temptations” and platitudes are all bullshit. All that matters before, during or after is to be loved in it.

    Father, please intervene. You didn’t stop the events from happening to Nate or those above. You are sovereign, but it’s so painful, and in my eyes so needless. Show up for them all, in ways that confound the New Age version of miracles. Show up, address their cries, encircle them with tangible people who are Your hands and feet, unafraid of silence, comfortable with presence, bringing pot pies as needed. Father, the chapter of these stories are brutal. Please keep writing…
    In Jesus’ Name,
    Amen.

  • GC

    There are 2 parts to the statement God never gives you more than you can handle. The first part is God, the 2nd part is you. Those who have passed on are in a better place. Our grief, our pain never brings them back. It doesn’t mean it’s not real. Even Jesus cried out to God, “Why hast thou forsaken me.?”

    Yet he died for us. To prepare a way for us. I have Type 1 diabetes. It’s demanding. It’s dangerous. It’s scary. It can be deadly. How I cope is that I try to help others wo have it by using my experiences.

    I had a good friend who died of pancreatic cancer 2 years after retiring. A great father and grandfather, he had hiked the Appalachian trail. After diagnosis, he traveled and spoke to raise awareness and support and to give help. His death was sad as was our loss, but his life wasn’t. Always had a smile, even when in the last stages. He taught alot of us how to live and how to die, something all of us will do sooner or later. In my own life, I try not to focus on how much God is “giving” me, but rather, how I am handling it.

  • GC

    How much suffering could be somewhat alleviated but for our own apathy for our fellow human beings and our own selfishness?

  • Dirk

    Thank you for writing what you wrote. Although to get to this point you are in pain as well as those around you.
    I have no words of comfort, and any comments beyond standing with you would be just like ressurecting Eliphaz.

  • http://allinaday-carol.blogspot.com Carol

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts and feelings so honestly…and expressing so eloquently something that has caused me to cringe every time I hear it said to me or some one else. It is like fingernails on a chalkboard. The phrase implies God is ‘giving’…causing all of the suffering? I struggle daily with the feelings that you brought up as my husband is terminal and I am his caregiver…it has been a long difficult journey, one that has turned my faith inside out. That is just one of the hard things, hard being an understatement. I would rather people tell me yes, that really is hard, I am sorry you are going through this…be honest with me. Not some platitude that means nothing in regards to caring and does nothing to strengthen ones faith exactly when one needs it the most. I ask all the same questions. So, again thank you and God bless you. And I am sorry that you and your family are going through this, I am so very sorry about the pregnancy and all of the things on your heart right now…they are all hard and painful…I am praying for you and your wife and that friend… peace.

  • Bob Ryan

    Good. Solid. Thank you.

  • Pingback: Coffee Mug Hope | His Big Picture View

  • Pingback: Coffee Mug Hope | His Big Picture View

  • Tim

    Nate – having walked through the valley of the shadow on several occasions, I can confirm both humanistically and theologically that you are right on. In fact, I have come to believe that, while it is not typically God that puts us in these situations, He allows them in our lives for reasons we may never comprehend. I have also come to discern that sometimes these things are allowed for the express purpose of helping us understand that we can not walk through life in our own strength. Simply said, we were created by God to be dependent on God.

    I hope it brings some small comfort to remember that the Gardner is never closer to the branch than when He is pruning dead leaves. May God comfort you and ease your pain.

  • bethany

    YES. You hit the nail on the head, Nate.

  • Bonnie Clark

    Nate, WOW!! You were actually able to put so many of my thoughts into words. THANK YOU. I am the parent of a special needs daughter that has many medical complicaitons. Family and friends have been saying this to me for years, and it always bothers me. I feel that I and only I can decide when I have had more then I can handle. And that it is up to me to turn to God for the strength and support to expand my limits. Jennifer Lachonce shared this article with me and I am very grateful. I will be sharing it with more parents in the special needs community. Can I also please share this with my priest? I have often felt alone when I disagree with this saying. I also feel that we need to help people realize that it is being courageous that lets you be angry with God at times like this and not a doubt in your faith as many people feel. Thank you again for putting this into wonderful words.

  • http://timmillerblog.wordpress.com/ Tim Miller

    WOW! The right words at the right time. We are going through our second abandonment (by our church) and platitudes ring hollow. Thanks for honesty through your pain. I will pray for you and your family, even though we have never met.
    Funny, even as I try to say something encouraging it just comes across as platitudinous.

  • Pink Chic

    Nate – I have had that phrase said to me way too many times and I sometimes say, “Then God and I don’t agree on what I can handle!” You know innately that what the person is saying is wrong.. it somehow doesn’t line up with truth.. you feel it in your gut as well as in your grief but you are often in that wounded place and don’t take the time to research it. Your energies are going out to too many places all at once and you know that you cannot waste what precious resources you have on that person (and a dope slap up the side of their head is not an option either lol!) Thanks for addressing this.. I love it!! Meanwhile, I mean this as no pat answer when I say, that I am sending up a prayer for you, for that is where my strength lies..

  • http://www.myhearteverchanging.blogspot.com Alyssa

    Thank you so much for writing this. I have been saying this same thing since we lost our baby to miscarriage in 2010. I hated when people said, “God won’t give you more than you can handle.” It made me feel more pathetic and lonely and scared. Three years later, three failed adoption attempts later, three years filled with inferitlity later – and we are still hopeful that one day God will redeem it all.

    I’ve found that writing helps. I started blogging in 2011 at http://www.myhearteverchanging.blogspot.com Thank you again for sharing your heart. I’ll be lifiting your family up in prayer today.

  • Eric

    You named this cliche appropriately. A friend on facebook shared this and it really touched me. Last June my then 9 month old son was diagnosed with leukemia and my wife and I entered a new reality we couldn’t handle on our own and we heard this from a few friends. This didn’t help, but we did realize something about the faith of our friends. They do not have a theology of suffering, only triumph, which is why they say things that have a victorious intent. They have no clue how to deal with life and death challenges, so they say stupid phrases that help them to deal with our situation. It’s a pacifier for themselves and serves no purpose to the ones suffering. When my wife and I observed this we got very angry at people, but we then started to forgive them “for they don’t know what they do.” (Lk 23:34) Through forgiving people for their ignorance, it restored who was really being effected by cancer, our son, not others. We are lucky to have the people who have been present too, weeping with us, bringing us food doing our laundry and just sitting with us. Those are the ones we have also rejoiced and celebrated with when our son was declared in remission and he overcame other “road bumps” in this journey.

  • http://gravatar.com/superhaas Daniel

    Good stuff, though do not entirely agree. (full disclosure at bottom) Suffering itself may provide the impetus to tempt you not to believe God is in charge (of history, and the details of it, i.e. you and me.) So yes, I agree the suffering may not directly be the topic discussed in that verse. I also agree that the suffering we do go through will not pile on so much temptation to forget God is in charge that we CAN’T resist and therefore fall for the temptation and actually believe he’s not in charge. i.e. You won’t suffer so much that you will automatically forget the goodness of God. That’s still your fault no matter what (I think a list of whys HELD ON TO function as a doubt of God’s goodness.)

    Example: Remember Habakkuk. He was really really upset at suffering of himself, Israel, etc. and God says, “Don’t worry I’ll fix it – the Chaldeans are coming!” Well that really wasn’t what Habakkuk had in mind and he was pissed! “Bullshit!” He said! (with different words of course) But God’s response? “Be silent! God is still on His throne.” This is God’s take on the imminent onslaught of the barbarian Chaldeans – “Don’t worry I got this.” Wow. God says “I am about to wash over your civilization with the barbarian hordes (human sacrifice, piking enemies on stakes, sex rituals, etc), but I’m still on the throne.” THAT’S not even an excuse. God doesn’t answer the whys, he asks for silence before the throne. (cf Jeremiah 2)

    I’ve struggled with the truth of that while dying (I didn’t end up dying). There’s NEVER enough suffering produced that allows us an excuse to fall for the temptation not to give God the glory he deserves. (this is NOT a stoic call for a stiff upper lip, collapsing for a while is expected) Therefore there is no suffering that forces, in the moral dimension, more temptation to react negatively to it than we can bear. Sure we could die. But we can do it saying, “I know that my kinsman-redeemer lives.” Like Job. Or “crucify me upside down, because I’m not worthy even to die like Christ.” Like Peter. Or “I consider that the sufferings of this present time are NOT WORTH COMPARING with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” Like Paul who was basically tortured numerous times by modern standards (none of these guys rolled out the list of whys)

    Suffering may be more than we can bear in our limited frail bodies (driving us crazy, sick or dead) but it is never enough of an excuse NOT to agree with Job, or not to stand silent before the throne and believe God that these are “light and momentary troubles” in every way that matters.

    I say let’s scream Psalm 13 at the top of our lungs together, without glossing over the end of it…

    5 BUT I have trusted in your steadfast love;
    my heart shall rejoice in your salvation.
    6 I will sing to the LORD,
    because he has dealt bountifully with me.

    That’s coming from a guy who murdered, was hunted, lost children, best friends and his kingdom.

    (Disclosure: I spent 2.5 years gravely ill. Bone marrow transplant back in the days when it was chemical/biological torture. 4 years later almost suffocated to death – treatment drugs made me wake up wanting to die. Nearly went on lung transplant list. 2011, wife left me and it broke me to ashes. Lost everything: social standing, friends, graduation from seminary, country, social identity. There’s more. But it is NOT more than one can handle as far as succumbing to the temptation to doubt the goodness of God. That is always my fault, even though yes the verse is about temptation.)

    • Jon

      I think it is a mistake to tie God’s goodness to control. In fact, I think the underlying reason for the non-biblical platitude is a common desire to believe another (more complicated but also non-biblical) notion that God chooses everything that happens, that it’s all part of His plan. This denies the reality that God, because of His goodness, gave His creations free will, even though doing so required Him to let go of anything close to total control of the world. I’m sure there are times when we allow Him to intervene by being open and letting Him use us, and certainly the tools of an all-knowing and benevolent God can have supernatural effects, but He doesn’t take free will away from sociopaths, pedophiles, unfaithful spouses, drunk drivers or judgemental Christians. Ultimately as long as there are sinners there will be suffering, and innocent suffering at that. And not because God chooses it. Denial of this fact is sometimes easier than being present in all its results, but when we claim God is in control of everything we (falsely) give justification for blaming Him for choices that must hurt Him as much as many of their earthly victims. We help the devil lie about God’s character. And we lose the opportunity to gain intimacy with God while we are both suffering. Let’s pray for the courage to ask the hardest questions while we wait to wait to see face to face.

      Thank you for writing this, Nate. It has an obvious value for Christians while we are suffering, and a very powerful, if subtler, value for the larger church (the temporarily-less-suffering?)

      • http://gravatar.com/superhaas Daniel

        Jon I agree with the notion that God does not control everything, in one sense – he doesn’t AUTHOR it, or create it at all times (sin, death and the devil for example). But he is in control of all things. This does not violate free will. I believe in antinomy in this case, with all due respect to the free will/determinism debate.

        I don’t think it’s a mistake to tie God’s goodness to his control. Romans 5:1-5 outlines the process by which and purpose God has in using suffering. He doesn’t create sin, death and the (disobedient) devil, but it never veers outside of his will in redemption. Suffering is an ingredient for Paul in character building, nation cleansing and church/kingdom building. This is how Paul can say to rejoice in suffering!

        We could blame God for suffering, but that is leaning too far into determinism. I’ve seen someone do that to himself after accidentally killing someone. “Well this is what God wanted” he said. It screwed him up psychologically to have such horrible theology. But I don’t have to either A) deny God is in control of everything or B) blame God for my suffering. He is in control of everything AND my suffering is the result of sin, death and the devil. Suffering can often tempt us to ‘dump the teeter totter’ in one direction because we can’t handle this tension. Maybe you’re doing that with your sovereignty and suffering comments I don’t know.

        Even the demons had to ASK Jesus nicely to be put into the pigs. They also asked if they were headed for the lake of fire yet. He ALLOWS them to persist even now. The coming kingdom promises a cosmic redemption. It wasn’t being offered nicely “if you want it” (although that is true for the individual) it was being announced as a GIVEN that after planning it since Gen 3:15 it was here, whether we or Satan or people wanted it or not. “Let the weeds grow up with the wheat” is the answer to the conundrum of how suffering and the kingdom could happen at the same time in a sovereign God’s economy.

        God is not evil or the author of evil but is so perfect in all his attributes that he will accomplish every single goal in spite of it, and in and through it’s instrument of character and hope building.

    • http://Facebook Clara Thames

      I love the invitation to scream Psalm 13 at the top of our lungs together. I am with you! The fact is I love God, I love His son and the Holy Spirit lives in me. I live for the chance to be with them in Heaven! I have a post below, and it says the things I have gone through. These things hurt and it leaves residual pain, but it has given me the chance to die to self. I lost a son, but He gave His son for me and you. He knows what loss is. I work to share His sacrifice and eagerly await for that day of days!

  • Pingback: 5 Practices for Suffering Well - From One Degree to Another - Nate Pyle

  • http://www.facebook.com/elizabeth.dallmann.5 Elizabeth Jones Dallmann

    Nate – I know you’ll have even more comments, so I don’t expect a response, but thank you for posting this. I have a beautiful gift in a 15 year-old daughter who happens to have severe special and medical needs. I’ve heard this comment too many times in the last 15 years. I often have too much to bear….like you said the difference is we have Christ to carry, encourage, and strengthen us when we can’t and don’t want to persevere. Some verses that have helped me through the “whys?” are Romans 8:26-28 (ESV)

    “Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”

    We might never know what the “good” is that God will make of a horrible situation, but we have to Trust that God sees the whole, while we only see part. I will be praying for you, your family, and ministry as you walk this path.

    Yours in Christ,

  • Shelley Blevins

    Thank you so much for this. I get so tired of people saying this. My son, who is now 26, became addicted to meth when he was 15. 4 years of pure hell. Meth destroyed the son I loved. At 17, be became a father to a beautiful little girl. She was hidden from us for 3 years. At 19, my son was clean off meth, but not drugs or alcohol. At age 23, he had been sober for 30 days when we were notified that his little girl, Kati, had been brutally beaten to death on July 4th, 2009, by her mom’s boyfriend. Kati was 5. He was on a drug and alcohol binge for almost 2 years while I was in counseling trying to make sense of why my granddaughter was murdered. I was so angry at God and screamed at Him, why couldn’t he save her? At the age of 25, my son was diagnosed with PTSD and high anxiety. For 6 months, he was incapable of leaving his house. He lost his job, his friends, his life. After the Capital Murder trial for the man who murdered my granddaughter (he got life), I became very tired and thought it was from stress. After a doctor’s visit, I was told I had a rare form of liver disease. The stress from the trial brought the dormant disease to the surface. As a result of not knowing I had it, I also have cirrhosis of the liver. I was in liver failure and told I was lucky I had not slipped into a coma and never woke up, that’s how severe it was. I am better now and in remission. My son is on medication and is currently working at a good job. His new girlfriend just had a baby girl Thursday and I have another granddaughter. I never thought I would be capable of making it through any one of these events in my life. I have never hidden from the Lord my feelings or wondering why me? I have asked all the hard questions of Him, knowing that someday I will understand why these things have happened. It doesn’t make the loss any easier. I still miss my granddaughter and I still struggle with having my disease. It has altered my life. I know my Lord loves me and He has sustained me through all of these tragic events. He can handle your anger. And even when I couldn’t feel His presence or thought He had left me, even when I didn’t want anything to do with Him, He was still faithful and was there for me when I was ready to start my relationship up again with Him. I don’t say to people “I will pray for you” anymore. I do say that you are in my thoughts and I shout out wordless prayer for you. I still struggle to pray and that’s okay. He understands and He still loves me.

  • Consuelo C. Gutiérrez

    If God didn´t allow us to experience more than we can handle, how could be possibly learn? He walks with us and He brings us up and He restores us. We need to walk with Him daily so that our faith doesn’t waver and in order to be able to see what He is doing even in the midst of the worse we experience and be able to give Him His Glory.

  • Amanda

    THANK YOU!!!!!

    When people say God won’t give you more than you can handle, it’s like saying, “Eat your food, there are children starving.” Sounds good at a basic level, but when you start looking at it, it doesn’t work.

    1. Satan came to steal, kill and destroy. Jesus came so we could have life. This is a good time to look at Job. God did NOT kill his children and give him all of that suffering. Maybe God did give you all of these problems, or maybe He only allowed them. Dunno.

    2. What you can handle is fairly subjective, and in many ways implies that you should just suck it up, whatever the it is that you are dealing with, and basically NOT deal with it on an emotional level by admitting you don’t know how to deal with it.

    3. A cliche I like, “God can’t steer a parked car.” By lulling you into the suck it up mentality, you can get stuck expecting a miracle, or some other form of relief that in reality is NOT coming. Don’t get me wrong, I KNOW God is doing something in your life, but if you are expecting to “feel” better without going through whatever Hell lays before you, you are in danger of disappointment. When your expectations for God fail, many BLAME God, CURSE God, and walk away from the faith.

  • http://gravatar.com/grantemiriam Miriam Pinkston

    Thank you.

  • http://www.facebook.com/janett.giesel Janett Kile Giesel

    Thank you for saying this! I have always interpreted that scripture the way you just did, and it set my teeth on edge to hear it as a useless platitude. Indeed, we are allowed to suffer more than we can bear. This is where we find our faith. His strength is displayed in our weakness, when we cry out because we can’t take anymore. We don’t rejoice because our present circumstances are good, we rejoice because He is good.

  • Pingback: It should've been me...

  • http://goministry.net Tress

    As the pastor in a small midwestern town, I was asked to lead a candle light vigil last fall. Around the time of Sandyhook, our small farming community had two separate tragedies – parents and their three school aged children killed in a house fire and parents and their two children killed in a car accident on one of our country roads. I tied the three events together with the common lament “WHY!!!”

    Following the service, the president of a local university, who is a Universal Unitarian himself, stood in line to speak with me. I only know him socially, yet, when he came to me, he embraced me. I was taken aback and yet it was so sincere. He then said “Thank you for your honesty that there are questions of Why with no answers that will ever make us understand or grieve less. So many times Christians have pat answers or scriptures to toss out. But in pain, none of that soothes.”

    While certianly in time it is our faith in God and His Word that can bring comfort and peace, in the heart of raw pain and anguish let’s just be honest and let people feel and lament.

  • http://gravatar.com/drmaxhigh Dr. Max High

    Until you or God ends your life you are bearing it. Period. There difference is how you choose to bear it. And that ain’t no BS.

    • Andrew

      Self fulfilling prophesy. So why do you have to answer and sign your name ‘Dr.’

    • Corrie

      And what of those who wish to die but can’t end their life due to paralysis? Are they bearing it?

  • http://letters2grandkids.blogspot.com Mary Letters

    Thank you for this. As I cope with the death of my father and other stuff, this was good to hear.

  • http://www.crossrevealed.bolgspot.com Dean

    The Cross will never appeal to the human will. Even our Lord said, “If it be possible, let this cup be taken from me”. The only way out is not deliverance FROM our cross, but an understanding of the reward that is BEYOND our cross. Until we get this, suffering will never make any sense.

  • http://www.precariousyates.com Sarah Smith

    I consistently have had things fall into my lap that are much much more than I can ever handle. Just the other day, a conversation with someone I love saddened me so much that I was physically sick afterward. We can be brave in the face of pain, and continue to love in the face of pain, but in this human existence we have many things that far outweigh our ability to handle them. God allows these things. I remember, several years ago, being so angry at Him about that fact and screaming at Him until I had no voice left. I felt like Jeremiah who cried out, “You deceived me and I was deceived!”

    Now I’m thankful. I have an intimacy with the Lord through all of the stuff that I couldn’t handle, and intimacy that I wouldn’t have had otherwise. I’m thankful that I don’t have to answer this question for anyone else, because I don’t believe that’s something we humans can do. (Grace, grace to you pastors who are constantly asked to answer this very question!) And I have peace on the other side knowing that NOTHING will separate me from the Love of God that is in Christ Jesus.

    God allowed me to go beyond the very end of what I could handle more times than I can count. He has caught me every time. I often writhed and screamed in His arms, but He caught me. And carried me to His heart.

    I can tell you this–God, our glorious Father, will work ALL things together for good. He will work ALL things together for good. And when you begin to notice the good that God has worked out of horrific situations, there is no longer any anger toward your greatest Ally. I have no more anger toward my greatest Ally.

  • http://gravatar.com/celebkiriedhel Kiri

    I agree with what you’ve said wholeheartedly. I’ve been in the place where I thought God would never give me more than I could bear – and learnt first hand that is both wrong and demeaning to God.

    I also learnt that God is big enough to deal with our anger about this, and that being honest with God is way more important to Him than trying to act spiritual.

    In 1990, I lost my brother and my father, and cousin, since then I have lost my mother both grandparents, an uncle and another cousin. I have been ‘blessed’ (please read with sarcasm+++) with singleness and childlessness when all I ever wanted for myself was to be part of a family. I’ve contracted Diabetes, have numerous medical issues and suffer from depression and dysthmia.

    I can’t bear it. Because of what I can’t bear, it makes me long for heaven more. So life is a game of waiting for the time when God calls me home. I’ve been introduced to a song Chris Rice – Come to Jesus – and there’s this one verse that strikes me really hard –
    “Sometimes the way is lonely And steep and filled with pain
    So if your sky is dark and pours the rain
    Then cry to Jesus Cry to Jesus Cry to Jesus and live”

    It’s not cope. It’s not be strong. Its not even let God handle things. It’s about expressing our heart-felt emotions to the one who is strong enough, and loves us enough to listen.

    I still look to cope – I don’t want to spend my life this way. I promised God a long time ago that I wouldn’t consider suicide an option. And there are times that I heartily regret that promise. And there are also times that I’m glad I made that promise – not just for me, but for the family I have left.

    The one thing that I hold onto, is there will always be an end to this suffering in my life. If not in this world, then in the next. Where God will wipe away every tear – and that’s a promise I wait I for.

  • http://Facebook Clara Thames

    Thanks for your writing on this. I have been going through things that I never could have imagined since around 2004. My stepson wasn’t working and my husband and his ex-wife and husband had been paying his rent and other bills. He was drinking all of the time and he had a girlfriend who was doing drugs. Then they get pregnant. We move them closer to us and take care of bills. They don’t change their life, but get worse. They split up and my husband’s ex gets custody of our granddaughter. The mother leaves, he continues to drink. One night we get woke up by the sheriff’s department. My stepson was found dead on his living room floor. Acute ethanol poisoning. That was 2009. My husband never recovers from this. He takes early retirement with our son still in college and a daughter that will be going in several years. We run out of money and almost lose our house. My husband gets another job, but for less money. Four months later he comes home from his job traveling and says he is sick. He has already lost a lot of weight. I just thought he was dieting, which he said he was. He goes to the doctor thinking that he has gall stones. No, it’s not gallstones, but cancer. Pancreatic cancer. They say we caught it early. But, no surgery. Tumor is on the arteries and veins and can’t get rid of it. We do radiation and chemotherapy. This was in 2011. My husband died in 2012, just one week shy of a year from diagnosis. I forgot to mention that while he was getting treatment, we lost insurance coverage and went on public assistance. He was getting disability also. After he died, I received benefits from a small life insurance policy from his previous employer. I was trying to do what I could. I then find out that he had no will. This meant that I would only inherit the house I am living in, but not the house that my stepson lived in. This was bought with money from the refinancing of our home and using the equity to purchase the house for him to live in. My name is not on the deed. I don’t own it by myself now. It is to be divided by giving me 1/3 and 2/3 to be divided between my two children and my step granddaughter. If I am lucky, my home will sell for enough to settle the loan amount. I do not have a full-time job, but work part-time and go to school online full-time. I cannot support myself right now and have no real way of getting another home. All of this from a marriage of thirty years. I feel like a female Job. I am very thankful that I still have my other son and daughter. I can see where God has brought me through this. If He hadn’t carried me through this, I wouldn’t be here. One of these things would bring some people to their end. I have been at the end so much and then had Him pick me up. But I can’t help but to ask Him when will it get easier? Will I have a time without this much pain? It is still very painful, but I am depending on God. I am truly at the end of me, the end of help from others, and of being able to help myself. I go on counting on the fact that if others can see me go through this and love God and still trust in Him for everything, that perhaps it will give them hope. It is so hard to trust Him for everything, but that is what I am learning to do. I, like you, don’t rejoice in this suffering. But if it brings me closer to Him and to being more Christlike, I submit to Him.

  • http://alymae.wordpress.com Alyssa Santos

    I wrote a post about this same thing this week called, More Than You Can Handle. It is a strange and unbiblical platitude, I agree. However, as someone who has definitely received more than I can handle, I learned through the accident I was in with my family that nearly killed me and the months of recovery that there were many times it was more than I could bear, more than I believed I could bear, yet I survived. Beyond that, I was buoyed by support and met by God in every moment of weakness. The fact that we believe that we can bear anything apart from God is a lie, and a deception that we fall into believing. Our every breath is a gift of grace, any strength any of us have is divine. Yes, the world gives us a beating and the pervasive death that breathes down our necks is ominous, but there is nothing God can’t handle and if he sees fit to strengthen me to survive something horrible, then I have a choice: to learn to praise him in the process or become lost in the pain of it. Usually, I choose the latter and even then, because I am His, he meets me in that dark place and leads me out (Psalm 40), and gives me victory.

  • http://MartinAndJulieJohnson.com Martin Johnson

    “God won’t give you more than you can handle.” Before what happens? Before we turn to God for help? The Christian should always be relying on God. We should not be trying to do it on our own in the first place.

    The statement, “God won’t give you more than you can handle” is true if you are including Christ in your life. Read Philippians 4:13 in its context “I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” Paul was in prison talking about getting through hard times.

    The fact is, if you are a Christian, who relying on Christ, (as if there is any other kind) you can handle it, through Christ.

    If you have lost sight of Christ and are trying to do it on your own, ask God the “hard questions” then go read his answer in the Bible. Better yet, start reading it now so that you have the answer before you ask the question. The emotions of suffering cloud our judgment. It is better to understand it before it happens.

    Maybe this video will help. I enjoyed it greatly. http://vimeo.com/36984565

  • April Fiet

    Nate,

    Thank you for these words and for allowing us into the pain and suffering of your past three weeks. When my mother-in-law died after a seven year battle with ALS, our pastor said something very wise to us before the visitation. He said, “Make a game of the terrible and comfortless things people say to you. They will say them, and it is because they are uncomfortable and don’t know what to say. So, they say things to make themselves feel less discomfort in the presence of suffering.” It was and is so true. We insulate ourselves from the suffering of others, and when we are confronted with it, we don’t know what to do.

    I’m not excusing it. In fact, I think these kinds of platitudes illuminate our inability as a culture to empathize with others, to walk alongside those who are suffering, to reach out with the love of Christ when the suffering is so much it doesn’t make sense. Can I even throw it out there that maybe this is a part of why churches are in steady decline? We can’t even love our own with the love of Christ when they need it most. How can we love those outside the church with the love of Christ when we can’t even love our own?

  • http://www.facebook.com/craig.tavani Craig Tavani

    I wrote the following comment in reply to your article as it was posted on a friend’s FACEBOOK page:
    <>

    After posting my comment, I re-read your article and then read through the comment section. What I would change in my own comment would be the word “rant” to describe what you have written, Nate. You obviously were writing with considered care not found in any mere ranting. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to see what you were willing to share and pray that the God of all comfort will minister His healing in your life and the life of your family.

    That being said, I stand by what I have written. My point is that suicide must not be made to seem like a viable option to end human suffering (something alluded to in some of the posted comments above). God’s loving life is always greater than the darkest valley of death.

    Cordially in Christ,
    Craig Tavani

  • John

    You had me at bullshit…

    I’m a worship pastor in the middle of an epic betrayal right now and needed to read this. I will copy the paragraph after the Corinthians quote to my phone and will read it daily, maybe hourly, as it articulates specifically where I need to be right now. Thank you for one of the most honest and straight-forward commentaries I have absorbed in the last month or so. You have steadied the boat for me in a season of great personal turmoil and rejection.

  • http://www.fhpcpa.org Ben Black

    Nate, great post. I do want to point out that 1 Cor 10.13 COULD be translated as trial instead of temptation as it is in 1 Peter 4.12- but you are right it is probably best read as temptation. However, the hinge of that passage doesn’t seem to be ‘the burden’ (test vs trial) as much as it is God’s faithfulness in the midst of despair. All that being said, as you so eloquently stated above, that doesn’t take the pain out of what you are going through and a pithy statement can never change the reality of agony. I pray that the Peace of Christ that surpasses all understanding will be your relief.
    -Ben

  • Ronnie Cyrus

    Thank you, from an “Old” Crusty Infantry, SFC who has thought on this “He won’t give you more than you can bear.” more than once. It has never harmed my relationship with the Master, to just ask why and expect him to be there. I asked my Dad that a lot growing up so why wouldn’t I ask my Heavenly Father the same? Daddy always seemed to fix what was wrong when he could and If someone isn’t of the belief that “OUR” God can’t be asked to fix what is wrong? well, I hope you get the point.
    Thank you for this.
    SFC RC 1/125th IN

  • http://theartofstanding.com Dennis Ritchie

    God will never give you more than HE can handle. What’s the point of His testing our limits? Whoever said we were strong? Only when we reach our very limited limit will we quit thinking,”I’ve got this covered,” and reach out for God’s help.

    With God’s help, however, we are stronger than we think.

    My little family has suffered multiple cancers, accidents, greed, corruption, theft, deaths, divorces and more. These individual events were more than we could handle. But, with God’s strength, we have survived them all and still believe that life is beautiful. Even when it hurts.

  • Cindy Benson

    THANK YOU!!! For years I have known that there is something wrong about that platitude and kept correcting people when they said it, pointing out as you did that the verse is referring to “temptations” not circumstances in general. Then I came across the 2 Corinthians verse and it was just another confirmation. There is plenty in this world that is way more than we can handle. And even when we admit that to God and cry out to him, he often seems silent. But there is something that can mysteriously and inexplicably carry us, perhaps on the prayers of others as Paul goes on to say in that 2 Corinthians passage. I just lost my husband to cancer at age 58 and we experienced just that even as we were way over our head in grief and fear. God is present with us and will redeem the suffering of this life in some way. I do pray that for you and your wife you will find his healing and that deep down you will be able to trust in him no matter what. Thank for this piece. I’ve never seen anything else written on this and it’s sorely needed! Blessings…

    • Jeni West

      Nate, I want to say, first off, that I am so sorry that you are facing those difficult trials! I pray that solutions and comfort come to you as speedily as the lord will provide. I need to say though, that I KNOW that if God brings you to it, he WILL bring you through it!! I don’t believe that to be a lie. Nothing is more unbearable that God can’t help us through. Pain is SO real and can, believe me, FEEL unbearable, but even in my worst of sorrow and agony, I know that the atonement of Christ was given for this reason. If we but put our faith in our savior that he will bring us through, he WILL!! But faith is an action word! He gives us comfort any time we need it, but we need to ask and have faith that we will receive that!! I completely agree that there are pains and sorrows in this world that are unbearable ALONE, but absolutely NOT with the help of Christ. I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and I dont just think I KNOW in my heart that Christ does not leave us alone in trials. We may get discouraged, and many loose faith too quickly. I KNOW that Christ died on that cross and suffered the atonement, first and foremost so we were saved, and would have the opportunity to live with him forever, but also that he knew first hand, EVERY pain, EVERY sorrow, and not just from sin. From heartache, and turmoil and trial as well. He suffered that he might have the opportunity to know first hand how to comfort us. With whatever trial that comes our way, I KNOW that Christ knows my pain, and although sometimes doesn’t take that trial away, he WILL bring us through it IF WE ALLOW him to. Praying for that comfort, doing what we can to help ourselves, studying the scriptures for answers, and the lord will make up the difference!! He WILL give us that comfort and guidance we need! We do have to ask though. He is a just and a perfect god, and he gives us these trials that we may learn to come to him. That we may become better people, and that we may draw a closer relationship with our father in heaven. I encourage you greatly to get a copy of the Book of Mormon. There is where you will find scriptorial PROOF of this statement, that god will not give us more than we can bear. It is in 1 Nephi 3:7. I have it memorized because this scripture has helped me to remember in times of trial, and believe me, there have been many that my savior is ALWAYS there and will prepare a way for me to get through it . Almost all that you used as examples I have experienced. And I HAVE made it through!! And because of that my testimony of this gospel is solid steel. I have NO doubt in my mind that I have a savior who knows me and WILL help me through EVERY struggle I go through in this life. I know that we have a living prophet on this earth today that testifies of him and teaches us and guides us in the way that the lord would have us live. I know that he and his apostles teach us just this, how to withstand through this sometimes miserable thing we call life. Our heavenly father wants us to be happy and he gives us the way to do that! Through our prophet and his apostles we can know his truths,

  • http://pattycakenanny.wordpress.com sbenoit1865

    In one six month period I learned that my husband was having an affair, I was diagnosed with breast cancer, my daughter married, I had a mastectomy, and my husband filed for divorce nine days after my surgery. During that time I took great comfort in the Book of Job. Yep, I did say that. The lessons learned from suffering are life altering and I wouldn’t take all the gold in the world for them.

  • Dude

    John 10:10. There is a battle going on my friend. One that wages against you. I would encourage you to read this…

    http://www.amazon.com/Waking-Dead-Glory-Heart-Fully/dp/0785288295

  • http://Facebook Mary

    Here is God’s answer to “God won’t give you more than you can handle.” 2 Corinthians 12:8,9,10. Perhaps this is where the saying got its start. Read the Amplified version of these verses. Yes, God will take us through many tests to grow us up in Him that we may be conformed into the image of Christ, the Author and Finisher of our faith. I am saddened that your message wasn’t a message of hope and truth. Perhaps, the Lord is growing you up and yes, it is painful. Can you imagine anything worse than what Christ endured before, during His crucifixion? Don’t allow the devil to make you an accuser of God’s grace and sufficiency in times of testing.

    • Nate Pyle

      Mary – First, thanks for commenting. Second, 2 Corinthians 12:8-10 does not say I (emphasis on the “I”) can handle it. Rather, that in my weakness God will give me the strength. Also, read the first line of the second to last paragraph. It is almost an exact quote of 2 Corinthians 12:9-10. I was pointing to that verse because it is such a source of hope during difficult times.

      This is a message of hope. A message that I don’t have to bear it. “God won’t give you more than you can handle” is a lie because the emphasis is on you and me. It assumes we can handle it without God. We can’t. But the good news is that God gives us strength when we are weak.

      • Christine Clark

        My experience has been that time and time again God allows me to get to the end of myself, to the place where all my coping, all energy, all my solutions and problem-solving aren’t enough. When I know I am beyond saving or fixing myself and/or my situation I find God is there waiting for me to give up. Only at those times of surrender am I able to know this God of the universe. Experiencing that awe (fear) is the beginning of wisdom, but just the beginning. I have come to believe that I will not understand the why’s and what for’s to some things this side of the full expression of the Kingdom. On the day of resurrection I will know why but by then it just won’t matter any more. This helps me let go of some things I just can’t understand. I confess I still hold onto a few unanswerable questions, laying them down at the cross and picking them up again. I think God understands me even though I can never fully understand God. That’s pretty wonderful.

      • Mary

        I do like what you have to say, “I believe expectant waiting can only happen when we exchange our feeble platitudes for an authentic faith that engages God with the full brunt of our emotion and pain.” Well said, and partly true. I suppose, after reading your article again, I got side tracked by the anguish and the hopelessness I read in the beginning and then, the “BS” word and felt your faith was quite weak in testing and what you have been through in comparison to others pain. In this day and time some people see “God won’t give you more than you can handle” as a hopeless statement, however, I don’t and I don’t assume I can handle anything that comes my way without God, just the opposite, He’s the first One I go to, and it is an affirmation that God is with me, “in expectant waiting that fully engages God with the full brunt of my emotion and pain in my authentic faith.”

  • Emily

    As a fellow believer, recently having walked through personal tragedy, this statement also makes me cringe.
    There is nothing wrong with asking God the “why” questions. He is so pleased we are coming to Him. But we must have the faith to decide we will trust Him even if He never answers. He might not. Are we ok with that?
    What will heal us is resting in His love. If it’s hard to find, look at all the friends and family telling you they love you in this time. Reread the cards, facebook messages, and blog comments that are supportive. Look for the heart behind the comments, even if they may be off somehow. His love is everywhere. You are in His care, no doubt.
    Give yourself grace as you grieve and hurt. Crying doesn’t mean you don’t trust the Lord. And take time to rest and be alone with Him.
    This is what is helping me and I hope it helps. Thanks for writing this. I’m thinking about tackling this same idea on my blog. Blessings!

  • http://gravatar.com/jebrazelljr Rev. James Brazell

    Some days I am convinced Job was an optimist. You know great truth, let no one tell you otherwise.

  • Brian

    From 1994 to the summer of 2007 I was in chronic pain. Added to that was the rage I felt and expressed with my wife and children as the targets. I spent countless hours screaming and cursing at God….I didn’t curse God, I showered Him with as many expletives as I could vocalize. How dare He do this to me. I’m saved, Jesus is my Lord and Savior Unbelievers should be going through this, not me. Rejoicing was not in my vocabulary for quite a few years. I can joyfully praise God now, and I understand that He loved me enough to allow me to go through the pain and depression. Trust me though, I don’t want to go through that valley again, God willing. And yes, I did scream at a friend and fellow believer who tried to comfort me with Bible verses. We’re still friends.

  • Kayla

    I really needed to read this today. I have been struggling with anxiety and depression for months and I have felt like I was constantly drowning. I’ve had so many people just tell me that it’s all in my head or that I can overcome it with a positive attitude, or just that it’ll all be okay in the end. The times I have found the most hope are when I am broken before The Lord, telling him I can’t take it anymore. I am fully aware that I may struggle with anxiety and depression for the rest of my life, but I also know that my God is greater than anxiety, depression, and abuse. All I know is that no matter what happens, as long I live I will proclaim that there is victory over death and take comfort in knowing that to live is Christ and to die is gain.

  • Bethany Bennett

    Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU for your honesty Nate! A friend posted this on their Facebook page and I needed to hear this so much! To put mildly I have struggled pretty much all of my life with this. I’m nearly 30 years old, and in an almost 2 year recovery (learning how to walk again) from a corrective surgery that I had due to a condition that has affected my walking my entire life. I have KNOWN in that “you know that you know that you KNOW” that God was going to COMPLETELY heal me for my whole life. Even now, there is no doubt whatsoever in my mind of that truth. Doctors had told my mom when I was little that I would never walk, and by a true miracle of God I started walking on Thanksgiving day when I was 5 years old, so NO ONE can tell me that God isn’t still a miracle working God! Even with this though, even after experiencing His miracle working power so early in my life and having that assurance that He’s not finished (today I often “white knuckle it” through my days with Philippians 1:6). Still I struggle with the “I know You’re going to bring me through this God, but WHEN? How much longer can I take this? I don’t think I’m as strong as You must think I am!” Even last night, I sat literally crying out to God to Heal me. Telling Him that I KNOW He will, and that I just need it to happen soon because I don’t feel I can take much more. I’ve also struggled over the years with bouts of depression, self-hatred, self-harm, and an eating disorder. I can say that God is giving me true victory over those issues, but I do still struggle at times with feeling like at this time in my life, in my current physical circumstances I’m pretty much worthless to God and others. I have known since I was a sophomore in high school that God was calling me to ministry and he’s even given me visions of what that ministry would look like, but in the here and now it just seems so far away and impossible. On top of all of this, I’m going through these things as a single woman with no family or close friends nearby. I am a member of a small church with lots of wonderful people, but either I just don’t feel close enough to any of them to reach out to them or I feel that their lives are full enough already and I don’t want to be a “burden” to them as I have felt I have been to people my whole life. Feeling so often so alone in all of these things, I can’t say how much it means to me to hear someone else be honest about pain and not try to offer easy answers when there are none. I do pray that the Lord will be with you and your family, that you will feel His presence throughout these dark times. Sometimes all we can do is cry out I suppose…and also remember this: an AWESOME Christian counselor that I had once (the only one who was ever really able to help me through dark times) said to me one day “God’s big enough to handle your anger”. I think it’s good to remember that He’s big enough to handle all of the gamut of emotions that we feel in these times. I spent years bottling those emotions up because I didn’t feel (which was a product of my upbringing I think–to always be the “good Christian girl”) that it was right to express any negative emotion to God. I bottled up anger, fear…etc. and turned them on myself. I’m so glad that God is freeing me from that because if I still held those things in, well, honestly I don’t think I would be alive today. Again…thank you, thank you, thank you for your honesty.

  • Tiff

    Perhaps it’s less about what we can handle and more about what God can handle . . . only when we’re at that place where we’re lying prostrate in front of God saying “I can’t do this, it’s killing me” can he step in for us. We can’t. He can.

    It doesn’t make the issues & pain go away. It simply gives us the ability to lean fully on the one unchangeable thing in the universe – the Creator. Knowing he holds us through the pain and isn’t scared of our questions is one of the most comforting things during those times.

    And I don’t believe for a second that God enjoys seeing us suffer, even in order to grow closer to him. It’s just a post-sin fact of life that we do grow that way. Pain & suffering are valuable crucibles.

    Thanks for this honest post. I find it enormously encouraging and true to my own experiences.

  • Mark Pearce

    Nate,

    This was very honest and open. I am just reflecting on the thought that modern day Christians myself included , seem to equate death, disease, depression as an evidence that God has given us more than we can handle! I wonder if our culture has lost the attitude of the early Christians where physical death and suffering was not feared but welcomed. As you probably know, some of the early Christians were eager to be martyred as they somehow believed it would glorify God. I’m not saying that this should be the norm for Christians today, we should be allowed to express faith. However, I wonder if our strong reactions against death are due to the authenticity of Christianity being lost. Have we lost the Spirit of true Christianity, and so are weaker Spiritually as a result? John Wesley himself defined authentic Christianity as “fearlessness in the face of death”. These are just thoughts, and I’m not sure I agree with them, as they could seem to belittle the suffering that people go through

    As a Pastor you could perhaps create a sermon series on this subject, taking the point as truth that God does sometimes give us more than we can bare and how as Christians are we to respond to that. How can we live practically in the face of this truth? Are their any promises we can hold onto from the bible? Can we really still trust in a good God knowing that he may give us more than we can handle which can lead to hard suffering? I was also happy to see that you do still have faith and trust I God as you stated in the conclusion, could this be evidence that God has not given you more than you can handle? Anyway, I think it was important and wise to write this down as it is clearly helping you in this season of despair, thanks for your reflections and I Pray God’s peace for you and your family.

  • Patrick

    Thanks for this post Nate.

    Being in the middle of 15 months of the most difficult experiences of life, I can relate. It’s been incredibly difficult, but I have also learned a lot about God and about faith. A devotional I read on one of the tougher days (waiting for yet more test results) said this, “I cannot escape the conclusion that living with unanswered questions is part of God’s plan for His people. We are to live by faith, not by sight (II Cor. 5:7).” I though about that for awhile and I thought about the crossing of the Red Sea. If we had all the answers, we wouldn’t need faith. The Israelites faced an impassable Red Sea, they must have wondered how and why. Then God parted the Red Sea and they walked on dry ground. If we knew how, we wouldn’t need miracles.

    If we are able to handle everything that happens in life, why would we need God? Where does faith come in? In these difficult times, we learn to rely on God. I’ve had days that the only thing keeping me going is my faith in God. I’ve learned that sometimes we get more than we can handle. In those times, we have to stop trying to do it in our own strength, rest in God’s presence, and allow Him to do it. If He never gave us more than what we can handle then our faith would never grow. After all, would we really need Him if we could handle it ourselves?
    Phil. 4:13, 2 Cor. 12:9, the book of Job.

    I feel sorry for the people who live in the bumper sticker world, but I get frustrated when they judge me. Most of those people have never gone through a tough time (like Job’s friends). For them Rom. 8:28 means life is always good; for the rest of us, it means that God can and will take all of our heartache, pain, and difficulties and use them in a powerful way to reach others. Nate, think about the impact of what you wrote. It has blessed so many of us that are struggling. Only God can do that.

    Prayers and blessings my friend.

  • Shirley

    So sorry for your loss.

    At the same time walking away extremely grateful that I do not hold your view of what the definition of good is and your view of God’s character. Would be extremely hard to truly trust a God like that.

  • Robert

    You are correct Shirley. Nate seems to have little understanding about the “testing of your faith” that is very biblical. I don’t think that he appreciates the value and veracity of the Word of God either. Sadly, too much of Christianity is soiled with this lack of “rightly dividing the word of truth.”

  • Robert

    Good response, Mark. Pauls preaching on Sonship edification is all about how we are to grow and live in this present evil age. I Cor. 10:13 is there to be believed by faith. I can understand a believers emotions and all the conflict involved, but this mans language and ignorance is an embarrassment.

    • Nate Pyle

      Robert, I am curious as to what you think I am missing. I very clearly stated that I am hoping in God to redeem and restore this suffering and situation. I very clearly stated that when I am weak, God’s strength is seen. My problem with the statement, “God won’t give you more than you can handle” is that emphasis is on ME. It isn’t about what I can handle, but it is about what Christ can handle. If I can handle it, then I do not need Jesus, I only need my good discipline and strength. That is not enough.

      How is this wrong?

  • Robert

    Hmm. The apostle Paul said the same thing.

    • Nate Pyle

      Exactly. So, I don’t mean to be argumentative, but how is pointing to the words of Paul “undervaluing the Word of God” and being “ignorant”?

  • Robert

    “Christ in you, the hope of glory.” Because of our free will we can only grow in the faith when we are challenged in the same. God wants nothing more from us than a willing heart tested in the furnace of faith. He, Christ, will do the rest to the glory of God the Father. Amen?

    • Nate Pyle

      I agree that Christ in me (you) is the hope of glory.

  • Robert

    I Cor. 10:13 is biblical… it says what it means and it means what it says. It is not BS.

  • Robert

    I’m sorry, but some of my postings are replies to different posts and I’m afraid that my response of: “Hmm. The apostle Paul said the same thing,” was not for what you had said.

  • Robert

    Mr. Spooner, you are correct. Attacking the message of the Word is what is going on here though. I Cor. 10: 13 is BS? Platitudinal replies about what a great guy he is is what is going on here. Touch me, feel me, heal me, Kumbiya.

    • Kelly

      For what it’s worth, Robert, nowhere in here do I find that Nate is referring to the passage as BS, but rather the twisted way in which it is restated into the phrase “God won’t give you more than you can handle.”
      I dislike that phrase because I think that free will is one of the greatest gifts we have, and I feel that the concept of free will is not congruent with the concept that God has a hand in creating or changing our circumstances. However, I believe in the core of my being that the strength of God is within each of us, we only need to reach for it (pray for it, ask for it, have faith in it). Interestingly, that is what the actual passage seems to suggest, which was very refreshing to read, so thank you for sharing, Nate. This whole thing reminds me of something I’ve recently put into words:
      Once you find yourself praying for an outcome, you have lost sight of the journey and faith in your ability to make it through. Praying for the strength to push forward will bring more blessings than any pre-imagined outcome you may have conceived.

      • http://www.facebook.com/sheridanvoysey Sheridan Voysey

        A careful reading of the post reveals just that: the correction of an unbiblical idea followed by a biblical response to suffering. I do wish people would read such posts again before getting hung up on one swear word and missing the entire point of the article.

        Well done Nate. Already your pain is producing fruit. Thank you.

  • Cari Roach

    I lost my husband to cancer over a year ago. This phrase spoken often never did reasonate with my spirit. The platitudes from many have been brutally painful. Since the One that really matters already knows the good, bad and ugly about me, I have always been very expressive, open and honest about myself with people. I have openly asked why and have said I have been upset with God at times because I knew he could have healed my husband and could take some of the suffering away but has chosen not too at this point. People seem astonished and have implied this is irreverent. But I know my God is big and can handle it. He already knew before I spoke it. So I am so grateful for this article. It has given me some peace and even encouragement.

  • http://www.facebook.com/tony.redfern.3 Tony Redfern

    Thanks Pastor Pyle, we were just having a fb discussion on this very subject. Here’s my post: “Sorry folks. If it were true that God gives us only what we can handle because God thinks we are strong, as a bereaved father, I’d rather be weak and have my son with me today. This type of theology causes people to not ask for help. Can you imagine saying to a rape victim, ‘Oh, God must think that you are so strong’ – really?”

    God is awesome!

  • http://free2b2much.blogspot.com freebie

    May i please offer this…
    I wrote it from my heart having both endured and witnessed unbearable pain.
    http://free2b2much.blogspot.com/2011/10/when-trust-is-not-enough-to-make-things.html?m=0

  • jw

    Great thoughts Nate! This platitude (God won’t give you more than you can handle) has bothered me also. First of all, people who use this platitude assume that God is the one giving or dishing out their troubles or suffering. Most people believe God exists but very few people believe that Satan exists or has any influence. So when something bad happens, God gets the blame. We are also affected by a world full of sin. The consequences of sin affects many people including the innocent.

    1Cor 10:13 states that God only “allows” you to be tempted/tested. Also consider James 1:13 where it says that God does not tempt anyone. Who is listed in scriptures as the Tempter? The Devil (see Matt 4:3)

    I love that 2nd scripture that you shared in 2Cor 1:8-9 that our struggles give us the opportunity to trust in God more fully, rather than trusting in ourselves. If I am always strong enough to handle every situation, then I don’t need to trust in God.

    Nate – Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  • http://gravatar.com/ladydi62 ladydi62

    I’m not sure anyone will want to read this and I surely don’t want to cause any offense but it’s the being unsure that brings me to this place. I want to believe in the Lord and I want to feel the way that I see believers feeling -and yes you can see it – an inner light. I don’t know how you get faith and I’m not sure I know how it feels but I do know that my suffering – the slow painful witnessing of my father’s cancerous death, the loss of my darling grandson 5 days shy of his 6th month and 4 days before his first Father’s Day with my son, the smell of my grandmother’s almost lifeless body when I saw her after a devastating fire – these things strapped me firmly to my own cross made of thorns that pricked and poked me endlessly in my waking hours and tortured me in my sleeping ones. I prayed to be released and for whatever years I had left to be given to another more desperate than I for a few more days of life and then it happened. I literally woke up one morning and realized the purpose. It was simple as all good answers are and not a difficult task for me to perform. It was to take that pain, that sorrow and that heartache and use it to help others. Once I accepted that, angels came in to my life in the form of new friends whom I felt I had always known . I can’t tell you how rich and full my life is each and every time I get the chance to hold a hand or wipe a tear and if the Lord does indeed exist and if he will welcome a doubter into his kingdom then I pray that I will have done enough for me to hear the words I yearn to hear. “Welcome home my child, you served me and your fellow man well.”
    I don’t know if this will help you, I’m not the best writer but I felt compelled to reach out and share my story.
    Sending angels your way.

  • Pingback: Hoping after Recognition - From One Degree to Another

  • Allison

    Nate, I NEVER comment on blog posts but felt compelled to tell you how this post touched me at my core. Less than two years ago my family’s world fell apart when my father was diagnosed at 56 with stage 4 pancreatic cancer, five months after his diagnosis, my 19 yo sister was killed instantly in a car accident alongside a close friend (who also passed), and three months after that, my dad passed away after many months of painful suffering. Our world has been rocked and changed forever. Many times people would say, “you know, God never gives us more than we can handle.” It took a lot of self control for me to not unleash a storm of anger on these well-meaning, yet ignorant people. In fact, before all of this, I was one of those people. I don’t have any big points to make, or theological arguments for what you’ve said. I think you hit the nail on the head. I do live with a more heavenly mindset. I live in the moment a lot more. But those things do not take away the sorrow or the sadness we experience on a daily basis. Thankfully we have hope in God and the promise that we will be reunited in a perfect place one day. I do not know how we could have lived through this without his grace and mercy. When you are in the thick of it, theological arguments, high handed spirituality and “perfect” Christians are not helpful. It is the warriors: the people who pray when you cannot, the meal makers, the caregivers, those in the trenches who ask for nothing in return, ones who let you scream “Bull shit” without judgment, the pastor who told me that it was okay to be angry, to cry out to God, the other pastor who told my parents he didn’t know why all of this was happening, admitting he didn’t have all of the answers. The people who help bridge the gap between what we are capable of and what God supplies for us. They are his hands and feet.

    Anyway, thank you for your incredible words. You and your family will be in my prayers.

  • Katt

    I usually dont post on blogs but I do want to say something and please keep in mind if you respond this is just my opinion, and my own thoughts, sharing here. I am someone who is very angry at God…but I still love God. I am angry at the abuse I have seen in the many churches I have attended, joined, visited, in the many years growing up, including my own church where my grandfather was pastor. I have read almost every response to your post and I keep seeing the same agreement that God will never give us more than we can handle. I am disagreeing, agreeably…To say its biblical is wrong, yes, but to still think this statement is wrong, I think, is also biblical. Doesnt Psalm speak of “God knew us when we were in the womb being formed by His own hand…” (This is not verbatim so for the few of you that like to be apologetically and theologically specific, and there were a few of you on here who were also needing correction in your context of scripture, dont get alarmed. I am not rewriting the bible here). God knows how many hairs we have on our heads, where we will go and where we came from. God KNOWS each and every one of us in the most intimate ways that we cannot humanly fathom. I am pretty sure that God knew exactly what trials, tribulations, despairs, and heart breaking pains we would go through since before we were born. God knows our minds, our thoughts, our soul, our inner workings of everything biological….because He knitted US with HIS very hands and with HIS very creative self making each of us unique. God doesnt give us more than we can handle because HE KNEW, and still KNOWS everything we go through, and will go through to our dying day….HE KNOWS how we are going to handle it, what we are going to do about it, what the outcome is going to be. You dont think God didnt know about the million young women that are sexually assaulted every year? Or the 800,000 young girls that are trafficked in NYC alone? Or the many babies that will die at the hands of their parents, physical ailments, or other natural, or unnatural causes? Or any of the other terrors in this world making us humans realize how HUMAN and vulnerable we are? This goes back to God being there…people turn away from God; God doesnt turn away from people. God KNOWS exactly what we will go through…And God knows what we can handle…and what we cannot handle…and what HE needs to do in order to get us to our knees seeking HIM with all our heart….because we cant handle this big, bad, horrible, sin seeking world without HIM. Thats what he knows he cant handle….Trials and tribulations with God on our side, holding us up, walking hand in hand with HIM….that we can handle…Because HE knows that Satan will use up every stronghold against us to knock us down…This goes back to another thought of mine. Because God knows what everyone will go through then why are there suicides? And I am not just throwing words out here…I have great experience with suicide…from my own thinking about it to others that I have known that have done it. No one knows what happens when someone commits suicide. They dont commit suicide because God gave them something they couldnt handle…They dont commit suicide because God isnt watching out for them. God knows exactly where they are and I feel very strongly that God meets them exactly where they are at in life….in the deepest pits of hell of their soul…Satan is a manipulator and a liar and knows our weaknesses. One of these weaknesses is that we are human. Satan wants to devour as many souls as he can possibly eat and he will twist anything to make sure he gets one even if that means being the one responsible for someone committing suicide. Does this mean God GAVE THEM something they couldnt handle? Or is it because they turned away from God? Is it because they lost hope or faith in God? Is it because they only saw one way out and it was by death? (I am going to say all mentioned and then some.) This all goes back to the Garden of Eden. Sin came into the world…with it came disease, destruction, illness, hatred, war, vileness, horrors, deaths, murders, rapes, suicides, abortions, and all things NOT Godly.
    But my questions are:
    Why would God create something He knew would go through hell on earth? Why go through all the trouble of making humans if He KNEW what we would all experience….knowing that some of His created would end up in Hell? Why go through all this trouble knowing your only Son would have to sacrifice himself to save the created? If it wasn’t for God creating humans in the first place…we wouldn’t be going through all this turmoil…How can it be wrong to say that “God will never give us what we cant handle” when HE knew exactly what we were going to go through? He did give us life…..and with this life He gave us trials and tribulations…after all He is the one that created Satan….knowing full well how the beginning, middle, and the ending, was going to turn out. This is what I dont understand….and maybe someone, or you Pastor Nate, can help me with. I don’t want to bash anyone or cause a stir in the cosmos…but I do have the wonderful gift of inquisitiveness and curiosity given to me by God =) And I do question everything!

  • http://www.facebook.com/tony.redfern.3 Tony Redfern

    God will never give you more platitudes than you can bear.

  • Cecil

    Nate, your honesty and theological reflection is refreshing. I share your burden of asking the question “why”? In the past year my family has suffered, not like yours exactly, but suffered nevertheless. I have had many “truly religious” Christians offer me those same words and were just as meaningless to me as they are to you. However you are wiser than I, you researched, while I fell into the great abyss. There I have been for months, waiting, waiting, waiting. Then your message comes to me and all I have been taught and learned in all my years(which have been many) came to me just as clearly as God spoke the words. Ministry wise, I am a Spiritual Director, sounds like I need one and I do have one, but it was not until your essay the phrase I pose so often to my directees came to me, for me for sure and maybe for you. The question is, ” where do you see God in all of this?” The sun will rise tomorrow and I will be seeking an answer for me to that question. Also, please know you and your family are in my prayers. We are united in our prayers.

  • Jack

    You are right Nate. I like to think of it this way, would you ask or expect your young child to lift a car???? S/He can… but not without power backing them up. All it takes is for the child to push the button on the hydrolic lift for them to release the power which lifts the car. All we have to do is look to the cross and we release God’s power to handle whatever we are facing.

    It is NOT about my strength. It is about my willingness to surrender to God and let HIS power handle the issue.

  • Meghan

    This article is articulate and true. I moved away from home to go to school when I was nearly 18, and within two months became a victim of rape. I struggled with ‘how is THIS God’s plan for me?’ ‘Why would GOD let this happen? Did I somehow deserve this?’. I lost my faith in God until I came to understand that God does not sit on a cloud dishing out problems and blessings on a whim. I believe that God made this world, but is not the one that orders the rapists, the sickness, and all the hurt upon us. To me, God is an old friend, a listening ear, a safe place… not one conspiring our misery. The world is evil, but God is good. Living in this world WILL always be more than we can handle… but I can do all things through him who gives me strength.

  • sandra h

    No matter what I must go through and although it shall be draining, I will trust that God will pull me through it all as I know my suffering does not compare to that of Him, his day on the cross…Some pain is brought on by the consequences of our poor choices while other sufferings have no valid reasons, but through our struggles, at times we develop a better character…maybe even to be more compassionate towards the others who desperately need our understanding and help to overcome it

  • John D

    I feel for your situation and truly hope that things improve. I have encountered just a small fraction of some of the humanity and brokenness of similar situations myself–having to deal with a illness/death in the family, multiple business and personal failures concurrently has given me glimpses of the kind of terrible storms of life that can arise very suddenly. However, I simply do not agree with the sentiment of your post. IMO that when it is said “God doesn’t give you anything you can’t handle” it is truly meant that “God doesn’t give you anything you can’t handle *with God*”. Quite frankly, this MUST be the case. There always has to be hope in God. Yes, life can feel incredibly unbearable at times. However, it’s is never so much that WITH God, an ungodly course of action is the best option. And yes, it’s ok to have “heated” prayer with Him where many questions are asked..,in fact it is healthy. The implication that “God does give you things you can’t handle with Him” walks dangerously close to the “curse God and die” sentiment of Job’s friends. Anyhow, that’s my 2 cents…

    • Nate Pyle

      Actually, John, you do agree with the sentiment of my post. The fact you have to add something to the statement shows the statement is incomplete at best, or a flat lie. The asterisk is the difference between truth and a lie.

  • Deborah Gehret

    A friend shared this on Facebook, to my knowledge I’ve never heard anyone put words to what the Lord has been whispering to my heart, thank you brother.
    Peace,
    Deborah G.

  • Sonja

    Trust, faith …. I don’t know if I have enough of either. I am trying to get to that place within me. I am afraid to hand that much of myself and my bruised heart to anyone, even God. It always astounds me how others can accomplish this tasks with such grace and faith. Truthfully, it also makes me jealous and a bit envious – not of the suffering- the ability to manage through it. As a person brought up in a home of few teachings I need to become more educated.
    I am truly sorry for the hardships of your family. I also am glad that you have the faith and grace to manage. My humble prayers for you. Thanks for the article I think it helped.

  • Pingback: ON DEATH | Michèle Phoenix

  • Vicki

    Well put and clarity of expression is acceptable (‘bullshit’ is clearer than ‘perjorative rhetoric’). People are amazed at how ‘strong’ I am with what we’ve been through. Funny, but I thought I was being carried. I also believe God is Good, and Love. Evil comes from the other guy who spends all his time accusing the saints and finding footholds to bring these things upon us. God is neither impotent or frivolous, but a God of justice who minimises the rights of the enemy upon us. We are ultimately saved, but we are not yet out of the court system. Our God is a good God, who turns an evil plan into something meaningful. Just look at the cross. I think this is what scripture means when we take up our cross daily. It means we will bear the evil of Satan, but that God will use this for his glory and our sanctification. The deepening awareness of God’s love in my daily life is the silver lining.

  • Pete

    Of course, it may be that it isn’t God giving you more than you can bear. There is someone else in the game after all and he doesn’t care how much you can handle.

  • Evan

    Thank you Nate! Thank you for being entirely honest about life, ministry and God’s promises. From another who has walked through the extraordinary pain that life brings I’m grateful for you putting this in such eloquent words. God bless, Ev

  • Pingback: Welcoming Doubts and Questions - A blog about learning to be a disciple of Jesus.

  • http://lesfergusonjr.com Les Ferguson, Jr.

    Yeah. I get this. I have so many questions of God. If you googled my name you would probably get more details than most can handle. Short and sweet, I was a full time pastor on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. A church member was found to have raped my handicapped son–multiple times. After being arrested, he came back several months later and murdered my wife and son. We have been through hell. And I will never understand why God did not spare us this agony and pain

    • Nate Pyle

      Thank you for sharing your experience so honestly, Les. Very few people know what you have gone through. I hope people have sat with you and mourned and grieved with you.

  • http://janetspaintedlife.blogspot.com janet anderson

    just blogged about this myself! the gift of a God who encourages us to ask why. thank you for your vulnerability, and for calling the lie what it is.

  • Scot

    God doesn’t send us more than we can bear because God doesn’t send trials or temptations (James 1:13.) This is a fallen world where terrible painful unfairness happens everyday. Sometimes, too much. When we see it in others, we pray. We when experience it, we hope. When we’ve had too much, I don’t know. The only answer I have to why does God allow us to experience it? I know it’s not to test us. The Lord of Lords already knows how we’ll come through. I can only assume He wants US to see how we’ll come through; by leaning on Him, His Word, and one another.

  • Doph

    There are a number of comments here saying basically “horrible things have happened to me because god knew what it would take to make me get on my knees to him”. I’d just like anyone reading to consider gow warped this would be – those closest to you used and abused as a pawn in your personal salvation story. It’s monstrous and it’s insane

    • http://lesfergusonjr.com Les Ferguson, Jr.

      Thank you, Doph!!! I could scream every time someone takes the rape of my son and the subsequent murder of he and my wife–the destruction of my ministry–the ripping apart of the foundation of our lives–as a teaching/ reaching moment. What does that say about them?
      God deliver me from a god like that!

  • http://sherriadelman.blogspot.com/ Sherri – http://sherriadelman.blogspot.com

    AMEN!!! SOOOOO many well intentioned people have said this to me – I totally agree with your post and thank you for saying it so well!

  • tricia

    How about this. God actually doesn’t give me more than I can bear because what I’m going through was not given me by God. God didn’t cause my house to be flooded in hurricane sandy, God did not cause me to have depression and anxiety but is healing me of it. God did not cause human trafficking or the holocaust or war, those are a result of evil decisions. Death is a result of a sinful world. God does not give me more than I can bear because that suffering that I’m going through is not from Him but in the midst of it he’s there carrying me through it when I can’t carry myself. Am I making sense?

    Most important Thank you for putting your thoughts into words. It apparently resonated with many.

  • http://gravatar.com/jamiemacd jamie

    Seems like you are really a blessed person…

    God regularly allows us to have more the WE can handle so we will stop thinking we are God. Instead we will see the sin and suffering in the world and respond just like Jesus did.

  • MelAnn

    If we aren’t given anything beyond what we can bear, how do we depend on God? There’s not room or reason for God! My practice specializes in clients who deal with this – life hitting them with one thing upon another thing upon another thing! Faith is a huge part of it. It knocks you down. Brings you to your needs and then… you get back up again… You find God in the story and you celebrate it… You go again. Love this post – first time to find your blog – I added you to my Feedly.

  • Stacey

    I wholeheartedly agree with this. I’ve only recently come out of a four year battle with depression, and these are the kinds of questions I had to deal with. Also, I would add that those trite little “Happy-Jesus-isms” (my own term for them) are actually more harmful than helpful.

    Within the span of 2 months, I lost my father, my grandfather, and one of my close friends (to an aneurysm, heart attack, and suicide, respectively). I was also trying to balance college at the same time, and there were times I would go to bed and genuinely pray that I wouldn’t have to wake up and face another day.

    I was lucky to have a solid group of close friends that didn’t spout off those “bumper sticker” warm-fuzzies. Whenever someone started saying things like “well, Jesus loves you, so you should just be happy” it really said to me that somehow if my relationship with Jesus wasn’t all butterflies and rainbows and flowers that I was doing something wrong. They may not have meant it, but it made me feel as though they didn’t care enough to actually try to help.

    I actually got a lot more comfort and help from my friends that would just listen to me pour out my heart on the floor even though they had no answers.

  • http://www.facebook.com/darenandkristi Daren Mitchell

    you nailed it. thanks for the frank discussion. when our youngest son was diagnosed with cancer last spring we adopted Joshua 1:9. “Be strong and courageous and do not be afraid, for the Lord is with you always.” We weren’t ready to release our son to die, but we prepared for that event, he didn’t die, thank God. we continue to praise God for the hope of our Salvation and the power He can reveal through our son, our family and our witness. every day is a gift and a challenge.

  • Lorna

    I found the book ”12 ‘Christian’ Beliefs That Can Drive You Crazy” by Cloud &Townsend very helpful. They expose 11 other similar misquotes of scripture.

  • http://www.curemywife.com Jim

    As a man who has to watch his wife suffer from chronic pain and sickness for over 16 years, this poignant and direct article hit a home run for me. Her health has affected our daily lives drastically (from many surgeries, near death, etc…) and, almost every day, I question God’s ‘availability’ to our plight. It’s very hard to watch ones bride on painkillers everyday, suffering through numerous chronic pain issues and still retain some sort of semblance of a faith that includes the thought that our God is a caring and benevolent God. How do you relay to your children that, even though their Mom is suffering so greatly, God loves them and her? I appreciate your blunt approach and have forwarded this short message, which I believe to one of the best I’ve read on the topic, to a great number of people. Many blessings to you.

  • http://compassionatelove.wordpress.com Nancy Virden

    Nate, your posting here inspired my blog, The Lie of Joy. Thank you for sparking such a great discussion.

  • http://www.thecrucibleproject.org Ron

    Nate, thank you for your boldness and authenticity. True transformation (and enlightenment) occurs when God’s grace meets our undefended vulnerabilities. I’ve experienced this on a weekend for men where I was safely able to “engage God with the full brunt of my emotion and pain” and it gave me more power than I’ve ever had to deal with things in this life. I encourage you and any other man to “bring it” to an upcoming weekend. http://www.thecrucibleproject.org

  • Christopher Pine

    Thank you! Your words could not be more accurate! I lost my father in November last year and even though we were not all that close it is a loss that hurts very much. about 2 months ago we found out my brother has stage 4 lung cancer and is going to die. On Easter I got a phone call about my other brother and he had a heart attack and was on his way to the hospital. He is recovering now and looks like he will be ok, problem is he did not have insurance so now faces a very large bill. all of this happening so close together and so fast is enough to make ones head spin. I know I can’t bear it! I knew that way before all of these things compounded together. I rely on Christ and teh loved ones he has given me to help me bear it. Your words are truth! God bless!
    Chris

  • David Powell

    From a Biblical standpoint no one suffered more than Job and yet Job remained faithful to God. More times than not we have no understanding of why bad things happen to us and yet only through our hope and belief in our Lord Jesus Christ can we hope to endure such tragedies. God is love and it is not in His realm to hurt us or to punish us. I do believe that through all tragedies comes blessings and though we may not know what those blessings are or when they will come they happen nonetheless. We want to make sense of all tragedies because to do so would help us to endure them but that is precisely why so often we cannot make sense of them so that only through our faith and reliance in God may we endure them.

  • Pingback: flolum » true or false… “God won’t let you go through anything you cannot handle”

  • John Truida

    Have you ever read the story of Job? Try having your ENTIRE lineage ripped from you, and then the only survivor in your family, your wife, tell you to curse God, just as you are doing now. I understand that you are having a rough week, but realize that this is God’s way of growing you to depend more on Him.

    • http://lesfergusonjr.com Les Ferguson, Jr.

      John, those are easy words to say. But being a modern day Job–and a preacher to boot–and having a wife and son murdered by a church member–losing everything–I deny that this is God’s way of growing me to depend on him more. That is simply obscene when you think about the ramifications.

      • http://dianatrautwein.com Diana Trautwein

        Amen, Les. John, please do not lay the sorrows of this world on God as cause. Job does not teach that AT ALL. Yes, there is allowance – but goodness gracious sakes, God can teach us through any circumstance. God doesn’t have to ’cause’ horrific things to happen for us to learn. God can most definitely redeem horror – but not always enough to balance any kind of ledger for an individual person. WE are quite capable, we human beings, of choosing to do horrific things. The reality of free will, which is a gift of love from a God of love, is that we can and do choose evil. And then, of course, there is the brokenness in us, that stuff that needs healing as well as forgiving. And surely God is at work in all of it – but to offer a trite phrase like “this is God’s way of growing” us to depend on him more? As Les said – that is an obscene way to think, Just wrong.

      • http://www.facebook.com/kaia.strand Kaia Loe Strand

        Les, A friend just posted a link to this article and I can’t help but see the connection between a post I read yesterday… It looks like it could speak to where you are too.
        http://reknew.org/2012/12/precious-henry/
        Peace to you.

  • http://gravatar.com/majorhillman Major Hillman

    I don’t know why you felt the need to swear to get your point across. It gave the good, thought provoking article a distaste.

    • http://NancyVirden.com Nancy Virden

      Dear Major Hillman,

      Do you think you are legalistic? Self-righteous maybe? If not, perhaps you could explain to me why, after reading a post like Nate Pyle’s in which he describes the excruciating pain he is in and some of the devastating decisions he has to make, you could pinpoint one word and make it the most important aspect of his writing. Could you explain to me why a cry of pain accentuated with a cuss-word is less deserving of validation and kindness than one which does not include a cuss-word?

      I am confused, Major Hillman, as to why your response is less manure-esque than the lie that God will not give us more than we can handle?

      Just asking.

      • http://sherriadelman.blogspot.com/ Sherri

        Amen Nancy! Well said.

  • http://www.darianburns.com Darian Burns

    Nate, This is so powerful and well written. It also needs to be heard. Would it be possible to repost it on my blog as is, with attribution to you and your picture? I would be honored to have my readers here this message.

  • http://www.TexasDogPhotography.com Emily~ DreamEyce

    I admit I am not religious (I’m spiritual/agnostic), but when this article was posted by a Facebook friend, right after I posted a sentiment about surviving deep depression so horrible last year I wanted nothing more than to quit, and being grateful I pushed through, this was ever so fitting. One of those “Ah ha!” moments where you just know something was set in front of you for a reason.

    I had people try and use “You’re never given more than you can handle” to try and smooth over the awfulness I was going through as horrible situations beat down and tore my life apart, but it’s simply not true. Sometimes you are given more than you can handle. But the choice is how you handle when you are overburdened, and how you allow it to shape your outlook, insight, and future is what matters.

    Yes, sometimes life hands us more than we can carry. Emotions and pain overflows, and we can fight to let the overflow build us up, or wipe us out. I’m thankful I focused on building up. Though looking back, I am honestly still not sure how I made it out alive. I know simply, through divine intervention.

    • Dan Wray

      The central idea of the blog post Confronting The Lie is agonizingly and profoundly unbiblical. Scripture never promises the N.T. saint won’t experience suffering, sorrow, sickness, even death. What He has promised is overwhelming peace and joy to those who learn to rest in Him, precisely as outlined in Scripture. So, while the premise confronted by the blog post is admittedly awkwardly worded, it isn’t incorrect simply because one’s experiences may seem to indicate otherwise, it is rather a failure to understand the believer’s position in Christ, at the Right Hand, a position of privilege and rest. Yeah, having learned to resting in Him. Granted, it’s rare, but it’s very real (Eph 1:2-9).

  • Will

    I hope that all of you find in Christ a comfort and truth equal to your pain.

    The last few years of my life have been devastating, a hostile desert that i was warned was coming. I will spare the details of my afflictions so that i can mention the afflictions of our God. I have come to see His pain in the midst of mine. I have had my eyes opened to His heartbreak; rejection, betrayal, hatred, abuse, mockery, slander, and the greatest measure of unrequited love ever endured. Endured even now. He suffered, and He suffers, more than any of us ever will. When i put myself and my suffering in the center of the universe, my ‘whys’ become unanswerable. When i think God is partying in heaven while I am in misery, my ‘whys’ become unanswerable. But if He suffers still, and i desire only peace and tranquility, then i love comfort more than union. If i want union more than comfort, my ‘whys’ have a resting place, and a response.

    For the Christ follower, there must at some point be a willingness to ask questions beyond ‘why me?’ if we go on to the wilderness with Him, we must ask, ‘why You?’ Why do you suffer so, even now?’ Someday we will be free from anguish….together. This is our only chance to know His suffering and by it, His deep love. Dont leave Him alone with suffering by demanding relief. Then we are partying, and He is in pain…

    As you read this, please  remember that i speak from a dark place that is only getting worse…not an ivory tower.

    For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too.
     (2 Corinthians 1:5 ESV)

    Love and prayers to all. 

  • BJones

    THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    I have been saying this for years! But when I say it, most people look at me like I’m from Mars. I have certainly had more than I could handle. If I could handle it, why would I need God?

  • http://www.judahandselah.com shonda clements

    after spending the last year in ICUs watching my micro-preemie twins fight for their lives at various degrees I am beginning to be worn down. I had thought because I was asking those questions that I must be also losing faith. Thank you for allowing me the “right” to these feelings and validating them in a way that I can courageously ask God “Okay, I know you haven’t stepped in – but why? What do you have planned for these two?”.. now, Ill wait expectantly for a new answer instead of just feeling bitter. bookmarking this, I’ll need to reread it a lot in the future.

    • http://www.facebook.com/kaia.strand Kaia Loe Strand

      Shonda, A friend just posted a link to this article and I can’t help but see the connection between a post I read yesterday… It looks like it could speak to where you are too.
      http://reknew.org/2012/12/precious-henry/
      Peace to you.

  • Darsy S.

    I am a pediatric registered nurse in an ICU type setting. I see patients in my hospital, and horrible things happen to them either by accident, illness, or something they were born with. I don’t understand how people can tell those families that God is in control, God won’t give them things they can’t handle, and this is part of God’s plan. I think that those things at that time of crisis are inappropriate and belittle the pain the family is going through. It takes a lot of time and many stages of grief and many conversations with God to get to a point where the family can even begin to process God’s role in that crisis and in their road to recovery. I find it much more helpful to be honest, say “I’m sorry this is happening to your family” and “Your family is in my thoughts (or prayers if they are religious)”, and “We don’t know what the future is for your child, let’s just take it day by day for now.”

  • Pingback: no regrets, no problems? | laurenwlutz

  • peter lindner

    It happened to Job and it happened to me. I had a big basket of cards with kind messages from people attempting to console me. Just as Saul tried to put his armor on David; those cards weren’t going to be the answer for me. I had lost my only son. But I didn’t curse God. Instead, I realized that God was my only answer. I knew that I needed to find out the exact nature of God’s will. I knew it was hidden in the depths of His Word. I had to throw out everything that had been pastor-ized. I knew that God could reach me and that I didn’t need anyone else’s spiritual bowel to process the word for me. God finally had me exactly where he wanted me. He has been revealing deep truths ever since. The news is good and the church world is in for a shake up. Benjamins blessing was that of a ravenous wolf.

  • Pingback: Random religious musings. | 365 days of thankful

  • Ann

    I disagree with certain parts of this article, it’s not really fair to blame God for every horrible thing that happens. Especially since most of what people attribute to God is actually not even His will or His doing at all. I’m not sure if the Lord really gives us more than we can handle, but the enemy does. People want to blame everything that goes wrong on the Lord, but the reality is that He has given humans free will and the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one (1 John 5:19). God is not cruel or abusive, He came to give us life abundantly. He died so we could be forgiven, saved, and delivered out of the oppression of the enemy.

    Does the Lord bring suffering into our lives on occasion? Absolutely, and I believe He uses it for our glory and for the ultimate goal of making us more like Christ. The Bible tells us to rejoice in our tribulations and sufferings.

    Is every difficult, pain situation from the Lord? Absolutely not, although the Bible also says that the Lord works all things together for the good of those who love Him. I believe the Lord can take our pain and brokenness and make it something truly beautiful, even if it wasn’t necessarily His will or desire for those things to happen in the first place.

    I tend to agree with the end conclusion of this article, but I feel the author really needs to reconsider if it’s truly fair to attribute all these horrible things to the Lord. Doing so tends to lead to anger and a distorted view of the goodness of God.

    • J

      I so agree with you, he seems very angry with God. The bible does not say we will never have trials and tribulations. Shadrach, Meshack, and a Billy Goat Meshach, and Abednego were bound and cast into the flames. The fiery blast was so hot it killed the soldiers who had escorted them. Meshach, and Abednego were bound and cast into the flames. The fiery blast was so hot it killed the soldiers who had escorted them. They emerged unharmed, with not even a hair on their heads singed or the smell of smoke on their clothing. We as christians say we love God and say how loyal we are but only he knows who are the faithful ones thick and thin. The enemy attacks extra hard toward those of us in ministry. If people that look up to those in ministry and we are not strong then how can we lead others to walk with Christ. We have to walk what we talk, many more blessings to come. God knows how we feel but speak it to the atmosphere. We must clear our hearts so he can speak into it.

  • Ann

    Just to clarify my previous comment – my main issue with this article is there is absolutely no mention of the enemy of our souls, who comes to kill, steal and destroy. I’m not really sure how you can have a discussion about suffering and God without mentioning satan. How about blaming the evil one for our suffering instead of constantly asking why God allows these things? Perhaps God is just as angry about it as we are (maybe even more so). We really need to understand God’s heart of love and compassion, and it needs to be accurately taught, especially in a time where suffering is so prevalent and so many are looking for answers.

  • Ann

    One further thing, Id like to mention a verse that has been particularly comforting to me during my own suffering. “For men are not cast off by the Lord forever. Though he brings grief, he will show compassion, so great is his unfailing love. For he does not willingly bring affliction or grief to the children of men” (Lamentations 3:31).

    I believe this verse shows the true heart of God – that He does not willingly bring suffering. Even if God somehow allows it or even preordained it in His sovereign plan (which no one can fully understand), it is not something He desires to do. Our hearts need to fully understand and believe this truth.

  • Yvette

    Thanks for this post. In my toughest times (including my father being murdered and more that I dont want to share online), I have found that when I see my suffering very individualistically, it gets very confusing…but when I think that the greatest possible suffering would be to be separated from God and that for any and all of us to experience knowing God that there had to be free will and the prescence of choice and hence the consequences of sin…I began to hold onto the fact that the wildly spinning out consequences of sin that seem to have hit close to my home can be understood n a more global way….I suffer so that someone/all of us can be protected from the greatest suffering – this gives me some perspective and meaning in the bizarre seemingly random and unbalanced distribution of suffering on the planet. I have no idea whether that perspective can be somewhat comforting. I know for me the greatest comfort was holding onto the things that never change.

  • http://www.facebook.com/daniel.m.a.stowers Daniel Mikaele Atonio Stowers

    I saw a link to this in a friend’s facebook post. I’ve been struggling with (what seem like permanent) results of a brain tumor operation and recently my father died. I find that for Christians there seem to be only the two options of 1) you’re rejoicing in Him and grinning and bouncing about, or 2) you’re in deep spiritual depression and need to get your focus right. I am neither, and have found it hard to find anyone that can understand that I am neither. I found this extremely useful.

  • Jo

    Someone real about their faith at last!

  • http://twitter.com/RonEdmondson Ron Edmondson (@RonEdmondson)
  • http://gravatar.com/kalemanzi Paul van Jaarsveld

    Dear Nate
    I believe I have some answers for you. I see you got lots of comments on this one, but I scanned over them and I did not pick somebody up with the same angle. I believe this is the truth in the situation.

    One thing that is a HUGE lie is that it is God that gives us these things. We live in a fallen world and it is NOT Him that dishes out hardships, sickness and disease. Our minds have been poisoned by teachings on predestination and a warped father image modelled by our earthly fathers. The Bible says that Jesus came that we have life and life in abundance. If there is stealing, killing and destroying going on, then you know where that comes from. It’s not God’s character to do that. We have been taught for many years that all these bad things are part of his perfect plan, and this is also the reason why many normal, intelligent and honest people are not interested to be Christians at all. For years I also had this belief system, and I dared not question it, because it was un-spiritual and it was somehow more mature to know God is inflicting me with all this pain but still to follow and love Him. This causes us not to trust Him fully and we step right into the trap satan wants us to step into. We point the finger to God and ask the questions you mentioned. What utter nonsense that is. satan is the legal ruler of the earth because Adam and Eve gave their authority away. If God was fully in control, then we would not see what we see on earth at the moment. Why would he have to send Jesus. He is a just God, and has to abide by the rules He set out. Contrary to popular belief, He can’t just do what He wants, because He is bound by his character and who He is. It is the responsibility of the son’s of God to arise and to take back the authority through what Jesus did on the cross so that the entire earth will be once again under Godly ruler-ship.

    May you have the strength, courage and wisdom to endure and may God reveal his true father heart to you!

  • Manny

    Hi Nate,
    I came here via a fb link. Sir I feel for you and your family and I pray God’s plans be fulfilled in your life and that you’ll witness first-hand the love of God in a mighty way.
    It definitely takes courage to question God and it takes meekness to hear from Him. I believe God wants to manifest His love in your life (and Lynn’s) in a way that would make you say like Job “My ears had heard of you, but now my eyes have seen you”. I believe as you have questioned God He will answer and show you His plans and open you up to deeper fellowship with Him and a greater ministry from Him. As you well know, this is not the end for you, and your wife is going to be just fine. If you still want a child after this you’re going to get another child and you will tell that child your testimony.
    I love the psalms where the psalmist starts off bashing/accusing God, but at the end he declares his praises. There is no sorrow that can last longer than a night once the Prince of Peace takes over. I don’t want to sound preachy and I hope I’m not. When I lost my mum to cancer at age 16 I had questions too, but they were not so much of God but of myself. What can I do to keep my family safe? How can I be of help to others who have suffered loss? What about unbelievers who lose loved ones, what can I do for them? And you know what, God has answered those questions and has given me a righteous anger towards all sickness, disease and premature death.
    God bless you sir. Keep on spreading the gospel, the world needs it.

  • Trish

    Wow, this is really beautiful. I am about to have a second baby, my husband is just graduating college, and we are moving to a new area without a job. We’re getting kicked out of our current apartment (on campus) because he’s graduating. My husband has been job searching for over a year and nothing is turning up. This pregnancy has been very difficult, with me being in the hospital for many weeks in the early months. Our bank account is running very low and I’ve found myself feeling more and more desparate. I do believe that God will take care of us, but it’s hard to appreciate His timing sometimes. It’s nice to know that it’s okay to feel that desperation.

  • Pingback: Gosnell Violence; Atheist Delemmas; Better Ministry Thinking; The Art of Fool-making and much more « ChosenRebel's Blog

  • Sharon

    Someone once told me that the statement “God won’t give you more than you can handle” should actually be interpreted: “God won’t give you (singular) more than you (plural) can handle.” In other words, God won’t give a person anything more than what the body of Christ around that person can handle. That has always helped me realize that I am not alone, and that I need to rely on the body of Christ to help me through when things are too difficult for me. This has been my experience as well. When I went through a major depression for 3 years, I felt very alone, but I remember the people who prayed with and for me, and those who just were with me in the midst of the darkness. When I found out I would never have children, my friends and family came around me and carried me through that time as well. There have been other difficult times as well. I think our society is uncomfortable with people who are in pain and don’t know how to just come and be with those who are in pain.

    It is interesting to me that what I thought was scriptural actually is not in the Bible. But I think the concept is still true — that we need to be the body of Christ and carry those in our midst who are in pain. Sometimes that may require doing something, but often it is just being there with them in the pain, and not trying to fix it. And there is hope! I came through my depression, and though I still have tough days sometimes, the good days far outweigh the bad days. I still feel sad that I was not able to have children, but God has healed that pain so greatly, and has allowed me to now minister to moms by knitting baby blankets for new mothers. God takes what was deeply painful and eventually brings beauty. It doesn’t mean I am not sad for the loss, but the loss no longer defines me.

  • Eric V

    Be careful Dear Brother when you say, “I’ve had enough.” That is likely the moment when God will give you more.

    How quickly would any one of us have given in to the weight of Job’s trial. How easy it would have been to curse God and die, as his wife encouraged him to do. She probably said that as much out of her own pain as anything else. That is a level of devastation that few of us will ever experience. Yet he remained faithful. Though his wife rebuked him, he was faithful. Though his friends wrongfully accused him of sin, he was faithful. To almost the very end God was silent, yet he remained faithful. Therein lies the key, remaining faithful when everything in this world screams at us not to. A lyric of a popular song on the radio these days says, “How many times have you heard me cry out, “GOD PLEASE TAKE THIS!” “How many times have you given me strength to just keep breathing?”

    Did not Jesus say, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 The amplified version says, “be of good cheer (take courage; be confident, certain, undaunted).

    Sometimes He takes the pain away, sometimes He takes us through it. If He really is ALL knowing and ALL powerful and EVER present (which I believe He is) then my pain, my struggle is not something unseen to Him, stuffed into the corner of a room He never enters. He is absolutely aware of everything we are ALL going through. Our job is to trust that He has a plan and a purpose, even for our pain.

    Philippians 2:6-8
    Who, being in very nature God,
    did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
    rather, he made himself nothing
    by taking the very nature of a servant,
    being made in human likeness.
    And being found in appearance as a man,
    he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross!

    Philippians 2:6-11 paraphrase We being in very nature evil and wicked
    are by Jesus blood made pure and holy.
    Not so we can grasp for equality with God.
    Though we were nothing, we are transformed
    and being found in His likeness we become His children.
    Serving humbly we learn to be obedient, even if it means our death.

    In case you think I’m just another Christian spouting platitudes about a life of faith, I have experienced more than my share of loss and doubt. By age 32 I’d lost nearly my whole family to include my Mother to a car accident, my Father to cancer, a Step-mother to respiratory complication from a spider bite. Grandparents who helped raise me to old age. An Aunt to MS. Plus a few others I won’t mention. I will be 50 this year and though I have longed for and prayed for them, I have neither a wife nor children. A lack of any close family ties has been at times a tremendous struggle, to say the least. It has forced me to seek out others as a form of extended family. It has taught me the truth of 2 Corinthians 1:4…who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.

    Many are fond of saying “It’s not about me, it’s about God.” I disagree, it is about me, but it’s not just me. It’s about me and you and your neighbor and your neighbor’s neighbor and so on. Jesus’ prayer for us was that we would be one as He and the Father are one. As we become one with each other we grow in our relationship to God as well. I believe God allows pain and struggle in our lives so we don’t get lost in our own little worlds. We have to reach out to others to find comfort and in so doing we are able to comfort others. This couldn’t be more true than when I look at the article you wrote and see all the people it touched.

    Sometimes all you can do is to just keep breathing, and that’s enough.

  • Pingback: How Much Can A Person Take? | josmurftay

  • Matt

    A) It is Biblical. It’s in 1 Corinthians 10:13. “No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.”

    B) Any supposed Christian writer who uses profanity and foul language to prove their point isn’t very Christ-like.

  • Pingback: Interesting Read | Fantasy isn't always imagined

  • Ruth

    But it is not just about you. You are not pregnant, suffering from a sin consequence, having the birthday, have a terminal disease. Life is about those going through these things and being there for them. I could tell you about two sons on the edge of death, cancer ridden relatives, including my lovely mum, health issues which will one day kill me, relatives away from the Lord, loss of everything material and financial, but, it is about them, them, them. We all suffer, but if our eyes are on others we cope. God does come to us and ask us to come to him, some have break downs, lose their faith for a time, some die, that is up to God, but it wasn’t YOU, so think again, you are there for others, others are there for you. Are you writing from the depths of a war torn place, living on the street? Didn’t think so……yup my life has some bad times, we all do and God is doing what He decides, question it if you like but don’t expect others to fall in a heap at your bit of reality.

  • Pingback: Found this article on Facebook | JustaCanadianGirl

  • http://gravatar.com/trkunkel trkunkel

    You are right, the Bible doesn’t say we will get more than we can handle. It says so much more. The Holy Spirit speaking through James says we should consider it all joy when we encounter various trials. Not ask the unbiblical questions of…

    Why not step in?
    Why not act?
    Why wouldn’t you make it right?

    …as if Romans 8:28 was no longer true. “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” God doesn’t say “all things work together for good except whatever hard situation(s) you are going through right now”.

    When my father very painfully died of cancer three years ago, my family and I tried to respond how the Bible commended Job for responding to death and tragedy. (No, not shaving our heads and tearing our clothes but worship and blessing the name of God).

    Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head and fell on the ground and worshiped. And he said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.” In all this Job did not sin or charge God with wrong.

    The questions you asked in your article (which you commend as holy and sacred to other believers as well) are charging God with wrong (by implying His course of action was not the best, highest, or most holy). They are calling “B.S.” not on some slogan but on the Word of God itself which is hardly a platitude but rather the very words of life.

    • http://lesfergusonjr.com Les Ferguson, Jr.

      A couple of things to consider… the trials James speaks of contextually seem to mean those things that come about as a result of your faith. I.E. persecution, etc.

      Based on your comment, I should rejoice at the rape and double murder of my wife and son? I should consider it all joy that my family was destroyed? I should celebrate losing job, career, ministry, home, insurance, and any financial stability? I think not.

      Your attitude leaves little room in the Bible for Lamentations, the imprecatory psalms, Jeremiah, etc. Better yet, there is no way in which you could call the above horror “good”. Nothing good in my life will ever be attributed to those things. God may yet take my pain and do something good with it, but that is a far cry from making evil be good

      • http://gravatar.com/trkunkel trkunkel

        Les,

        First of all let me say that I think what happened is terrible and a tragic byproduct of sin in this world. After 35 years of preaching, I would imagine that the first place you would go for guidance and understanding of tragedy would be the Scriptures. There we find two things, first of all God is working all things for His glory and our good. Therefore, even horrible tragedy and intentional evil fits into that plan (as we see in Job, Joseph, Christ, and many others.)

        I imagine that you turned this great personal sadness toward advancements of the kingdom of God through forgiveness, proclaiming the comfort the Spirit has given you, etc. I never said you were supposed to learn something (that was putting words in my mouth) I said with Scripture that God is in control and is actively working all things (even the dark ones) for His glory and your good. Does that make the evil good? Of course not. Again, you put words in my mouth I never said.

        The Bible says even evil has a purpose and God gets glory even when His people suffer at the hands of evil men as He got glory when His own Son suffered at the hands of evil men which He predetermined would occur. Pilate and the priests did what God planed for them to do. Acts 4:27-28.

        You say the way the Bible presents evil is obscene (because it is very clear that God is behind it all for His glory’s sake). Do you prefer that the evil is just senseless and that God permits it for no benefit to you or glory for Himself? That He lets His people suffer for no purpose. I thank God that is not His design for evil. That would be truly obscene and I am glad it is not scriptural.

  • http://gravatar.com/trkunkel trkunkel

    Les,

    Of course you don’t rejoice and say “yippee my father who I loved is dead!”. We mourn.

    My criticism of the article is in questioning God who has told us all things are working for our good (those who love God and are called according to His purpose). By telling God how He should have handled the situation (made it right, done something, etc.) we are saying “My will be done”, not “Thy will be done”. We are directly questioning the goodness of God.

    You are wrong when you imply that there is no way to call terrible sins and suffering part of the good plans/working of God. The worst sin in all of human history was the crucifixion of Christ yet the Bible says in Acts 4…

    “for truly in this city there were gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, to do whatever your hand and your plan had predestined to take place.”

    When Joseph’s brothers sold him into slavery in their hatred, Gen 50 says…

    “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.”

    In Job 1, Job says “The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away” when his family was killed, his property was destroyed, and his health was taken away. He confesses that the Lord was the one who took his family/property/health away and to shut the door on exactly the kind of argument you are making, the passage adds… “In all this Job did not sin or charge God with wrong.” God is good and holy when He takes away anything and everything we hold precious because we have the promise that He is working for our good even if we can’t see what He is doing. The right response is not to arrogantly question Him (as this article commends) as if we know better but worship and trust.

    • Nate Pyle

      Just to clarify, asking God is not the same as telling him. Asking him, “Why did this happen?” is not the same telling him what to do. You keep referring to Job, while Job did not sin, he did ask a lot of questions. Cursing God and denying his existence is very different than questioning what God is doing and waiting for his redemption. The end of the article is very clear about waiting on God to act, which is a response to belief in Romans 8:28 you keep going back to.

      Would you wrong Jesus for asking God, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Did Jesus doubt Romans 8:28? Of course not! Or David for writing that psalm. Or any of the other psalms that wonder how long God will allow the psalmists enemies to have victory? So why would it be wrong for us?

      • http://gravatar.com/trkunkel trkunkel

        Psalm 22 also ends in a declaration of the total dominance and goodness of God.

        When my father died, are you suggesting a proper question to God would be “Why don’t you make it right?” Do you believe the Bible to say that anything that happens is outside the full control of the God who works all things for our good? Even evil/suffering?

        Job does indeed question God throughout the book (which by the way is not commended as is his statement from Job 1). Near the end God very directly asks Job who he thinks he is to question God when Job doesn’t even know relatively simple things in comparison to the infinite mind and sovereign plans of God.

      • http://gravatar.com/trkunkel trkunkel

        Nate, for what it is worth, I do very much appreciate that you corrected the common misquote of this verse. I also greatly appreciate that you have made clear that the Bible does not commend relying on our own strength.

        • Nate Pyle

          Thank you for saying so. I appreciate that.

    • http://www.gracemedia.wix.com/gr4ce Manny

      Firstly Nate, I hope you have not been discouraged by any of the comments here; we are all brothers and sisters trying to draw closer to God.
      Les what you went through was difficult, and the fact that you still hold on to God is a powerful testimony and many people will be encouraged by that.
      Trkunkel, to quote Job can be misleading because he also said a lot of things that weren’t true such as “curse the day of my birth” and Job 9:22-24 “‘He destroys both the blameless and the wicked.’
      23 When a scourge brings sudden death,
      he mocks the despair of the innocent.
      24 When a land falls into the hands of the wicked,
      he blindfolds its judges.
      If it is not he, then who is it?
      That last question is what I want to draw our attention to. “If it is not He then who?” well the beginning of the story tells us it is the devil who waged war against Job. Jesus told us that the thief comes to steal kill and destroy, but He came that we may have life and life more abundantly. Would you call cancer abundant life? Will you call an ectopic pregnancy abundant life? would you call rape, murder, poverty abundant life? if not then you know that is not God’s will which is “good, pleasing and perfect”. But the only way to experience this will of God CONSTANTLY is to have our minds renewed by the Word that brings faith i.e. the gospel, the Good News, the word and message of Christ which is God so loved the world that He gave. Since God has given, then it is up to us to receive. If we don’t receive from God and go about receiving from the devil then we will have misery. God delivers us from evil, God makes us lie down in green pastures, God says Jesus holds us in His hands and the evil one cannot touch us. God says since He is for us who can be against us? And so He admonishes us to put on His Armour (not our own) and to stand [Eph 6]. Three times we are told to stand, meaning the standing is up to us. If you don’t stand no one can stand for you. God is not asking us to fight but to stand, because the enemy has been disarmed and defeated [Col 2:15].
      Life and death is still in the power of the tongue, our tongue and we must use it wisely: choose life therefore.
      Don’t blame God when the enemy comes to steal kill and destroy, stand in life more abundantly. When we turn on God and begin to blame Him the devil comes in through the back door and defiles our home. After all Jesus went about healing all those oppressed of the devil, from fevers to leprosy to blindness to death, the final enemy. So what can’t Jesus do for you if you ask Him? We don’t ask because we don’t think He’ll do it. We don’t think He’ll do it because we think He sent the very things He fought against while on earth. We think He sent them because we don’t know how much He loves us. We don’t know that God is a good God, and we don’t know there is nothing He can’t handle.
      I apologise for the long post, but I hate to see division in the church, but even worse I hate to see man call God the devil. This cannot be. I’m always happy to discuss the scriptures with anyone. If you are sick or afflicted by the devil in any way, I will pray with you and God will heal not because of my prayer, but because that’s what He loves to do for His children, His babies, His treasured ones, YOU! alba_rka@yahoo.co.uk
      God bless

      • Nate Pyle

        Thanks for encouraging me to not be discouraged. I am not. Iron sharpens iron.

      • http://gravatar.com/trkunkel trkunkel

        Manny, I agree that all good things come by the hand of God. However, God also kills and brings calamity. Isaiah 45:7 – I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil (or calamity): I the LORD do all these things.

        (see also, 1 Kings 22:23, Jer 25:12, Eze 14:9, Psalm 105:25, Amos 3:6, Isa 63:17, Acts 4:27, etc.)

        When Job said the Lord was the one who took his things away, the Bible goes to the extra length to say he did not sin in saying this. God does however say Job was wrong in the other comments he made (you are absolutely right in this). God does bring evil and calamity intentionally into the lives of people sometimes for His good and holy purposes. We must agree to this or deny all the passages listed above. We can’t just take the passages that agree with us and ignore the rest. We must insist on the whole counsel of God.

        • http://www.gracemedia.wix.com/gr4ce Manny

          The Acts verse talks about Pilate and Herod gathered against Jesus, unless you meant something else. So that aside, notice how every verse you used was from the old Testament, which is a shadow of things to come. It is true that God brings calamity, in that when man sinned, there were consequences. When Israel was taken into Babylon, that was calamity. When Miriam was leprous for 7 days that was evil. When King Herod in the New Testament died for claiming to be a god that was evil.But note that not a single bad thing did God bring upon the Christians. Not once. Sure bad things happened, but they most certainly were not from God, as they were things trying to oppose the spread of the gospel (imprisonments, persecution). The reason being in the OT, there was still a curse for disobedience. But in the NT, “we are blessed with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms in Christ” where we are seated far above all principalities, powers having been redeemed from the curse of the law (Gal 3:13)etc. and so why we are instructed in James 1:16-17 to not be deceived and that every good and perfect gift is from the Father of heavenly lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning (He doesn’t change His mind, or withdraw the good and replace it with evil). So God will not give someone sickness (as we Christians believe) then ask another Christian to “lay hands on the sick and they will be healed” (Mark 16:18). Neither will God send death, then ask another Christian to raise them up (Lazarus, Dorcas in Acts 9:36, Eutychus Acts 20:9). God doesn’t send disease or death and then clean it up just for the sake of it. God disciplines His children spiritually and not physically (Heb 12:9).
          To believe that God who gives a life and takes it at any point negates the point of prayer. Why should I get married or have children if God can decide to take them at any point? Why should I bother asking God for protection? And all of these things are coming from a God who loves me? Impossible! Let us find out what evils God brings and to whom, and not assume that everything that happens must be the will of God, when we’re told that only those transformed will test and approve God’s good, pleasing and perfect will (Rom 12:2). If that’s the case then all believers and unbelievers are in the will of God.
          I believe in a good God, a great God, a merciful and kind God, full of loving mercy, who has forgiven all my sins and calls me His own. A God who will not hesitate to give me a good thing and never will he leave me nor forsake me. God loves me irrevocably and I am so glad He does. I know God loves me and that’s the greatest truth in the world.

          • http://gravatar.com/trkunkel trkunkel

            Sorry, Acts 4:27-28 (I forgot to include 28)

            God caused His own Son to be crushed by His sovereign plan.

            Were the Jews not the people of God? When God sent Joseph to Egypt in chains by the malice of his brothers, was that calamity in Joseph’s life due to his sin or the plan of God?

            In the New Testament, God is still in control over all things. Even if you say God does not bring calamity as He is so clearly showed as doing among His people in the Old Testament (hardening pharaoh’s heart to oppress His people even more for instance) you must still say God has the power to stop any suffering/evil so permitting suffering is still a choice on God’s part. That purpose is for our good.

            You asked if cancer is abundant life. Sometimes yes. If it draws me closer to God and moves me to love Him more I would not only accept but praise God for the cancer. Is cancer bad? Only from our limited, self-centered perspective. Life is a vapor anyway. If something in that brief life helps me bring greater glory to God, how can I see that as a negative?

          • Jim

            Why when people say God has control of all things do they then let him off the hook for not ending the suffering NOW?!!? If your 3 year old son fell in a pool, and you stood there saying your grace was sufficient for the kid, and he drowned, how do you suppose all the “saints” here would view you? Yep, as a horrid person, which you would be. Since God is exponentially more capable of preventing and ENDING ALL sin, why not? Yeah, that’s what I thought…..

          • gabe

            I will try to answer your question as you say no has been able to do, but realize that no mere amount of new knowledge will quell your pain and curb the suffering that you or anyone has had experienced in times of tragedy. The ultimate answer is we simply cannot know this side of eternity, God answers very few why questions. This is the paradox of Christianity. Job was simply silenced by the Glory of God when he rightly sought answers. But there is a reason that the problem of evil has given Theologians pause throughout the history of the Church.

            But in a small attempt to give some context, and this will in no way alleviate your agony, God does seem to give a reason for allowing evil to remain. Putting the free-will/love reason aside. The purpose seems to be two fold: God is delaying his return so that more shall be saved.
            Simply put God could show up right now and right all wrongs and ultimately answer your question, but God is delaying his return so that more people will find him and come into his kingdom. 2 Peter 3:7-9 looks at this issue. God delays his return and with it all the answers and justice we all cry out for.
            This brings up the second point which is that God does not wink at sin but he has set a time when he will judge all sin. Hebrews 9:27. That Pastor who has refused to address his sin to your family, or the people that murdered Less’s family or the myriad of tragedies that are committed daily are in no way overlooked by God.
            God weeps with you and Less as he wept with Mary and Martha. But he knows a time is coming when he will show up and say “Enough is Enough!”

            You are right, any Christian who tries to gloss over tragedy ignores that sin is in fact a big deal and that death is a big deal, which is why Jesus grants life over death. Death is a huge deal! Which is why Jesus paid that very price. The death of Christ is not simply to pay for sins, it is also a sign-post to what awaits people who in our view “get away with it”. But his resurrection is also a sigh-post to those who are overwhelmed by death, that one day it will be defeated.

            So the question of “why doesn’t he step in” is not really the right question, but when? He will step in, but not yet, the book of Revelation looks to this and calls for us to continue to endure until that day. It is the Christian hope to wait for that day and we pray “Even so Lord come.” When we will finally see him and be like him for we shall see him as he is. 1 John 1:2-3. I would assume at that point that our mouths will be stopped as Job’s was.

            I don’t think for one moment that more Theology is going to satisfy you. I think what you need is hug brother, and someone who is willing to go through this crazy challenge with all the ups and downs of life with you. I know that Christians a lot of times fail at this step and it makes the scoffers wave their hypocrisy flags but Christians fail too. In fact I probably failed in my previous post to you. But we all need the support of each other, I hope you can find some.

            In an effort to not be one of “those” Christians here is my email. mackaby@hotmail.com seriously contact me and I will struggle through this with you if you are so inclined. I really pray that you can find peace with Christ.

          • http://lesfergusonjr.com Les Ferguson, Jr.

            having to reply above your comment… in 35 years of preaching, some things remain the same. this is one of them and it boggles my mind. I cannot for the life of me understand the mental juggling. If I follow you correctly, I should see the rape of my handicapped son, along with his and his mothers eventual murder at the same hands as somehow serving a good purpose? The terror of being attacked with a hatchet and a gun was somehow supposed to teach them something? Or better yet, they went through that becaue there was a lesson God wanted me to learn? That is obscene.

          • Jim

            You are right, Les. And you’ve also pinpointed a real weakness in modern Christianity…the inability of many of its proponents to comfort those who mourn. If my daughter goes out late at night in a bad neighborhood and gets raped and murdered, do I tell her mother, well, that was stupid of her?!!? Most of you here are (not Les!) doing the functional equivalent. When my mother received a call from the hospital at 2:00 a.m. that her son had been killed by a drunk driver, what do you supposed she learned? When the drunk, who is now, of all things, a pastor, refuses (I don’t mean forgot, I mean refuses) to even send condolences to those he has irreparably harmed, she should have learned what, that even men of God don’t give a shit about those they’ve killed?!!?? Les, is right, this “lesson” is obscene and so are any who believe it is of any help to those who suffer.

    • ScottTBSummers

      ummm Hello Jesus even questioned God when he said “Let this cup be taken from me” and “Why have you forsaken me?” so uhh yeah. There’s nothing wrong with asking God why things are happening. Acting like everything is ok and not questioning anything is just dishonest and God already knows what your thinking so why lie to him?

  • Clif

    You are so right, Nate. It is nice to read your blog. I was actually looking for something else and came across your blog.

    I have to wonder if this wrong thinking really comes from our culture. We introduce Jesus Christ to people and tell them that if they accept Him, God’s plan for your life will be perfect. Nothing bad will ever happen to you. I’ve actually heard people talk this way and after what I’ve been through, it is such misguided thinking.

    They think that if something bad happens to a believer, it means that God is not pleased with the person, or the person lacks faith.

    I’m a missionary and after some pretty nasty things happened to us, I came to the realization that God doesn’t stop all evil in this world. I had one person come up and tell me that maybe this was God’s way of saying we should come home. Why is that the conclusion we should come to? Satan is alive and well and he doesn’t want us to do well. He wants to destroy us. Perhaps we need to look at things differently and realize that things will not be made right until Jesus returns.

    If people actually read the book of Acts, it would be perfectly clear that bad things happen to believers. They still do. There are many believers, like yourself, that experience a lot of bad things. Becoming a believer does not mean that nothing bad will ever happen.

    • Jim

      So, why doesn’t God, who hates evil, and sacrificed His Son to defeat the same, stop evil? it’s simple question that NO ONE has ever even tried to answer sensibly. He could do it will a mere thought, yet He doesn’t? Why? I am as evil as anyone else, but if I could stop evil, I’d do it so fast your head would spin, probably right off of your neck! Again, please come up with a reasonable response, and not more boilerplate. God has the means, motive, and opportunity to kill evil in its “cradle” so why doesn’t He?

  • http://www.facebook.com/jamesmonzello James Monzello

    God sent us all here to be tried to the maximum limit of our abilities and capacity to withstand. The temptation in tragedy is to forsake God – see the story of Job. Trial is a refining process to determine who seeks after good for goodness sake, not because it’s easy and not because it’s how you get everything you want. Our character and our faith are refined and it is what makes us potentially worthy citizens of Heaven.

    It is always good to ask questions of God but only if we are humble enough to accept the answer – even if the answer is to drink from the “bitter cup” as Christ did.

    His promise to us is two fold: comfort in our hour of need by His Holy Spirit and that if we remain faithful we will be victorious through Christ. But the scope of the battle is not limited to mortal comforts or luxuries, the end game is Eternal Life.

    It is not until final judgment that all the wrongs are righted and all the hurts, healed.

  • http://www.facebook.com/teeranker Talea Willis Ranker

    Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

  • Pingback: Biblical Hope vs. Trite Sympathy | Grace Presbyterian Church

  • http://gravatar.com/sethck Seth

    While it is true that this specific concept has been twisted into something it is not, the original idea, found in first Corinthians, does stand true. The verse states:

    1 Corinthians 10:13 “No temptation[a] has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted[b] beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted,[c] he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.”

    So, I wouldn’t go so far as to call it a lie, but maybe a misunderstanding or misinterpretation of what was really said?

  • Mark Rome

    In 2005 I found out my unit was going to close and I would have to retire after 33 years of service, a few days later I got 8 feet of water from Katrina and lost everything and a month later, September 29, 2005, my 22 year old son, David, was partying one more time with his friends before I moved him to Houston, and overdosed and passed away. I can honestly say I was angry and my prayers were curses. I can honestly say that I can find no good in my son dying. I can also honestly say my Higher Power gave me what I needed to get through it. 2 days after David’s funeral I was sitting by his grave, had my head down and was crying. This thought came in my head, “I need to know that you are ok” and opened my eyes and there was a dove that was part of the flowers. Literally had the thought, opened my eyes and there was a dove.
    I spent 2 and a half of his last 3 and a half weeks with him in a hotel. In that time it occurred to me to say on night ” David, I’m sorry I came out, got divorced and made your life harder”, he said “Dad I got over that a long time ago”. I did not and do not have to carry that with me.
    Yesterday I made 20 years sober, I am reasonably happy today. I miss David so much most days, sometimes I can’t hardly breathe. I no longer fight it, i accept it and it passes, I don’t even see it as negative, it just is. I am so grateful I got to be his dad for 22 years. I have another son and daughter, who are doing wonderfully. I sponsor many people in AA, I am involved, heck I even play softball at 57 and am a good pitcher.
    Many more things have happened to get me through this and a lot of other events in my live. I was an atheist for 15-20 years, and today I can see my Higher Power working in my life. I try to be of service and to leave a place better when I am gone, in the very least I try to not leave it worse.
    I am blessed by the grace of a Higher Power and I do my best to live up to that. I don’t quite know why I am writing this to you but I no longer question the inspiration. Thank you for sharing. For me the statement is “God will not give me more than he and I can handle”.

  • Steve High

    Thank you for sharing openly Nate. Your vulnerability, trust and hope in our Lord are evident and deeply appreciated. I offer 2 things for you and anybody else that may happen to read my comment. First, Kent Annan has written a book entitled “After Shock”. He uses the major earthquake in Haiti of a few years ago to talk about searching for honest faith when your world is shaken. The other thing I would suggest is something that some friends of mine have put together called “The Epic Fail Pastor’s Conference.” They are times of incredible honesty, vulnerability and healing for pastors who are too often expected to be “super-Christians”.

  • http://www.skipterproductions.com Skip Brown

    To claim that God will not give you more than you can handle is wrong. In our flesh we cannot handle ANYTHING! There is no strength in us – only weakness and failure. We are weighed down by the flesh, and sinfulness of this humanity. This is why we have to be “transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Romans 12:2). Come to the realization that we cannot and will not “handle” anything without the “way to escape”, which is the Lord Jesus Christ, and the miraculous peace He offers. (John 14:27). The tortures and pains of this world do not compare to absolute horror Christ had on the cross when He was beaten, nailed, and rejected by God the Father as He took our sin on His Sinless body. God became flesh, God took on the worse pain of all – even of Hell itself – and lives to defeat the sting and victory of death and the grave.

    • Jim

      God has offered neither myself, nor my parents (and remaining siblings) anything of the kind. This is the same old non-helping boilerplate myself and my family got when my brother and sister were buried. Much more helpful would have been something like, “We are all sinners, but those who murdered these two teenagers were worse” as they surely were. If I lust after a woman, I sin, but if I murder her I’ve not sinned worse?! REALLY?!!!? If so, let me arrange for one of your loved ones to be so treated so I can find out how full of baloney you are. Perhaps to God, all sin is fungible, but not to those paying for the funerals. Do ANY of you wish to help those suffering, or do you only wish to spout boilerplate or “prove” yourselves holier than I? Remember guys, Death is the ENEMY!!!! so quit treating it, and those who cause it so cavalierly.

  • http://twitter.com/RyoGTO RyoGTO (@RyoGTO)

    Throughout the Bible (OT&NT) it repeatedly states that you reap exactly what you sow. No more no less! In other words, it is not God who brings unfortunate circumstances upon you. However, that doesn’t mean we should ignore another’s suffering simply because it is their own karma. If we ignore, than that is our sowing of bad seeds, and we will reap rotten fruits. It is our duty to give God’s forgiveness, mercy, and love to one another–that is how we sow seeds of real of peace and love in this world, for ourselves, and for all.

    That is what the meaning of Proverbs 24:10-12 is about:

    “If you remain indifferent in time of adversity, your strength will depart from you. Rescue those who are being dragged to death, and from those tottering to execution withdraw not. If you say, “I know not this man!” does not he who tests hearts perceive it? He who guards your life knows it, and he will repay each one according to his deeds.” -Proverbs 24:10-12

    • Nate Pyle

      So Jesus was reaping what he was sowing? Paul reaped what he was sowing when he was beaten, stoned, and shipwrecked three times? John was reaping what he was sowing being exiled on Patmos?

      Remember the story of the wise man who built his house on the rocks and the foolish man who built his house on the sand? What did both experience? A storm.

      Karma is not Biblical.

      • http://twitter.com/RyoGTO RyoGTO (@RyoGTO)

        The Bible is contrary to your statements. Aside from the verse that I just quoted from Proverbs which specifically says God will “repay each one according to his deeds.”
        There is also dozens of other verses throughout the Bible that say the same thing, some examples:

        Galatians 6:7 – “Make no mistake: God is not mocked, for a person will reap only what he sows”

        Galatians 6:8 – “The one who sows for his flesh will reap corruption from the flesh, but the one who sows for the spirit will reap eternal life from the spirit.”

        Proverbs 19:3 – “A man’s own folly upsets his way, but his heart is resentful against the LORD.”

        Proverbs 11:25 – “He who confers benefits will be amply enriched, and he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed.”

        Proverbs 22:8 – “He who sows iniquity reaps calamity, and the rod destroys his labors.”

        Proverbs 11:19 – “Virtue directs toward life, but he who pursues evil does so to his death.”

        Proverbs 13:21 – “Misfortune pursues evildoers, but the just man shall be recompensed with good.”

        Proverbs 19:17 – “He who has compassion on the poor lends to the LORD, and he will repay him for his good deed.”

        Luke 6:43-44 – “A good tree does not bear rotten fruit, nor does a rotten tree bear good fruit. For every tree is known by its own fruit. For people do not pick figs from thornbushes, nor do they gather grapes from brambles.”

        I do not want to get into a long theological debate about the implications of your prior examples. However, your last example proves my point, if anything. Sure, both men experienced a storm–but they had two very different experiences of the storm–having two different foundations because of where they built their houses (which would be their own action).

        Karma, which is just a foreign word which means you reap exactly what you sow–is most definitely Biblical.

        • https://www.facebook.com/areta.ekarafi Areta

          I think those passages wasn’t about karma. It didn’t say if you do good, you’ll get good in return and vice versa. Like in Luke 6, it was saying that you can tell whether a person’s heart is good or bad based on their actions. Similarly in Galatians 6, it was telling those who preach to also do what they preach. Whereas Proverbs really was wisdom of life rather than promises. It is generally true that if you do good all the time, you will live well. Although in New Testaments, there are a LOT of passages on suffering (and suffering well). 1 Peter, talks about suffering well for the right reasons, not because they’ve done wrong. Luke 13, Jesus said something about the people who died when a tower in Siloam fell – we’re all equally guilty and need to repent. Please try to read in context and carefully. You just have to read a few verses up and down the verse that you were looking at. That’s how you get the immediate context of the text. In my opinion, the concept of karma really rules out grace. If we lived by karma, then all of us will go to hell. But God being merciful and gracious has sent us Jesus to die for our sin so that we won’t get the punishment that we deserve. Also, karma makes us very judgmental. It makes us easily say to anyone who’s circumstances are difficult that they’ve done a big sin, when we’re supposed to be praying for them, encouraging, supporting and helping them.

      • Jim

        Blah, blah, blah. Do you wish to help, or prove yourself a Bible expert? How does this help anyone? No one is talking about Karma, but do you really see someone who puts a bullet in another person’s head the same as someone who has not (and you blaspheme God by calling this karma!) Surely we are all sinners, but God doesn’t see those who try mightily not to murder, rape, lust, etc. different than those who do? If so, let us dispense with the Bible, churches, and preaching. We are all sinners, we are NOT all John Wayne Gacy, and to say otherwise is a COMPLETE dereliction of your duties as a pastor to comfort those who have suffered so horribly, and about which (correct me if I am wrong) you really don’t know the first thing (personally) about. When you come home to a call that a drunk has killed your son, please post it, so I can “help” you by telling you your son was as bad as the drunk.

    • lfergusonjr

      So what exactly did my mentally and physically disabled wheelchair bound son do to earn rape and murder? Seriously. i am shocked at the comments some have made. People reality is often ugly–and so are the horrific pontifications some make about those experiencing heartache and tragedy. Try walking a mile in my shoes–

      • http://gravatar.com/trkunkel trkunkel

        (From Luke 13) There were some present at that very time who told him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. And he answered them, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered in this way? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them: do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.”

        Tragedy comes to us all (in the form of violence or “natural disaster”). Did they deserve violent death more than anyone else? No. But we all deserve violent death and some of us are spared by God’s mercy. For proof, just look at the violent death suffered by Jesus which is what we deserved.

        God will rightly judge those who murdered your wife and son. However, were your wife and son any less guilty in the eyes of God than they? Are we?

        • lfergusonjr

          My son was certainly an innocent

        • Jim

          REALLY?!!? God will judge the murderers? And that helps how? Tell me your address so I can send someone to murder your loved one, and then we’ll see how much you believe this tripe. God will surely judge us all, but this is, and I know from experience, as do my parents and remaining siblings, ZERO comfort to those who suffer. And, YES the wife and son who never murdered anyone WERE, ARE, and will ALWAYS BE lacking any culpability, not for sin, but for murdering the innocent. How dare you! You don’t even know these people, and you say such a thing? When you’ve come home to find a loved one’s blood and brains all over the living room floor, then tell me they are just as guilty, you thoughtless jerk!

      • Eric V

        We all seem to be getting caught up in not being misunderstood and/or thinking we can come up with an answer to all of life’s problems.

        God gives rain to the just and to the unjust. Rain can be a blessing to some and a curse to others. Meaning whether you are good or bad, good and bad things will happen to you. Good deeds often go unrewarded and bad deeds often go unpunished. There are deeper levels of God’s grace and mercy we may never fully comprehend.

        The main thing we need to recognize is that no one does it alone. And it’s not just me and God either. If any one of was able by themselves to enter into heaven, God would invariably ask, “Where are your brothers and sisters?”

        No one needs to walk in your shoes Les, I would wish that on no one. But we do need to walk with you. To cry with you and to mourn. Our hearts go out to you as well as everyone who is hurting. Whether to lesser or greater measure we all need each other and to be needed by each other.

        When Jesus said to love your neighbor as yourself He was implying a connection that says when I am loving my neighbor, I am loving myself. So why would I lie to myself or steal from myself and if I have failed to live up to that standard why would I not be gracious to myself. And when I am suffering and struggling would I not come along side to lend a hand to lift up or a shoulder to cry on.

      • Jim

        Nothing, absolutely NOTHING! No more than my sister and brother deserved what amounts to murder, or me molestation. Please ignore those who spout verbal diarrhea such as, “There is evil in the world…” and the like. They have, usually, ZERO clue what it means to really suffer. Not having your girl/boyfriend break up with you, or losing a job, but to have a stranger push himself up one’s rectum, or burying two kids not even out of their teens because a couple of drunk creeps (neither of whom, by the way, suffered so much as an arrest!) NONE of this mayhem need be, unless one assumes God is NOT omnipotent and all-loving, so ignore these fools.

  • http://twitter.com/RyoGTO RyoGTO (@RyoGTO)

    I am sorry for your sorrows. May you be happy and free from suffering, as well as your family, and your son–where he may be now.

    Unfortunately, however, I will not be able to satisfactorily answer your question–I am not God so I cannot know the answer to such a mystery. Nor do I want to get into a theological argument here on how such evil is brought into the world especially starting at one’s birth (although all religions also believe in the concept of free will and that it is man who brought evil into the world). All my I am stating above is that the Bible, and every other major religious text, tells us that we reap only what we sow.

    Also, I feel this verse is particularly true for the sentiment I see in this article, “A man’s own folly upsets his way, but his heart is resentful against the LORD.” -Proverbs 19:3

  • Kristee

    You took the words right out of my mouth Nate!!! I have been saying this for years and feeling guilty about questioning God and being angry. My husband and I have struggled for the last 7 years with our faith because we were deep in over our heads with grief.

    We had 4 miscarriages in a row. One where i was rushed to the ER because of the pain from contractions and labor. During this time, we also had one blow after another and felt that we couldn’t handle it anymore. We were both depressed and our marriage struggled. We were leaders in the church and we grew up in the church. We had very strong faith and we lead bible studies for teens. And then our world came crashing down and it seemed we would never surface to take a breath. When someone says that God won’t give you more than you can bear, you just want to body slam them to the ground. Because i’m pretty sure i’ve been on my knees begging God to help us and take the burden from us and all i hear is crickets!!!! So when you are in your darkest hour and you are crying out to God and all you hear is silence, it goes without saying that you might start questioning your beliefs and faith. Sadly, we weren’t as strong as many others have been and we quit going to church and reading our Bibles and pretty much took a break from God. Even to this day we struggle with our relationships with God. But i am slowly trying to gain it back.

    Eventually, God blessed us with a beautiful son from Korea and in true God style, we were pregnant and finally had a biological son 8 months after we got our oldest son. When it rains it pours, right! My faith is being restored but i still have reservations and am still struggling with a lot of questions about the Bible in general, but i want the relationship i had with God before all of this happened. In fact, i know that it will be stronger because we have gone through the storms together.

    So Nate, I love your honesty. It’s refreshing and totally how i think too. I pray that all of us who are struggling can receive much needed comfort from God and that blessings will pour out to relieve us. And that our relationships with God will be stronger than ever!

  • Pingback: The Bible, Swearing, and Redeeming the Profane - Nate Pyle

  • stewart

    Great letter. I feel we need to be able to admit when enough is enough. “We’ve had enough, God, so please give us a break!” As Christians we should especially be able to do this since we also shoulder the misconstrued burden that life is perfect and we can take anything that is thrown at us. There are not always words to help people in times of crisis so the best we can do is to be there quietly while they pour out their pain.

    I also agree that platitudes can do more harm than good. Who wants to hear that God needed another angle just after they’ve lost a child? How can you even politely smile at a comment like that?

    I attended a funeral this year for a young father who left behind his wife, young daughter and new born son. The pastor opened the service with these appropriate words; “Not fair; not fair.”

    Perhaps the best we can hope and pray for is that our faith will hold up while our lives spin out of control. I’m sure of God and I’m sure of my faith. I’m also sure that any challenging time in our lives will pass. The only problem now is how long will it take.

  • Pingback: burdened beyond our strength. | Monochrome Sun

  • Hannah Burch

    I truly appreciate everything you said here…..Ten years ago now, I went through a divorce, my mother dying, and a series of other unfortunate and bad things. It was, without a doubt, the worst period of my life. Just when I thought things were looking up, something else came to knock me down again. I can’t express the pain I felt. I can’t express the feelings of “why doesn’t God just DO something?” And eventually He did. It didn’t happen over night. And it did happen when I absolutely couldn’t take it one more second and I got down on my knees and told Him so. And He came to my rescue. Just like He always does and always will. This is a test…..a test of your faith. And it won’t be fun and it won’t be easy. But in ten years you will look back and say it was worth it. God bless you and all who are suffering right now.

  • Pingback: Does God give us more than we can handle? | Consider it pure joy!

  • Pingback: Friend {Five Minute Friday} | Skipper ClanSkipper Clan

  • Lola

    Good for you!!! I have often said the same thing and tried to correct the folks misquoting the verses you used. I really hope this gets around! At the grand old age of 41 I buried the last member of my family, my dear husband. I have NO next of kin. It has been a long, lonely 15 years since then. I am so tired of what I call the “pious platitudes”. Yes, I know my family is in a better place. Yes, I am glad that my mom and husband aren’t suffering anymore. Yes, I am glad that my father and brother are finally free of their addictions. HOWEVER, NONE OF THAT MAKES IT ANY EASIER NOT HAVING THEM HERE SO QUIT TELLING ME PIOUS PLATITUDES! I also sometimes feel like I want to smack the next person that says “you are so strong”. That said, I chose to heal and am thankful that they were part of my life. God is still on the throne.

  • http://planetnomad.wordpress.com/ planetnomad

    Really appreciated this post. I think that we as the modern American evangelical church have no theology of suffering, although it is present in pretty much every book of the Bible. Maybe we should come up with one. I don’t think it would make our pain less, but it might provide some comfort in the midst of the trials.

  • http://gravatar.com/harpcat Joe Joe

    Bookmarking tis to keep it in the ready. Beautifully elicited thoughts.

  • https://www.facebook.com/areta.ekarafi Areta

    Praying for you, your wife and your baby, Nate.

  • Gina Hart

    I randomly came upon this page and was immediately drawn to your story and felt a deep appreciation of your heartfelt honesty. If we believe God to be real, then I believe we must also be real to one another. No need to sensor your emotions, or pretend the world is rainbows and roses when it isn’t. There is a season for everything, after all. God never promised us perfection in life. Thank you for bearing your heart…what you had to say was genuine and refreshing and from one stranger to another, who just happen through our Lord to be sister and brother, I appreciate this more than you know.

  • Steve

    The author of this blog sounds angry. While I can understand about anger and exasperation in life (author, you’re not alone in your suffering), it’s probably not a good time for you to write about God’s wisdom and character. You owe it to your readers to take some time and soak in God’s perspective first.

    • Tammy

      You quite obviously missed his entire point.

  • http://aprilmcgowan.wordpress.com AMcGowan

    God has repeatedly given me more than I can handle for four years now. First in the illness of my son, and now in the chronic illness I face daily. And daily I give Him the glory for sustaining me and giving me the strength to go on–because I certainly can’t do it without Him. Platitudes do not comfort–they increase the ache and confusion we already feel when overburdened by life. I’d rather have an honest, “I’m so sorry, can I pray for you?” (as long as they really mean it and DO pray). Thanks for speaking up so well on the matter!

  • Kelli Cluch

    Wow. Your honesty is refreshing. I am a worship leader and pastor’s wife of a church of about 1200. Lately there’s an overwhelming weight that my husband and I are feeling among our people—across the board. It seems like everyone we meet with and talk to has some MAJOR hurts and brokenness going on. My husband and I just look at each other and weep. Some people are weighted down by so much hard stuff that we’ve asked God if maybe that last thing was too much. And boy, have we heard the platitudes. Yikers. Get’s my hackles up! So thank you for telling it like it is. I think the thing that has proven to be the best solution in these cases is 1. transparency and honest, like you’ve done, 2. And knowing you don’t have to walk through it alone. I find that when I tell a women, “I don’t have answers or a solution for you in this matter. But we can walk through this together,” an initial weight seems to be lifted. At least just enough so they can take a quick breather or get their bearings. So again…thank you and blessing on you and your family.

  • http://www.gracemedia.wix.com/gr4ce Manny

    Why is it that almost everyone here seems to think it is God causing all the bad things to happen, like He enjoys it when we suffer.
    I remember someone once saying “Never will I leave you and never will I forsake you” and He also said somewhere else “Come to me those who are weary and heavy laden, for my yoke is easy and my burden is light” Light meaning His burdens are like helium, lifting us up to higher realms and deeper intimacy with Him. Like burdens to see people set free, to see the sick healed, to see the poor liberated and enjoying new life.
    Someone also said “Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever”. Well this Jesus in the gospel was always doing good. When people were hungry He fed them, when they were sick He healed them, when they had sinned He forgave them and not once did He ever tell anyone “you deserve this” or “I’m sorry I can’t help you because it is My will for you to suffer sickness, poverty and death”.
    So why has Jesus apparently changed all of a sudden? From doing good to everyone to causing evil to everyone. If that is the case then He most definitely has changed and He is not the same God in the Bible. Of the thousands of people He healed, not once did He tell anyone their sickness was the will of God. Instead He called it oppression of the devil. If the devil is oppressing you the last thing you want to do is say God is the one oppressing you, because then you can’t have faith. How can you ask God to remove a burden you think He placed there? You might ask, but you won’t believe He is going to do it, unless He’s going to change His mind like men do, but He is not a man.
    WE can’t expect love from someone who gives us hate. We can’t expect joy from someone who gives us sorrow. Yet He has said we should not be sorrowful, for the joy of the Lord is our strength.
    Jesus has borne all the curse of the law: sickness, disease, fear, poverty, helplessness, hopelessness, divorce and premature death. so we can have life more abundantly.
    God isn’t the one giving you pain. Do not be deceived, every good and perfect gift comes from the Father of heavenly lights who loves you and sent His Son to die for you. If our sins have been paid for and forgiven, then there is no punishment for those sins. God is not punishing you for your sins, and the moment you forgive God, yourself and whoever offended you, you will receive double as Job did.
    The body of Christ, we need to know that God loves us individually, personally. That is why your name is tattooed on the palm of His hand and why He counts the hairs on your head. Are you going to receive the love of God today, or are you going to let the devil steal your joy?

    • Eric V

      Amen Brother!!

    • roo08

      how do you explain 2 corinthians 4:17-18 and James 1:12?

  • Pingback: Saving Grace | Out of the Mire

  • http://www.tgirlbobbiejo.com Bobbie Jo Justice

    The “all loving” sky daddy would rather watch people suffer instead of preventing the suffering in the first place. The “christian” god especially loves it when a pedophile is raping and murdering children, but hey, maybe I am being too hard on him, maybe the all powerful god was sitting on the toilet on 9/11/01.

  • Whatever

    Why does the Bible contain the word, lie?

    • Asking the right questions

      “When we are on our back, out of resources, out of power, we know what it is to depend on him. Gone is our self-sufficiency. And we understand what it is to wait on the Lord.”

      Have the 3000 people a day, everyday, who commit suicide just not waited long enough?
      Is it the God is so busy saving the 60 000 people a day, everyday, who attempt suicide that 3000 people fall through the cracks?

      The Job example: So God makes a bet with the Devil and destroys Job’s life in order to prove a point. Kills all of his children, his herds and burns down his house. Sure he restored Job by 10 times, so that makes it okay. To win a bet? What kind of God is this?

      • http://www.tgirlbobbiejo.com Bobbie Jo Justice

        the same “loving and caring” god that demanded that abraham murder his only son just to satisfy the christian god’s ego.

        GOD THE PSYCHO

        • Frank

          I will pray and ask the Creator to forgive you because it it clean you don’t know what you are talking about.

        • Frank

          Well Bobby Joe,do we blame God for what looks like an electrical problem with that car? It is a very sad event,my heart goes out to those folks. There is a scripture that comes to mind,Eccl 9:12 time and unforeseen occurrences befall us all.

          • Wes M

            The problem with western society is that happiness and comfort are the lenses through which we view the universe. Anything that brings us those qualities is desirable; anything that does not is like refuse.

            Our society demands that whatever higher power may exist, does so to bring us happiness and comfort. Disasters or anything that brings pain is seen as proof that the sugar daddy in heaven isn’t there.

            This demand on the higher power is a perspective peculiar to those who love in this era. There will be no useful debate on the matter because people cannot see beyond their own perspective; fora like this only generate flame wars and very little movement in people’s positions is likely to occur.

            Creation itself does tell a bit about the creator – whoever it might be. This planet does provide protection, so some thought has been given for our preservation in the cold vastness of space; and we clearly have been designed to enjoy life, reproduce and so on. But these things are hidden from those who have stone eyes.

          • Bobbie Jo Justice

            people are brainwashed from the first day they are introduced into the sham called religion that the sky daddy is “all loving, all powerful, all knowing and all wise”….and then when the all powerful sky daddy doesn’t prevent children from being killed, christians always say, it’s god’s will….so god likes to commit murder does he? first born of egypt, everyone in sodom and gomorrah, and of course noah’s ark because nothing makes a great children’s story like mass genocide.

            love this quote —> ” I refuse to believe in a god who is the primary cause of conflict in the world, preaches racism, sexism, homophobia, and ignorance, and then sends me to hell if I’m ‘bad’. – Mike Fuhrman”

          • Wes M

            The agnostic or atheist casts aspersions on religion, but cuts their nose to spite their face. You can exchange the problems of an created but fallen world for the even colder paradigm where the universe is a cosmic accident. In this view, the universe created itself, along with magical robots equipped with organic 200 megapixel cameras, half of whom also contain factories to create more of these robots. While you’re considering those staggering odds, I’ll kill you because it suits me. There is no morality without deus ex machina – there is no inherent value of the individual, there is no right, no wrong, and nothing to be done but to pursue a hedonistic lifestyle because tomorrow we die, and that is the end. The masses can dictate a pragmatic morality to create a semblance of orderly society, but there is in the end no moral basis for this. Who says what is right and wrong if there is no god? No one can – we are back to pragmatism.

            There is no direct, Western-style scientific connection between the Judeo-Christian God and whatever entity (or entities) created the universe. That is not the point. The point is – we are all over our heads in this conversation.

            Science laughs at the notion that there could be a creator. This arrogance is unbecoming, since we are mere pawns, specks in the vast universe. Science ought to teach us that we are small in this universe; to suppose there is nothing beyond it is far beyond what present science can truly determine. Humble agnosticism is the only honest and appropriate worldview a scientist should hold.

            So rage on, Bobbie Jo… but a more somber and reflective tone might be more apropos given our abject minuteness in this universe. You too will soon pass into oblivion, as shall we all. So ask yourself: are we a cosmic mistake, or refugees whose hearts yearn for a better world for which we were created? Is there a big G, or is this the world of Neitzsche? Do you need the red pill, or do you want the blue one? We can believe whatever we want: but truth and reality exist outside of us.

  • Frank

    Why? Because of inherited sin,we are all defective,inherited that defection from our parents,Adam and Eve. As they slowly die,that is our eventuality for now.

    Why not step in? In God’s appointed time,he will step in.This will happen soon in the Battle of Armageddon,after that time,Christ will rule as King for one thousand years and pour out the full value of his ransom upon those righteous people who survived Armageddon and they will grow into perfection,death will be no more,neither will mourning nor outcry,these will be a thing of the past {Rev21:4}

    Why not act? Man chose a long time ago that he wanted to rule himself and God has aloud that to happen.The issue of sovereignty has to be dealt with.Who has the right to rule,Satan or the Creator.Again that time is drawing to a close.

    Why wouldn’t you make it right? We are all being tested.Satan says we only worship the Creator when times are good.Satan says,watch what happens when a human has to suffer pain.Satan says,a human will curse the Creator. The life of Job speaks volumes in this regard.

    There is great comfort to be taken from the Bible. We have the ransom of Christ Jesus that make the avenue of prayer to the creator possible so that we can as for strength to deal with such issues of humanity. The Holy Scriptures contain all the answers and are a source of encouragement.From the scriptures we are told that man’s suffering will soon end and a wonderful physical healing.

    • Asking the right questions

      It is difficult to look back over the last 2000 years and not see a plethora of opportunities for God to “Step in” as you phrased it (the plague & Auschwitz to name just two).
      With regard to man deciding to rule himself, if this is true, then why does the book tell us God has a plan for all of us? Is the plan self rule?

    • Bobbie Jo Justice

      “shock and surprise” – yet another christian that doesn’t know his own babble, er, sorry I mean bible…..

      inherited sin? – not according to the christian babble – Ezekiel 18:20

  • Frank

    This man is a pastor.I wonder what he has been telling people of his congregation who have experienced stressful times,what did he tell parents who have just lost a child.What did he say to a husband or wife that just lost a mate?Was his message of comfort good enough for members of his congregation but not good enough for him?

    • Asking the right questions

      Our subject over the last few months has been longsuffering and the ability to never give up – no matter what is occurring. Again, the mail I have received on account of these articles has been overwhelming. Truly, this is where many of us are living in these end times.

      Because trials can come upon us suddenly and without advance warning, they seem to end up in one of two ways. If we know what Gods basic will is for our lives and we trust Him, then well have the confidence and the faith that no matter what we see or feel, God is working out His perfect plan in His timing and way. However, as so many of us are finding out, if we dont know what Gods will is for our lives and we dont trust Him, then our faith and our confidence erodes in trials and we sink.

      So, lets take a minute to review exactly what is Gods basic will for our lives and how we can trust Him in it. Its easy to say that God will use our trials and our suffering to accomplish His will, but what exactly does this mean?

      Gods will for all mankind is that we might have a personal and eternal relationship with Him through salvation. As John 3:13-17 says, Christ came so that all might be saved. Gods will for believers, however, is much more specific. He wants all Christians to be conformed into His image by the process of sanctification. (Romans 8:29; 1 Thessalonians 5:23; Hebrews 6:1) In brief, He wants to reproduce His Life in us, including the fruit of longsuffering which, as we said, was one of Jesus most precious characteristics. (John 10:10a)

      I have always taught that Gods basic will for our lives is that we be conformed into Christs image, but for some reason I never realized the full ramifications of this statement. Not only does God want us to be conformed into His image of Love, joy, peace, etc., but also to be conformed into His image of endurance, longsuffering, forbearing and perseverance. This is what the process of sanctification is all about.

      Dietrich Bonhoeffer, one of the most brilliant minds of the 20th century wrote: ”The wondrous theme of the Bible that frightens so many people is that the only visible sign of God in the world is the cross. Christ is not carried away from earth to heaven in glory, but He must go to the cross. And precisely there, where the cross stands, the resurrection is near; even there, where everyone begins to doubt God, where everyone despairs of Gods power, there God is whole, there Christ is active and near. Where the power of darkness does violence to the light of God, there God triumphs and judges the darkness.”1

      Trusting God Is Essential

      If we are going to learn longsuffering and the ability ”never to give up,” then we must learn to unconditionally trust God. This is the means by which Jesus accomplished all that God intended Him to do. And, its the same with us.

      What exactly is trust? The Greek word is peitho, which means ”to rely upon, to have confidence in or to believe in.” Think about it for a moment. Trust encompasses absolutely everything. Everything we think, say and do is built upon either trust in someone or trust in something. Most of us have learned the hard way that if we put our trust in material things or other people, well usually be let down. That leaves us with just two other options: either put our trust in ourselves, which again most of us have found out to be deadly (see Proverbs 28:26), or put our trust in the Lord. We cannot do both. We cannot fully trust in God and trust in ourselves at the same time. We must choose one or the other.

      For Christians, Hebrews 2:13 tells us that there is only one correct answer. We must unconditionally trust in the Lord and Him alone. He is the only One who has all the answers to life. He is the only One who knows all the intricate plans He has for our individual lives. And He is the only One who can control what comes in and out of our lives. Trusting God means cleaving to Him with unreserved confidence no matter how we feel, what we see or what we understand; being fully persuaded that what He has promised, He will perform in His timing and in His way. (Romans 4:20)

      By experience, most of us have learned that Gods ways are often far beyond our human understanding. Thus, if we are to walk with Him, love Him and experience His Life through us, we must unreservedly cling to the assurance that whatever He allows in our lives is for a purpose. Being able to trust Him, rely upon Him and have confidence in Him in these times is absolutely essential. If we give in to doubting His Love and His care at this time, we can easily lose our way. Its impossible to do His will and learn longsuffering without being able to trust Him completely!

      The Lords Cycle of Trust

      One of my favorite Scriptures is Psalm 37:5, which says: ”Commit your way unto the Lord; trust also in Him; and He will bring it to pass.” Trusting God is simply knowing and being absolutely assured that He will do all He promises. Remember the definition of perseverance – the certainty that what we are looking for, will happen. Trusting God is the basis of that perseverance.

      Trust incorporates many things, from knowing what His will is to walking it out. And, of course, it incorporates the whole process in between. The more we understand what trust really is, the more well be able to confidently walk out His will. Like many other principles in the Christian life, trust doesnt just happen; its a learned experience. Simply saying Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him is far different than actually living out being slain and still trusting Him. Trust begins with one faith choice at a time. When we experience Gods faithfulness in the first incident, well have the confidence to make the same kind of choice in all the rest.

      There are eight principles that make up Gods cycle of trust. These eight principles (each of which makes up some form or aspect of trusting Him) will take us from ”beginning knowledge of God” to ”intimate knowledge of Him.” These are principles that you and I have bantered around for years and thought we understood. But perhaps well see, for the first time, how these terms are interrelated. They not only depend upon each other but also build upon each other. Consequently, unless we are ”living” the first principle, well be unable to go on to the next. And if we are not living that one, the third one will be out of our reach. And so on. All these principles are related and must go in the order God has laid them out. Again, each defines some aspect of trusting God.

      So, after almost 50 years of being a Christian and many, many stumbles and falls, this is what I see as the Lords cycle of trust: (You check me out. We have the same Guide Book.)

      1. First, we must know His basic will. We must know what He desires to do in our lives. Romans 8:29 tells us He wants to ”conform us into His image.”
      2. Next, we must know He unconditionally loves us. We must know this not just in our heads but in our everyday experience.
      3. As a result of the above two things, well be able to trust Him enough to obey Him by faith, not feelings. And, the way we obey Him is:
      4. Choosing to love Him – continually giving our selves over to Him. And,
      5. Choosing to renew our Mind – continually dealing with our sin and self. And,
      6. Choosing to have absolute faith – continually walking by faith, not feelings.
      7. If we are doing the above, well have the ability to see Him in all things.
      8. And, as a result of all of the above, well be able to patiently endure all He allows.

      In simpler terms, knowing His Love produces our obedience which brings about His presence and the ability to persevere through any trial.

      These are the principles that make up the Lords cycle of trust and leaving any one of them out puts a hole in our ability to trust Him fully. Each principle depends completely upon our living the previous one. Leaving out one of the precepts will prevent us from going on to the next one. For example: theres no way we can love God (lay our wills and our lives down before Him) unless we first know that He loves us.

      So the bottom line is: we can only learn the fruit of longsuffering by living all eight of Gods principles of trust, His cycle of trust. If we fall down in any of these steps of trust, chances are well feel like giving up, letting go and turning back. And, most likely, well not survive our crises without confusion and devastation.

      Interestingly, this cycle of trust is a chronology of my own walk with the Lord. First, I learned about His Love and what His will was (when my marriage fell apart). Then, He proceeded to teach me what He desired from me (obedience): how to love Him, how to renew my mind and how to have naked faith (through desperate circumstances in my own life). As a result of applying these principles to my life, I began to see Him as I never had before. So, again, His Love in my life produced a willingness to obey Him in all things, which resulted in my seeing Him and being able to endure through harsh and tragic circumstances.

      Even for us older Christians, trusting the Lord completely during horrific trials and tragedies is still hard. The route our natural minds take when everything falls apart in our lives is not towards trusting, enduring and persevering, but towards discouragement, confusion and depression. Being willing to unconditionally trust the Lord and not lean to our own understanding is absolutely essential. (Proverbs 3:5) Only living Gods cycle of trust will allow us to say and live out, ”Though You slay me, yet will I trust You…” (Job 13:15)

      Written by Nancy Missler

      I do not trust God, but, for those of you who wish to perpetuate the myth then this article may be of some use to you.

      • Bobbie Jo Justice

        I don’t worship any all powerful sky pixie that sits on his fat, lazy but and allows pedophiles to rape and murder children

        • Asking the right questions

          The typical response to the pedophile rapist and murder argument is always, “That’s not God, that’s man’s doing.” Which begs the question: If God created man in his own image then is God condoning this behavior? I find it hard to believe that a being that can create a planet with a complex ecosystem, such as the Earth, in six days, cannot prevent such blatant atrocities.

          • RjBii

            Yaweh does not have to conform to the image we have of him. I will not pretend to understand everything he does nor can I begin to comprehend it but if he had to conform to the way I see it then he would be no God at all.

            Rom 8:29 God knew what he was doing from the very beginning. He decided from the outset to shape the lives of those who love him along the same lines as the life of his Son. The Son stands first in the line of humanity he restored. We see the original and intended shape of our lives there in him. 30 After God made that decision of what his children should be like, he followed it up by calling people by name. After he called them by name, he set them on a solid basis with himself. And then, after getting them established, he stayed with them to the end, gloriously completing what he had begun.

            Rom 9:6 Don’t suppose for a moment, though, that God’s Word has malfunctioned in some way or other. The problem goes back a long way. From the outset, not all Israelites of the flesh were Israelites of the spirit. 7 It wasn’t Abraham’s sperm that gave identity here, but God’s promise. Remember how it was put: “Your family will be defined by Isaac”? 8 That means that Israelite identity was never racially determined by sexual transmission, but it was God-determined by promise. 9 Remember that promise, “When I come back next year at this time, Sarah will have a son”?

            10 And that’s not the only time. To Rebecca, also, a promise was made that took priority over genetics. When she became pregnant by our one-of-a-kind ancestor, Isaac, 11 and her babies were still innocent in the womb — incapable of good or bad — she received a special assurance from God. What God did in this case made it perfectly plain that his purpose is not a hit-or-miss thing dependent on what we do or don’t do, but a sure thing determined by his decision, flowing steadily from his initiative. 12 God told Rebecca, “The firstborn of your twins will take second place.” 13 Later that was turned into a stark epigram: “I loved Jacob; I hated Esau.”

            14 Is that grounds for complaining that God is unfair? Not so fast, please. 15 God told Moses, “I’m in charge of mercy. I’m in charge of compassion.” 16 Compassion doesn’t originate in our bleeding hearts or moral sweat, but in God’s mercy. 17 The same point was made when God said to Pharaoh, “I picked you as a bit player in this drama of my salvation power.” 18 All we’re saying is that God has the first word, initiating the action in which we play our part for good or ill.

            19 Are you going to object, “So how can God blame us for anything since he’s in charge of everything? If the big decisions are already made, what say do we have in it?”

            20 Who in the world do you think you are to second-guess God? Do you for one moment suppose any of us knows enough to call God into question? Clay doesn’t talk back to the fingers that mold it, saying, “Why did you shape me like this?” 21 Isn’t it obvious that a potter has a perfect right to shape one lump of clay into a vase for holding flowers and another into a pot for cooking beans? 22 If God needs one style of pottery especially designed to show his angry displeasure 23 and another style carefully crafted to show his glorious goodness, isn’t that all right?
            (from THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language © 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson. All rights reserved.)

  • Eric V

    I sure wonder about this God who created the universe, gave us free will, gave us this world to take care of (which we are doing such a grand job of) and then has the nerve to not explain himself. He better be careful if He ever runs into you, He sure has some questions He’ll need to answer. That is of course if He’s real…

    • Derek Dolan

      How pompous are you to think that the One who created the universe, whether you believe in Him or not, should have to answer to you? How ignorant are you to think that this foolish, dimwitted man could trump the all-knowing Almighty God, whether He exists or not, with his pathetically shallow questions? Read the book of Job if you want to see what happens when a man tries to force his questions on God, and to elevate his own understanding. You are without excuse, and evidence of the Creator is all around you and within you. You have the nerve to rebuke God? You had better be careful if you ever run into Him, you sure have some questions you will need to answer.

      • jaycee1258

        i love the book of job when God finally replies to job. it gives me chills. sooo cool! when i read it my brain is just imagining the mighty powerful voice of God. good stuff.

  • johnjohn

    You came so close…..but then you moved off to the wrong direction. Has the tought ever crossed your mind that he simply just does not exist? That would explain the pain you are feeling. No loving father would put you through painful events.

  • Tammy

    Wow. You so totally get it. And I’m not going to tell you my situation is worse. It sucks, but it’s not worse. It just is what it is (and I loathe that expression). But you get it. No Eliphaz, no Bildad and no Zophar-like platitudes, accusations or utterly stupid reassurances. You get it. I’m SO sorry for the ectopic pregnancy…and the terrible threes and everything else.. But thank you. Because you get it. And you didn’t talk about reading a book, or signing up for a class at church, or some other useless program when life takes a turn south.

    My question: what happens when you’ve stopped expecting God to answer at all? Because that’s where I am and I feel stuck there. I don’t want to be stuck, but I am and I haven’t seen Him move in my life in a very, very long time.

  • Tammy

    Oh there IS a God. He’s just VERY hard to understand sometimes. And frankly, if you’re not a believer, I would rather you not weigh in on my question. I don’t need the added confusion, thank you very much. And before you launch into your tirade (and you WILL want to) remember…YOU responded to ME. I didn’t start our exchange. But I AM ending it.

  • Stephanie

    I have used that phrase to help me get through really tough situations in my life. However, it was me getting back into the bible and really seeking God to be all in my life and the understanding that He is always with me and that I must continually seek Him. You are right, the phrase makes it like we got this and can handle it. However, we should rely on ourselves. We are not made to be selfish. One thing in my struggles, God shared the verse “in all things give thanks.” This was hard for me to understand at first. Why give thanks for my troubles and sorrows? But, looking back, I have learned and see God’s work with me during those times and even now. Sometimes it’s for us to help others as they see Him work through us and us not giving up to the world. Being thankful doesn’t mean being happy about it. That is one lesson that I have definitely learned.
    I am sorry for what y’all are going through. I will be praying.

  • Eric V

    This is just a guess, but you want more than anything for God to be real. Cause if He’s not, then there truly is no reason for your pain, no purpose for the injustice you have suffered.

    You were hoping one of these supposed christians would have an answer for you, but they don’t, they can’t. I imagine God won’t give you an answer either. What He will give you and wants very much to give you, is peace. But you have to ask Him for it. You have to be willing to lay down your anger and bitterness. It won’t invalidate what you have gone through, in fact it will make it greater because it will be something He has delivered you from.

    Now you can say this is just another load of BS and cling to you anger and bitterness and thats all you’ll ever have. But if you really want something different, if you really want to be free of the hurt and pain, ask Him. Ask Him to help you let go of the anger and bitterness, ask Him for the freedom of forgiveness. He will answer.

    • http://NancyVirden.com Nancy Virden

      The amount of condemnation in these comments is astounding. Eric, do you actually believe that what Nate needs now is your correction? You are mind-reading first of all, assuming a lot that you do not know, and then scolding him.

      And you are not alone. This post and the comments have taken on an animosity Nate probably did not expect.

      • Eric V

        I apologize if my comment was misunderstood. It was intended for someone other than Nate.

  • http://www.artcarter.com/ Ar Cartert

    GOD will allow circumstances to come into your life, that sometimes are beyond our human ability to deal with, to draw us closer to him.

    Sometimes these circumstances are the result of our bad decisions, or the bad decisions of others. Sometimes they are sent from SATAN to destroy us, or they can be a test send by GOD.

    But no matter what, when things are too much to bear, “Draw in close the the LORD. Trust in him and lean not to your own understanding, and he will give you his peace that surpases all understanding. GOD will NEVER Forsake his sheep that need and follow him. He always makes a way, and will see you through.”… :)

  • Mary

    Don’t know you, and am not going to try and read all the comments so maybe this is a repeat in which case I apologize. I have always hated the statement “God won’t give you more than you can handle” because it is a lie and is just as you said, not in scripture. I think God allows more that we can handle precisely because it is often the only way we will experience that He, not we, are enough, somehow, inexplicably. I will not list my trials past or present here, suffice it to say you nor anyone would want them. Once in this journey I had a day where I felt God inviting me to go ahead and ask Him all my “why’s?” which I dont usually do, but He asked, so I did. I sat and wrote and cried and asked for half the day. 47 pages of whys later, I thought He had asked because I was about to get some answers but what I got instead was sort of a movie playing at high speed in my mind’s eye…I saw Noah walk in obedience while mocked, for over 100 years, only to get off the ark and likely see devastation and carcasses as far as the eye can reach, I saw Anna’s husband die after only 7 years, I saw David’s son die after days of fasting and begging for life, and the list goes on. When I asked what I was being shown, I saw the common thread – WORSHIP – Noah built an altar and worhsipped (oh, yeah, then got drunk, another story….) Anna gave her life to minister worship to God, David washed his face and headed to the temple to worship. Abraham climbed the mountain in obedience to lose the life of his only son and all the while he was telling himself “well, God will raise him from the dead” and Abe was WRONG in his guess, but his believing in God was credited to him as righteousness. Abe, Noah, Anna, David, me, you when we are faced with trial so great we can not bear it (and praise God He gives us MORE than we can handle – it is the only way to know Him in such sufficiency!!!) in trial we have 2 choices – we can take offense with God, believe Him as something He is not (forgetful, evil, false…what crosses your mind?) or we can believe Him as something He is GOOD, ALL the time, and respond to all we do not understand or know, all that grieves and pains us, all that seeks to destroy us, with worship. He doesn’t seem to care if we imagine His goodness with accuracy or not, just that we in fact imagine. Worship honors Him as good no matter what it looks like, worship binds your heart to an unbreakable oath that will not take offense with Him but rather, with our own mind’s inability to understand or to know – to still stand strong in the declaration that God is Good. I have lived, and am living, in the place of this impossibility and I do not at all understand how in the face of it I can even say what I say, but grace opens my mouth to say that God is good. All the time, and I choose worship. I have to believe that the enemy of our souls will never take ground when the response to trial is worship.

    • Eric V

      Amen!

      • Frank

        I think most people here are referring to this scripture 1 Corinthians 10:13 No temptation has taken YOU except what is common to men. But God is faithful, and he will not let YOU be tempted beyond what YOU can bear, but along with the temptation he will also make the way out in order for YOU to be able to endure it.

    • roo08

      ” He doesn’t seem to care if we imagine His goodness with accuracy or
      not, just that we in fact imagine. Worship honors Him as good no matter
      what it looks like, worship binds your heart to an unbreakable oath
      that will not take offense with Him but rather, with our own mind’s
      inability to understand or to know – to still stand strong in the
      declaration that God is Good.”

      Yes. Yes. Yes.

    • DanListensToYou

      Wow, Mary, what a gift you were given that day in seeing this revelation of God’s plan, and the supreme importance of worship. Thank you for sharing this… it profoundly moved me… God help us to plumb the depths of what WORSHIP truly is.

  • Audrea

    This may be another overlooked comment. But I think it’s important we as Christians recognize that God does not bring us the pain, sickness and horrid situations in life! The Bible says that Satan comes to steal and kill and destroy BUT God came to bring life, and life more abuntandtly! If we would stand up for what God has told us belongs to us – and who he said that we are – we would enter every situation with peace of the outcome. Of course – easier said than done.

    • Jim

      This is a distinction without a difference. I may not have caused my 3 year old son to fall into the pool, where he may drown, but I am ABSOLUTELY responsible if, after seeing him fall in, I do nothing, or say, I’ll see you on the other side. Death, please remember, is the ENEMY!!!!, not a sweet release. We, depending on our faith in Christ, go to Heaven after death, but death is still the enemy. And there is NOTHING preventing God from removing from all of our lives this enemy’s influence except His own will not to do so. It IS His choice, but let us not pretend He had no other.

      • Rafael

        Actually if God didn’t allow suffer, there would be an eternal unfixable suffer, that’s why He allows it.

        • Barbara Olguin

          Before the serpent came there was no suffering.
          Man’s disobedience to God’s clear holy commandment brought the suffering.

          God did not”alli

          • Jim

            Barbara:
            As I say above, NO! If the serpent came, it is because God created it. All things were made by Him, and without Him was not anything made that was made. How then is the serpent our fault?

          • Jim

            Who made the serpent? Who decided disobedience caused death and Hell? Me? You? No, GOD!!!!!! He has this right if He is who the Bible tells us he is, but even then, we must acknowledge His creation of the same…”and with Him, was not anything made that was made.”

          • flipside

            So if Adam bumped his foot against a rock he would not feel a thing?no pain? no blood would come out? If he jumped off a cliff he would fall flat on the floor and get up with a smile, wipe off the dust and walk away? Then he had the encounter with the snake and the laws of nature completely changed and if you now bump your foot it hurts? Gravity suddenly kicked in and if you fall off a cliff you break bones? mmmmmm….dont know….maybe pain is a way of telling us what not to do with our bodies rather than some form of evil? Perhaps pain keeps us alive in some instances. Did God not create the our senses that feel pain?

        • LARRY

          no God tested us to see if we would be true

          • shainadurbin

            God never tests or tempts us….Satan tempted Job, God allowed it because He had faith that Job would pull through. Satan tempted Jesus in the wilderness, God allowed it because He knew the Son of God would be faithful. After Adam and Eve failed, sin and death came into the world and that is what causes daily temptation. God sent His son to show us how to defeat that temptation. :)

          • Angela

            God does test His people. Deut 8:2. Suffering is a biblical concept and is promised to all followers of God. Read James 2. The blessing comes through the suffering that produces endurance in us…..the outcome is perfection (being set apart). Jesus obeyed perfectly to death on a cross.

          • pennyroyal

            why would anyone want to be perfect and thus be “set apart”? Does that mean special favor? or being seen as having special merit? Spare me from those who see their spiritual worthiness as having set them apart. They can turn into demagogues.

          • Michael__Durham

            your “God” is an @sshole.

          • pennyroyal

            maybe everybody’s god is an @sshole…. just sayin’

          • Bill Bean

            He became sin who knew no sin that we might recieve His righteousness…. While we were yet sinners Christ died for the unrightous. Your blasphemy does not turn the truth of God into a lie. We will all stand befor the righteous judge and I truly believe every mouth will be stopped and every knee will bow not out of compulsion but because He only is the way, the truth and the life, There is no other, There is no other name under heaven given among men whereby we MUST be saved. He gained that through suffering far beyond our light affliction which is but for a season and is not worthy to be compared with the glory which is to follow.

          • Jim

            And of course, being omniscient, He knew we would not! So I say again, why?!!?

        • Jim

          NO, NO, NO, NO, NO! If ANY of what you said is true, it is because HE willed it! Suffering is NOT a given, unless God makes it so. You might be able to make an argument for Him doing so, but you cannot make a reasonable argument for this being anything other than His will, as he has COMPLETE control over anything He wishes.

          • Rafael

            Free Will is the Biblical Doctrine, Calvinism is false. without Free Will we cannot exist.

      • George

        Actually Jim the fear of death keeps us bound to an earthly system when scripture says death where is your sting where is your victory? Jesus paid the price and took captivity captive so that we could have life. It is the fear of death that keeps us running to a doctor instead of to Jesus. The devil using man has put that fear in our hearts. They perpetrate that fear constantly. If we fear death we want to stay here and live were as the apostle Paul said I would rather be with you Lord but I know you want me here as there is much to do. He knew that to die was to truly live. Phil 1:21To live is Christ to die is gain! It also keeps us from living for Jesus like we don’t care if we die. Then we truly become disciples and take up our cross daily. If your packing around the very instrument of your death fear is truly gone.

        • LARRY

          but you should never fear death cause jesus showed us that pure faith is the way just believe in him and all will be made new in faith of our father

        • Jim

          Hello George. Thank you for your reply. I believe we should fear death, as death is now, and always has been, along with the devil, our enemy. God never intended us to be mortal. Adam’s sin and God’s acquiesce to his punishment caused that. God needn’t have meted out that punishment, He CHOSE to, unless you believe He is powerless to do otherwise.

      • LARRY

        god gave us the breath of life to spread

      • ScottTBSummers

        Jim you need to slow up you are coming off like you have the corner on the Problem of Evil. Your arguments are full of Affirming the consequent fallacies and I haven’t heard good support for any of it. There is so many holes in the “Everything is God’s will” argument that I don’t know where to start. Besides the fact that the BIble is full of statements like “Chose this day..” Or “..not willing that any should perish”(2 Peter 3:9)”. God is obviously Sovereign but no where in scripture does it say he controls everything otherwise it would be impossible to sin since sin literally means “missing the mark” and also it means Jesus died for nothing. For a good response to the Problem of Evil please read the following and please stop assuming you have the answer to something that many scholars have wrestled with: http://www.reasonablefaith.org/the-problem-of-evil-once-more

        • Jim

          Sorry, God is either omnipotent, or not. If He is, He can do as he pleases, whether that be allowing no harm, some harm, or total harm.  What even HE can’t do is misuse language, e.g., I will never leave you or forsake you, which is so obviously not true, it beggars the mind.
          And I’ve not heard a single reply that discussed seriously why God ever NEEDED (not wanted, not did, but NEEDED) to punish Adam and Eve for sin, and even more preposterously, allow that sin to pass on to all future generations, which generation had not even the CHANCE to sin.  You can posit a lot of things, but NOT that God has things as He wishes, if He so desires, and thus the problem of evil or pain ANYWHERE is needless.  I submit that NO ONE grows through suffering, at least not in any way that would merit it.  Did I “grow” after being molested.  No.  Did I “grow” after I lost my sister and brother to drunks, no.  I certainly did LEARN some things, but the person who would wish to learn what I did badly enough to see his siblings die is a monster, plain and simple.  I dislike the idea that God wants us to be in Paradise, but only SOMEDAY.  Why not now?  So more people can be saved?  I assure you, many more will die in sin before the Second Coming than will ever be saved.   Most folks, even those who attend church regularly, haven’t a clue what God has said in His word, and many think they are going to be saved because they are nice, never cheated on their spouse, etc.  Have you ever heard a sermon on Hell before?  I have heard one in over 50 years of life, and many who heard it never came back to that church again.
          I’ve not yet had someone offer a reasonable argument for why God would allow continued suffering and evil, especially given His stated plan to end it all some day.  Perhaps you can, and I invite you to do so, but I don’t hold out much hope.
          Next time something bad happens to you that was totally someone else’s fault, try taking the blame for it, especially when the blame is Hell, and you’ll see how awful the passing down of sin from culpable Adam & Eve to their progeny is.
          Until this is dealt with, and no one has satisfactorily yet, I think we are getting a raw deal.
          I do appreciate your response, but it is not convincing, at least not to me.
          Thank you.

          Jim

          • ScottTBSummers

            You are still resorting to Affirming the consequent fallacies. Please go and read the link William Lange Craig gives a very convincing agrument

          • Jim

            A statement can be a logical fallacy, and still be true. I am still waiting for a cogent response to my posts, although I will admit that yours comes closer than most.

          • Su

            The concept of time for God is different to our living time. In the bible when Jesus died on the cross, he said it is finished, not it will be finished. So we are still here
            2000+ years later with the same struggles of life but Jesus solved the fundamental issues of life back then, when he died. God works and transcends our concept of time.

            We judge things to be good or bad based on our needs and wants and how satisfied we can be. Very self-centred we are. God on the other hand judges good and bad very differently to us in a whole different scale. We find pain and suffering bad and evil because they make us being/living uncomfortable. Take people with disabilities or illness for instance like the stories from this page. It makes our living hell because it makes many of us uncomfortable. It challenges us to change some of our thinking or ways of doing because of the pain which can be really annoying.

            As a classroom teacher, having children with extreme “disabilities” or “learning difficulties” can be annoying because I have to go out of MY normal ways of doing to accommodate them. I can be pushed to my daily limits, physically, emotionally and mentally and be challenged to in my ways of thinking. It is painful being stretched thin. Does this make those kids wrong, bad or evil? It just makes living not comfortable which is what we would all ideally like. I don’t know what God would like out of my life. I’m still praying but I know it will be “good” no matter how uncomfortable my life will be. Putting God first before my needs is faith.

            If you and I could decipher God in all of his ways, then he cannot be a god at all. How can I put my faith in someone when he can be “cracked” so easily.

            I have asked the very same question of why just like you Jim. I realised, I was focusing on the wrong thing. It’s not why did you (or are you) allowing pain/sin to come into this world. It’s like asking why the sun has to be so hot. It just has to be. This world that we live in, just has pain and a very hot sun that creates mobile sauna that burns my skin when I drive in summer. It’s painful and I am dealing with it, whether I like it or not. This world is painful and God is dealing with it whether you and I like his ways or not.

            I pray you can find peace in your inquiries about God.

            There are many days where I wish Jesus would just some NOW! because I willed it. :)

          • Jim

            Hello Su:

            Yours was a thoughtful response, but I am afraid I do not agree.  God can do as He pleases, but I can’t fathom a reason that comports with His status as loving and omnipotent why He would delay the return of goodness.   I’ve resigned myself to the fact that I cannot find an answer, which in a strange way, is comforting.
            God bless, and thank you for writing.
            Jim

          • George

            Jim,
            I don’t know you, and I am sure you’ve faced suffering in life that I probably can’t imagine. I’m not going to try to answer every question you asked in your earlier post, I won’t. I could, though. I could walk you through how because of God’s perfect nature he NEEDED to punish the first sin. Or how that even though sin entered humanity through Adam and Eve, it’s worth pointing out that they had the same deal we do: They were free to choose to disobey God. The only difference is they only had one command to keep and still messed up. There’s no pawning our inherent sinfulness on them. I could also walk through why God allows suffering in our broken world, and that he also promises us the we do, in fact, grow through that suffering. Instead, I’ll just point you to his own Words.

            Check out Job 38-40, particularly Job’s response at the beginning of 40 and what God says afterwards. Job, at the end of his VERY long rope, finally blames God for all his suffering, to which God essentially replies: WHO ARE YOU TO QUESTION ME? Pretty powerful stuff, really.

            And if after reading, you’re still not satisfied, then I’ll leave you with a paraphrased thought of CS Lewis “Disagreeing with God is in essence saying that the creator of human intellect can be out-thought by his creation — a river can never run higher than its source.”

          • Geeske

            Hi Rainie,

            A few things: Jesus experienced and understood your suffering. He was and is in it with you. He died on the cross, the most terrible thing you can imagine, and God didn’t prevent that.

            God doesn’t condone child abuse. In fact there is a verse in the Bible that is very strong about adults leading children astray: ‘It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones.’ Luke 17:2
            There is a time of judgement. And God is just. He is gracious if people ask for forgiveness, but He is also just.
            And I’m not sure what His judgement will be, but just because He didn’t stop what your parents did when you went through it, doesn’t mean He’s never going to do anything about it or make them account for what they did.
            All the best,
            Geeske

          • Rainie

            Hello Jim,

            I don’t often come across someone who has such similar views as my own, and I just wanted to thank you for repeatedly asking the questions and stating the thoughts that I’ve had for the past 20 years. At that time, I recovered memories of my father raping me repeatedly from the time I was 3 years old until I was 13, with my mother’s knowledge and consent.

            I had been a Christian before that, but haven’t been since. No matter what anyone else says–family, friends, “experts” like Dr. Craig of the reasonablefaith.org website (I did read the page that ScottTBSummers referred you to and didn’t find it convincing at all.)–it doesn’t make sense to me personally to worship and take any comfort in the idea and actions of an entity that would allow such atrocities to happen to innocent children. I believe that all children are innocent, regardless of what Adam and Eve did.

            I have learned and believe very strongly that the abuse my parents perpetrated on me changed the course of my life from what it could have and should have been–that of a beautiful, multi-talented, woman who could have had much joy in this life and brought much joy to others.

            The abuse and lack of love and nurturing I experienced changed the chemicals in my brain so that I grew up having next to no self-esteem, attempting suicide several times just to relieve that horrendous mental, emotional, and spiritual pain. It’s a struggle sometimes just to want to stay alive.

            I have suffered from chronic clinical depression and bipolar II disorder for well over 40 years, taking medications, receiving in-patient and out-patient psychiatric treatments, and unintentionally hurting many people along the way.

            I prayed so many times to be healed. I got on my knees and said, “Jesus, god, if you will, make me well.” I’m not well, so I guess they don’t will it. Since recovering my memories, I can see why–they (if they exist) didn’t care enough to stop it from happening in the first place, so why should they concern themselves with it afterward? I’ll tell you, I’m a better, more loving parent than that. I would never stand around and do nothing while I knew my children were being harmed.

            I cannot and will not believe that the god described by so many Christians would allow this to happen. I cannot and will not worship or rely on such a being.

            One final thought that came to me as I read the many and varied comments to this blog post: Many people believe that the Christian bible is a compendium of writings of a very secular nature. It’s a fact that they were written over a long period of time and by many authors. On the other hand, some people believe they are the absolute word of the god they believe in. What if satan (if such a being exists) authored all these conflicting stories just to confound and separate those who read them? How much suffering has taken place in the name of Christianity? How much arguing, disagreement, and judging has gone on in the name of Jesus, one who is supposed to be love? There is an abundance of disparagement right here in these blog comments, and many folks refer to the same bible to refute each others’ opinions. How many times would one have to multiply this number in order to represent all the discord created around this one religion and this one set of books? Is this what the Christian god and the holy spirit would have intended in the writing of their scriptures? Just something to think about.

            Anyone who wants to argue or debate my position can save their time. These opinions are mine based on my own personal experience. No one can say that they are right or wrong because you haven’t walked in my shoes or lived in my head. I just wanted to thank Jim and let him know of my agreement with his position and my reasons for it. Jim, I may not understand your reasons for still being a Christian, but that’s your business and I respect your right to it.

          • Geeske

            Hi Rainie,

            Just a few things: Jesus experienced and understood your suffering. He was and is in it with you. He died on the cross, the most terrible thing you can imagine, and God didn’t prevent that.

            God doesn’t condone child abuse. In fact there is a verse in the Bible that is very strong about adults leading children astray: ‘It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones.’ Luke 17:2

            There is a time of judgement. And God is just. He is gracious if people ask for forgiveness, but He is also just.
            And I’m not sure what His judgement will be, but just because He didn’t stop what your parents did when you went through it, doesn’t mean He’s never going to do anything about it or make them account for what they did.

            All the best,
            Geeske

          • Guest

            I am not going to go into the details of my sufferings or the sufferings of my family, but I can relate and empathize with many of the things shared by others here. In my darkest hour, which wasn’t even close to an hour but rather years, I did not hear or feel the Lord in any way. It felt as if no one was there. For me, what I hear and feel does not matter though. The Lord is there. It does require faith, but it is not faith that comes from my own strength or will, (I know this, like never before now) but from God of the universe. While the truths of God’s word have not been helpful in encouraging me all the time, what I know is true and try to hold fast to is that A NEW DAY IS COMING. RESURRECTION LIFE. We will all be made new and ALL will be made right. Until that day comes though, what can we really do. It’s tough, very tough. Deal with it in whatever way you need. Whether that be seeking out help, confiding in a community, clinging to faith, going away somewhere, doing nothing, or even if you feel that you are in such a place that you need to deny God. He loves us all the same. One may not feel the benefits of that now, but it will come, it just may not be in this life. My heart goes out to all of you who have encountered some of these terrible circumstances, but you are not alone in your sufferings. Even though it often feels that way. You are loved, you will be made new and you will be brought through into the glory of the Lord, because of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Do what you can to press on, continue to be honest with yourselves, others, but above all, be honest with the Lord. Tell him exactly what you think and feel. He can take it, and it will not change His love for you.

          • Theo

            Greeting Jim,

            You said a lot. I do not have time at the moment to respond to all of it. But would definitely like to. I am not sure this is most effective forum however. I will say this much. I used to say that we all got a raw deal through Adam and Eve passing down sin to us. However, I look at the Bible in its entirety. The bottom line is that Adam and Eve had a choice not to sin and chose to and it got passed down to us. The thing I ask myself is this. What would I have done if I were Adam? Truthfully I would have sinned also. Maybe not then, but sooner or later. We all would like to think that we would have gotten it right. Sort of like Peter saying he would never deny Christ, but did. So we really are not getting a raw deal. Adam and Eve sinned first only because they beat us to it. Even though we are born into sin. Most of us can truly say that we also have made the choice of sinning on lots of occasions. And we cannot simply self that we had no choice because it was in us. Not if we truly believe in the redeeming blood of Christ and the power of His Spirit. And yet we make that choice sometimes just like Adam and Eve.

        • pennyroyal

          Scott, I am so glad to come across your post. I was getting frustrated with their unreasoning folk beliefs that some people were mouthing. People in theology school spend hours discussing and studying the Problem of Evil. We all have to face it, though, in our own way. And I think that reasonable faith is a very helpful way to wrestle with it.

      • pennyroyal

        there are worse things than death….I hope you never learn this lesson firsthand.

        • Jim

          I truly wonder if anyone actually reads with any discernment what I write.  I am not afraid of death, as Jesus has taken care of this for me by His suffering on the cross.  I have yet to hear a cogent argument on why we must suffer here, when God has entirely sufficient power to change that NOW!   Please address this question, and save the snarky remarks.

          • pennyroyal

            maybe you are a Buddhist. Read the 4 Noble Truths. They are short and to the point. Suffering exists but there is a way not to suffer.
            I have seen people in utter physical agony, wanting God to take them. There ARE things worse than death.

          • Jim

            I do not need to be told this, which I would have thought the constant tenor of my posts would have screamed out loudly.  It is BECAUSE I know things worse than death that I am angry at God for allowing evil to reign here, which it does.  He need not let it, but He does, and other than the multiple choice answer C, He’s smarter than me, it makes no sense, and since He plans to end the suffering some day, even this answer fails.   PLEASE someone tell me why He allows evil to reign.  I am NOT a Buddhist, but I am an honest Christian, which many Christians become once they have a lot of experience with evil rather than just musing over it.

          • pennyroyal

            “your arms are too short to box with god”–I think that was the title of a play, if memory serves.

            Actually, there are lots of Christians who study Buddhism. There is no conflict because Buddhism is not about faith but about living with more awareness.

            If you WERE to guess, within your understanding of the Christian faith, why does god allow suffering? Maybe that is your ‘life question” which will take you your lifetime to answer.

            My reading of Job is that Job goes away at the end of his story thinking God is either a madman or cares nothing for His creation. God acts like a bully, tormenting an innocent man, kills his children and still Job is faithful.

            That kind of God is not worthy of my belief. Someone who blusters about making the mountains? Someone who makes the mountains and doesn’t care for innocent children who die because of a stupid bet, is not a god I can believe in. Nor is the god who drowns innocent children and babes in arms, who drowns every animal but 2 of each species, while Noah, the drunk, gets to survive. (That story terrified me as a kid).

            Is God really smarter than you or is that what you have been told all your life to believe. Believe whatever you want but make it a reasonable belief. See above where some gentleman posted on reasonable faith. And stop your childish railing at god.

            In Taoism they say, “The God that can be named is not the true God.” Just so.

          • Jim

            Hello Penny (if I can call you that):

            Your response is unique.  It is reasoned, and not retailitory, as so many have been.  I am a Christian, and believe what Christianity teaches, except that I do not believe that God gave me a brain to accept any and everything on faith.  Is God angry at me because I want Him to put forth that which He states in His Word that He will?  I think not.  Perhaps I am impudent in thinking that I should even ask the question, but I, again, think not. I believe God would rather have questioning believers, than those who believe because social status, etc. requires them to.  And, frankly, I refuse to believe that any TRUE Christian questions why Paradise must be delayed one moment.  We have brains because God saw fit to give us them, not because He never intended us to use them.  I am hugely desirous of that time when all the tears will be wiped away, and where no more evil will be present, and I cannot see how other can argue I am blasphemous for wishing the quick advent of the same.  I think it is sad that more Christians don’t long for this day, but instead see it as to their credit that they do not.
            God WANTS perfection and no evil, and I cannot see how, nor have any of my responders led me to see how, this can be a bad thing.
            Thank you for your thoughtful response.

            Jim

          • pennyroyal

            nice post. Thank you. I agree with you about having a brain and questioning being important. I’m glad you weren’t put off by my post. I was trying to shake you up a bit, that is challenge you in the spirit of helpful inquiry.

            I do want to question you about the statement that God wants perfection. It is my understanding that the usual translation of the word “perfect” (“be you perfect in my sight”) is more correctly translated as wholeness. That God wants people to be whole, fulfilled, bringing forward their own gifts including spiritual gifts. That can mean going to art school when everyone in your family wants you to go into law. Or it can mean leaving a job where you are not respected, that God wants to see us treated (and treat others) with dignity.

            I knew a lot of student minister at one time and all spent a lot of time on discernment, discerning what God wanted them to do with their lives. Such earnestness, even within me. (I simply wanted to serve, as in I would go where needed or “sent”.

            In the end it was where I was needed most. Not my need but the need of human beings at the end of life for a hospice chaplain. I wasn’t perfect. It was never going to be perfect. We’re dealing with human beings here. But it was done with love and tenderness. “And it was good.”
            And it was healing for patients and families to reconcile with the imminence of death. It had its own beauty and wholeness to it.

          • sara
          • Melcr

            Hi Jim,

            I appreciate your posts, which have shared your experience with suffering and tough questions. I too, have gone through some real shit with raising a disabled brother, being severely bullied, taking care of my mom while she died of brain cancer, financial hardships, chronic illness and pain, etc. For me it was a long and painful journey of losing my faith. I was someone who pursued my faith whole heartedly (I even learned Hebrew so I could study the Torah in its original language), but I found no comfort or help from God though I cried out for years. Eventually all of the reasons that people gave me sounded more and more hollow, ridiculous, and even offensive. I believe strongly, like you, that we should use our minds to think critically. To me it didn’t even matter if there was a God anymore because it made no real difference in my life. For a while I found some answers in liberation theology, but eventually that failed as well. I don’t know if I’m an atheist or just agnostic. I’m extremely self-reliant now for better or for worse, and though I still grieve that certainty of having faith as well as the comfort of believing there is someone out there who cares and loves me, there is also relief in not waiting in desperation for something that never happens. Ultimately I am happier and have more peace. I ended up going back to school and becoming a scientist ;-)

          • Jim

            Hello!

            I guess I have decided that God will do what He wills, and I just need to cool down and accept what comes.  I don’t like it, but I can’t keep being mad at Him and expect things to get better.
            God bless you.

            Jim

          • Rainie

            Hi Melcr,

            I appreciated your comments. I have been through extremely similar experiences, although there is one which mainly shredded my faith, which I have just outlined in an an (I’m afraid) too-lengthy reply to Jim. My faith fell apart fairly quickly once I discovered I had been a victim of childhood incest. It had held up for quite a while through many bad situations, but that was the one that brought me to my senses.

            I, too, grieved for the comfort of believing that, one way or another, everything would be okay. But, I don’t miss the wondering and trying to figure out what god’s will is for my life. I attended many, many bible studies where the participants struggled to understand the meaning of those writings. I always wondered why it should be so difficult. It’s a relief not to have to have that struggle any more.

            I now believe that pretty much all belief systems are good, and that we should let people have whichever one works for them.

            I just wanted to check in and connect with you, and applaud you for speaking your truth, even though we are greatly out-numbered here.

          • BrandyL

            Jim, I believe he allows evil to reign on earth because it is OUR choice. I am certainly no preacher/biblical scholar/know-it-all, so please keep that in mind while reading my answer.

            In my own humble, little opinion, the day that Lucifer felt equal to God is when Evil reigned. When God made man, he gave us the gift of choice. Adam and Eve chose to eat from the one tree that they were instructed not to. Yes, Satan was there to tempt them, but they CHOSE to eat from that one tree…he never forced them. We all do things knowing that they are wrong, but we do them anyway. Choice is why evil reigns. As for why God allows this evil to reign, think of your significant other. How meaningful would your relationship be if they had no choice but to be with you? Feeling love is knowing that that person CHOSE to be with you. Because God allowed us to choose, he still allows it. Like any and every relationship, people will be tested and faced with temptation, disappointment, heartache, etc., but those things make our relationships stronger. We can look at our significant other and think, “Wow, look what all we’ve been through, but look at how close we are now and how far we’ve come!” It becomes a deeper and more fulfilling love. God is absolutely in control, but it’s through our free will that we build our relationship with him. We are his children. He gave us the tools that we need to navigate this crazy, yet wonderful, life. Once we are old enough to understand and accept Jesus as our Savior, it’s like our graduation day. We must find our path with him. Yes, we all stray, but we use the knowledge and love that he gave us to find our way back. It’s all in choices that we make.

            I hope that made SOME sense, at least. I know what I mean to say, but I’m not always the best at putting that into words.

          • Jim

            Hello Brandy:

            You write with more sense and clarity than most.

            I don’t have a problem with evil per se, or even that bad things happen.  The only problem I have is why God would delay Paradise while people die, are molested, raped, psychologically harmed, etc.  I’ve chosen to think that I am tilting at windmills, i.e., wasting my time pondering this, but it still bothers me.  God, being omnipotent, need not bow to our limitations or stupidity, but He does, and I think my free will isn’t so free most times.
            God bless, and thank you for writing such a thoughtful response.

            Jim

          • Eric R.

            Jim,

            I’m going to try to respond with clarity because you almost get it–almost. You’re just starting from the wrong perspective. As is my usual m.o. on these threads, I will begin with a quote from somebody far greater than I…

            “Anything that one imagines of God apart from Christ is only useless thinking and vain idolatry.” -Martin Luther

            I have my doubts that Luther actually wrote these words, but they are often attributed to him and consistent with other things that he actually did write.

            Anyways, it’s no surprise that you’re left with such a menacing God. Even platitudes like “God is love” will mean nothing apart from Jesus. But in Jesus–in His cross, His death, His resurrection, and His promise to return–God’s love is seen in the flesh. Apart from Jesus, even God is an idol.

            I see you talking a lot about God and evil, but in the many comments I’ve read, you don’t talk much about Jesus, which is a pretty normal move. Calvin began his Institutes, and Aquinas began his Summa with the attributes of God. But ultimately, we don’t get to know anything about God through philosophical discussion about His attributes; we get to know Him through His own self-revelation.

            Jesus isn’t just part of God’s self-revelation; He’s the only self-revelation that God has given us. So if you want a better starting point, start with Jesus. Apart from Jesus, all we can have are vague, terrifying notions of a sadistic, numinous being who does as He wills, indifferent to who is destroyed in His wake.

            In response to the continuation of evil in this world, you might not understand. You might cry out, “How long, O Lord?” and “Why have you forsaken us?” alongside so many of the psalmists (and even Jesus Himself), but until He answers, cling to Jesus. He is the only thing that will save you. He will make all things right again in the end. And he doesn’t just save you from evil, sin, death, hell, and Satan; He saves you from God.

            Okay, I have spoken my peace and really don’t have anything else to say. I will give you the last word.

            Peace of Christ,

            Eric

          • Jim

            Your response is very kind.  I am a believer, but one who cannot get out of my mind the idea of a loving god who would nevertheless allow so much suffering to continue.  This idea would not be so awful if God was not omnipotent and/or omniscient, but given that He is, I find it a puzzle to put it mildly.   This doesn’t mean that I don’t believe, just that I am looking for a reasonable answer to my question.  If you’ll forgive me for saying so, God bless you!  :)

          • sara

            I have read your last few comments with discernment, Jim. And well done on not being driver completely batty reading some responses to your comments. I had to stop reading them!
            I don’t have it in me to go into discussion re free will vs sovereignty of God (except to say that I believe God’s arms are never tied. Any free will we have surely doesn’t tie the creator and sustainer of the universe’s hands).
            Why we must suffer here when God has total power to change it is something I don’t really understand or fathom? I wish I had the answers for you.
            Easy for me to say, but I don’t mean to be trite when I say this: Whilst wrestling with this HUGELY significant question, I guess I just trust that God is a loving God who has plans that I have no concept or understanding of.
            But that doesn’t stop the questions (or the pain), and your question is a bloody good one!
            I guess I just write this to say: I hear you. And to offer encouragement. I’m so encouraged you still follow Jesus after all you have been through and still endure. Keep reading his Word, and asking the questions. I think we are definitely “allowed” to feel angry at God!
            Sara

          • Jim

            Well, God bless you, Sara!  You reply is kind and thoughtful.  I am slowly crawling out of my frankly self-made hole and back to God.
            God bless!

            Jim

    • LARRY

      God dosent bring us sadness or pain licifer did

      • flipside

        Same question – Just wondering – if i follow your logic and Satan/Lucifer is responsible for all sickness / pain – did he create viruses and bacteria? surely the one who created those should take some credit for the pain, illnesses and death associated with them?

        • Su

          Your assumption says all sickness and pain is evil. really? are they? So because you harbour sicknesses and pain, you are evil? who makes these judgements and by whose standards?

          • Peter Elliott

            You’re saying two things there as one. Your first sentence is relating evil to SICKNESS AND PAIN, your second sentence relating evil to THE PEOPLE who are sick or in pain. Sickness and pain are results of the brokenness and evil that is in this world, so in a sense they can be evil. That doesn’t make those who are sick or in pain evil. Flipside doesn’t imply that those who are sick or in pain are evil. Just trying to clarify things.

    • Vicki

      God destroyed the world adam and eve offspring are of incest

    • flipside

      Your comment triggered a question – Just wondering – if i follow your logic and Satan is responsible for all sickness / pain – did he create viruses and bacteria? surely the one who created those should take some credit for the pain, illnesses and death associated with them?

    • pennyroyal

      I don’t believe in hell or satan. And I don’t think that a helpful comment. You don’t speak for many Christians.

      • Chris

        Whether or not Hell exists, I think is a fruitless question. It doesn’t matter to me because I am saved. I tend towards “Annihilationism” though, because I know not everyone is saved. That said, Satan is most definitely real. Jesus was tempted by Satan. Whether Satan is a single being, or simply any being that tries to oppose the will of God, Satan is a real, causal entity. A force at work to try and forestall the work of God.

  • Pingback: Does God Ever Give Us More Than We Can Handle? | Calculating Grace

  • http://kellylevatino.com Kelly Levatino

    I appreciate your candor. I mostly agree with you, but have one issue. Check out my blog post about it. Thanks, and blessings. http://wp.me/pdTSX-yH

    • Nate Pyle

      Thanks for taking the time to read, interact and comment! I read your critique of my article and it is fair. The point that we can only endure all things when we stop relying ourselves could have been more prominent. People who react negatively, and there have been a few!, to the article seem to miss that point, even though I believe I stated it clearly. Thanks!

  • Mo

    Let’s look at reality: God created a reality that includes vulnerable human beings. It is also a reality where people can abuse and victimize others. The Bible says satan is the god of this world. God loaned it to satan so we can see what reality is like when satan is in charge. But ultimately God is the King of the Universe and he will reclaim the Earth and turn it into the Garden that he originally intended. If that doesn’t get us to fear Him, I don’t know what will.

  • Frank

    James 1:13 says “When under trial, let no one say: ‘I am being tried by God.’ For with evil things God cannot be tried nor does he himself try anyone.”

  • Michele

    If I think that there is a God it makes me angry. If there is a God he is a dick.

    • Derek Dolan

      Human understanding is an ugly thing Michele. I have spoken those words before. I am about the most logically thinking and critical person there is. Let me ask you, though; do you seek to fill your life with meaning? Do you spend most of your time looking for or thinking about pleasure and fulfillment for yourself? Is it not true that all people of all time have worshiped something? Even the nihilists worship their cleverness. Even the hedonists worship themselves. The Hindus trying to survive in the fields of Keshvapuram, India are praying in their man-made temples. They don’t even know why they worship, but they do. My years in India have shown me this. Isolated tribes have made their own gods. Idols and gods have been a part of every single society that has ever existed. Why? We must be made to worship something if we have never failed to go through the trouble of engaging in worship. If this is true, then we must have not only been made to worship, but to also worship something in particular. Would it not make sense to you that we should seek what it is that is meant to be worshiped? Would it make sense to you that what we are meant to worship would be beyond your understanding and far above you? Would it make sense to you that you could not know it’s plans? Would it make sense to you that it is above answering to you? Do not curse what you do not know. It is unwise to do so. Seek God consistently, diligently, and look for the truth until you have completely disproven Him and His character, and then come back and curse Him if you still believe what you have said.

    • Jim

      Michele, all you’ve shown is the lack of seriousness in your thinking. The people here are truly hurting, or know someone who is, and your flippant, vulgar and ill thought out comment is of zero help. Go post on FB, I’m sure all the teens there will love it.

      • water-ratt

        Jim and Derek,

        I share Michele’s sentiment, to dismiss her opinion out of hand is as flippant
        as her comments.

        Jim,

        You claim that you have not abandoned God. If there was no god there in the
        first place than you have not abandoned anyone, only a false belief. If you are
        truly seeking the truth, it’s time to look within yourself. I wish you well…

        Derek,

        You ask “do you seek to fill your life with meaning? Do you spend most of
        your time looking for or thinking about pleasure and fulfillment for
        yourself?” Yes I agree that this is part of the human condition. Is
        it not true that all people of all time have worshiped something? The
        definition of ‘worship’ involves a deity, idol or sacred object. Neither the nihilist nor the hedonist “worship”. Several cultures are extremely spiritual yet do not worship.
        Native Americans beliefs include animism and panentheism but they do not truly believe in a god associated with most religions. YES they believe in a Great Spirit but this encompasses every living animal, all of the physical world, past present
        and future. We could mince words and argue if this is “worship” or not but that
        would detract from the central issue of Michele’s comment: “God is a dick”.

        Your statement “we must have not only been made to worship, but to also
        worship something in particular.” And the following question “Would
        it not make sense to you that we should seek what it is that is meant to be
        worshiped?” are at the crux of my issue with religion. Questioning the meaning
        of life or trying to find purpose in this existence may lead to worship a deity
        but they also may not. I fully agree that there are things “beyond your [our]
        understanding and far above you” and you admonish to “Do not curse what you do not know” to which I reply: are you asking me to worship that which I do not
        know? I have seen no evidence of a supreme being, this “it” you refer to, and when you further assert that “it” has “plans” that I cannot know, your bias is in
        conflict with your logic and critical thinking.

        I worship no god, yet I spend a great deal of time thinking about the nature of good and evil. I’m trying to life my life as a “good” person. I am told by Christians
        that I will burn for eternity in rivers of fire. The times I’ve been told that “God
        never gives you more than can handle” have been from well-meaning Christians. I‘ve read the Bible and continue to read it, yet it is filled with inconsistencies. How can this loving god be so vengeful? Why did god create us in such a way that “every inclination of his heart is evil from childhood” and then punish us for this behavior? If god can end suffering, if god can defeat evil why doesn’t
        he..she..it?

        Larry, I know your response will be to pray more and trust in the lord, please
        spare me the response.

        If this were truly a test, to see if I am a good person, yes I could accept it.
        I hope by my life here I have done something good. PLEASE let me be judged by my actions here on earth. But your Christian god has a single test;
        accepting Jesus Christ. This is why your god is a dick. It makes no difference what I have done, who I have killed, raped murdered… The ONLY criteria is to accept Christ before my death. Sorry, but your god is a dick!

        I wish you all peace; I hope that you find comfort in your beliefs,

        bob

  • http://gravatar.com/docjoyner docjoyner

    Rev. Nate, it isn’t me to judge what you say. It’s not in the Bible, but I will quote Shakespeare: “to thine own self be true.” If think it applies to anyone who professes to be a Christian. God expects us to be honest and if we can’t even be honest with our own beliefs and feelings, then how can we be truthful with Him? I have been suffering for over two years with health issues, but I have never questioned God. You are correct, I have read the Bible and I too have always known it contains no such statement about ‘God not putting on us more than we can bear.’ I certainly don’t want to sound antagonistic or disrespectful, but I disagree with your conclusions. We can never live long enough to understand God completely, but we need to think about Proverbs 3:5 which advises us not to lean on our own understanding. I respect your views and I agree that part of our walk in the Faith does include a time when we question God and I think that is perfectly acceptable, but we shouldn’t settle on a personal theology of questioning everything God does or settle on always putting the blame on Him. That is not a healthy relationship and doesn’t reflect any Faith in God.

    I think I should digress, I am only addressing what I perceived you to be saying, I hope I don’t accidentally conclude the wrong things about your statements. Second, I am not God. Even if God let me for a thousand years, I would never reach the level where I totally understand all God does. In other words, I am simply expressing what I have concluded in my own heart. I am in no way saying my views are absolutely correct…I have no idea, but I have spent my entire life pondering Christ. I started studying the Bible at age 5 when my Daddy read me and my brother Bible stories. My family also regularly attended church. As a result I have the incredible blessing of always knowing God. It doesn’t make me any better than anyone else, but I can honestly say I can’t give a date when I was Saved. I have always felt Saved.

    I am talking bout my childhood, because Jesus said in Matthew 19:14 “Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.”

    Children see the world in simple terms.. I have a five year old daughter and she is innocent in her thinking. Little children can misbehave, but in the grander scheme, I don’t believe they are capable of committing complex sins. They are new to the world, but I believe they are capable of complete trust. Therefore I believe Jesus equated childlike thinking to those in the Kingdom. Those who occupy it are revived, healed, and in a more tangible way than those who have yet to die a physical death, able to feel pure joy and assurance in the arms of a loving Father.

    I fully admit to a phase where I questioned why God lets bad things happen. You don’t resolve this overnight, but my final conclusion was this: aside from unavoidable illness and natural disasters, suffering and pain is inflicted by one human on another. Auschwitz and the Holocaust isn’t something we can even begin to define (unless you were there). Many terrible things have happened…nations have always warred with each other throughout the history. Innocent women and children have undoubtedly died terrible deaths during such wars. However, the Holocaust is in my opinion the most horrifying thing ever done. In this case you had madmen that were a branch of a terrible war machine, actively and deliberately carrying out mass murder against the Jews.

    Think about this: Did God commit these atrocities or did humans carry it out? The answer lies in Genesis. Satan was able to convince Adam and Eve to eat from the tree of knowledge. Knowledge tends to override an unquestioning attitude. Given that I am a college professor committed to imparting knowledge this seems like an odd conclusion. However the original sin resulted in the following: a) God gave dominion over Earthly events to Satan b) Humans no longer enjoyed life in a carefree and perfect union with God and c) Sin became commonplace amongst humans…we were no longer innocent. God can’t be associated with sin. That is why God sent His only begotten Son to us..to wash away our sins. It is up to each person whether or not they accept Jesus. The New Covenant is all about hope. Salvation is possible through Christ. We still have free will. Did God kill the Jews during World War II..No..the Nazis did it. How can one blame God for events that hurt others when said events are committed by people?

    To see a sick child die, an innocent person robbed and murdered, a terrible earthquake or hurricane destroying people’s lives, or being diagnosed or having a loved one diagnosed with a serious illness…it males us ponder the Why? I don’t have the answers to any of those things. I think it is often the case to ask God ‘Why.’ However, if we are mature and strong in the Faith, that question will be replaced by give me comfort God..’Thy Will be done.’

    We fall into Satan’s trap if we keep asking ‘Why God why?’. It’s exactly what he wants: people losing faith in God or turning bitter and pushing God away. My wife was abused severely as a child, but she didn’t let Satan win, against all odds she got obtained a good education and built a career for herself. She didn’t feel bitterness towards God, instead she turned to Him for guidance and strength to survive. She had every right to say Why God? Instead she clung to God and has made a good life for herself. She refuses to be be bitter.
    Also, the argument about God ‘never putting on us more than we can bear’ ignores two very important things.

    1) I believe in a loving God. However, when we pray we always tend to ask God for his help with our problems instead of asking Him what He wants. God created a world where pain and suffering happen, but He takes no joy in it. Here is my own conclusion: true Faith isn’t built upon smooth waters. We would learn nothing if God acted as a magician who always fixed everything. He doesn’t typically operate that way. I do believe God does perform miracles..situations where a person(s) survive a seemingly impossible situation. Nevertheless, as the saying goes we all have our Crosses to bear. It’s how you react to it that counts. Any attempt to understand Gods Will is ludicrous. He created the entire universe. I think he is perfectly aware of things, and our minds cannot fully comprehend what God has planned.

    That being said, aren’t we all Children of God? I seriously doubt He takes pleasure in grieving/suffering. God suffers with us. Referring back to the Holocaust, it was the Jews who were rounded up tortured and executed. The Jews are God’s chosen people…of all groups to be killed in such a despicable manner I am sure He suffered doubly to see His chosen ones killed by the millions. Also, God’s only begotten Son, Jesus Christ suffered and died on the Cross..was that easy on God? My point is that God suffers with us.

    2) There is no need for the Bible to say ‘God will never put on us more than we can bear.’ Think in much larger and complex implications of that statement. Interpret it this way: Only One lived a sin-free life: Jesus. We often focus on the negative and forget the wonderful blessings God has given us. Only The Blood of Jesus can wash away our sins through His death and Resurrection. It is up to us to accept Christ into our hearts and ask that He forgive us of our sins. Sin separates us from God, it is through Jesus that we are pardoned, otherwise the penalty would be death.

    God doesn’t put on us more than we can bear, that is why He sent Jesus to bear our sins for us. That is what the statement is all about. We are all sinners and thus condemned. The sins are more than we can bear but..in His mercy..God sent his Son to bear that weight for us, if we just ask Him. God never abandons a his Children.

    I respect your right to your opinion and the opinions of everyone who has responded to this thread. All of you are in my prayers. As I said, I am only sharing my views and conclusions from my own personal Walk with Christ. I am a sinner and certainly not better than anyone else.

    To me the two hardest jobs are being a pastor or politician. You are held to a high standard and people expect more out of you tam you can possibly accomplish. I know you have a hard job, but I must admit I am not comfortable with the use of foul language in Church, especially if its in conjunction with what appears to be statements expressing doubts in God. I feel that a place of worship demands reverence and dignity. However, if you felt it was right, and I did it feeling it was wrong, I believe God would be more upset with me.

    It all comes down to this: the only real question we need to ask ourselves is whether or not we believe Jesus is indeed the Son of God and did wash away our sins away. If you do believe Christ is the Messiah just as He said, you should accept it blindly. If you don’t accept Christ, then to you He was just a normal man and the circumstances and implications are irrelevant to you. The choice is up to each of us.

  • http://www.bethmorey.com Beth

    Yes. Yes. Thank you.

  • Philippians 3:14

    If you do a word study on the word temptation as it is used in 1 Cor 10:13, you will find that the original text (peirasmós) means “a putting to proof (by experiment [of good], experience [of evil], solicitation, discipline or provocation); by implication adversity”.

    Word Study puts it this way: “peirasmós; gen. peirasmoú, masc. noun from peirázō (G3985), to make trial of, try, tempt. Trial, temptation, a putting to the test, spoken of persons only.”

    The Amplified Bible states the verse this way: “For no temptation (no trial regarded as enticing to sin), [no matter how it comes or where it leads] has overtaken you and laid hold on you that is not common to man [that is, no temptation or trial has come to you that is beyond human resistance and that is not adjusted and adapted and belonging to human experience, and such as man can bear]. But God is faithful [to His Word and to His compassionate nature], and He [can be trusted] not to let you be tempted and tried and assayed beyond your ability and strength of resistance and power to endure, but with the temptation He will [always] also provide the way out (the means of escape to a landing place), that you may be capable and strong and powerful to bear up under it patiently.”

    The Message Bible states the verse this way: “No test or temptation that comes your way is beyond the course of what others have had to face. All you need to remember is that God will never let you down; he’ll never let you be pushed past your limit; he’ll always be there to help you come through it.”

    In other words, it can indeed mean trial or adversity or experience of evil. The examples you have provided of those that have faced overwhelming trials can indeed seem like more than we can face. I am facing mine now. But there are differences between being unable to face those things and falling on your knees and pleading with God for it all to stop. I, too, have lost someone very close and struggled with it and wondered where God was at in the midst of all this. But like Job, trials can be faced and won.

    For those that believe there is nothing that can be done during your trial, hopefully this scripture may help you out:

    Philippians 4:13 – I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

    Reading your passage and its bold print however prompted me to read another scripture. Col 3:8

  • http://www.edmonddaniel.blogspot.com Candace Segrove

    Hi Nate, My only son was diagnosed with a rare brain disease called Lissencephaly which affects about 1 in 100,000 children (roughly estimated, I’m not sure, how sure they are about this). He is turning 2 years old this July and has the skills of a 2-3 month old, cant speak, cant hold his head, cant communicate, cant drink fluids, has daily seizures, cant crawl or walk…we dont know if he ever will… he pretty much just lays quietly all day, breathes, and sleeps at night… we hope for a miracle and pray for development but each day brings the same outcomes. The story of how my husband and I got together just 4 short years ago, is one of those crazy stories, where we both knew God had truly brought us together to be married. We have a healthy 3 year old daughter and we are about to have another baby in August. All this to say that when my son was born and then diagnosed at 2 months old, all I heard day and night was… “God wont give you more than you can handle.” I was so sick of that phrase, i think I became increasingly hostile when folks would continue to attempt to encourage me with it. As I faced depression, breakdowns, meltdowns, thoughts of dying to end the gnawing pain in my heart for my son… I realized a fact… and it was that… God DOES give us more than we can handle. I’m a preachers kid, so I”ve been churched, went to bible college, led some ministries myself, and I believe in a powerful and loving God, but man, this disease that my child has was more than I could ever comprehend and I’m still struggling with it. People can philosophize all they want and they can break out a million scriptures to me, but I know the raw truth of it because I’ve been and am going through this journey that is too much to handle… and I don’t understand it all yet, but faith is exactly that way isn’t it. I will never say to someone again that, “God wont give you more than you can handle” but I am learning to rely on His strength daily and at times hourly to get me through it, and no matter how long I want to just stare at the scary waves around me… His grace is still more than enough in my weakness of heart when I make up my mind to fix my eyes on Him. Thanks for this post, I wish I wrote it myself!

    • tonya

      Candace, I feel such empathy for you, your husband, your children, your family. everyone’s experience is different and, even with the best intentions, they will give you what they would want to receive. it’s not necessarily what you want or need, but it’s the best they know. your love and understanding for their (sometimes/often times awkward) efforts to shelter or comfort you is a blessing in itself. from my own experience, I can tell you I’ve not been the most patient person with these things, and it can be frustrating, even infuriating. keep hold of your truth, your values, and your love.

    • LARRY

      do you have true faith in God? then believe with all your heart see his gift god don’t take from us he loves us just believe give yourself to him

      • Moktor

        This statement is exactly what the writer was talking about. Caring for people means doing more than patting them on the back and giving them a pithy statement to make them feel better. Candace may be faithful, but it doesn’t mean that she won’t be crushed by the weight of life. Your statement does nothing for her and only serves to make YOU feel better because somehow you “helped” a person in need. It is bad theology and we need to do more than blame victims (you don’t have enough faith) or simply give weak advice (God will take care of everything, don’t worry!) If you want to care for someone you need to be a doer of the word, and not a hearer only.

        -Chaplain “Moktor,” USAR

        • Chaprich

          Agreed! Sometimes folks need to shut up and sit (like Job’s companions before the opened their mouths).

          • Chris

            Job’s companions however insisted that Job had done something wrong. The response that the user made though is more in line with what God eventually says TO Job, which is to recognize the sovereignty of God.

            I would in fact say that Job “handled it”.

      • Marc Omar

        Larry are you a moron? How could you ask her this question?

        • S Grosz

          Larry, I hope you are never “blessed” with more than you can handle because I don’t know that your God could take it. But Candance, she gets it. She lives faith. I don’t know Candance, but I know her God, and HE can take her questions, her rage, her storm, her heartbreak and her ocean of tears and still know she loves him even when she is not sure herself. Her God probably won’t take all her troubles and turn them into the neat package of bippity boppity boo “magic” miracles we all wish for even if she just believes more or trust completely… becasue frankly, that is not reality. that is a made for TV movie. And her God is too real for that. He loves her too much to give her fake band-aid solutions and made for TV moments that ring sickeningly sweet and oh so hollow after the commercial break. But HE will be there for her as only He can, doing and not doing things she will not understand this side of Heaven. And her love for him will only get stronger even in her doubting. And someday, yes that glorious someday, when this life is over, she will still be with him, and “it”will make perfect sense or at that point “it” might not even matter. Stay strong Candace. Don’t ever let the Larry’s of this word discourage you. They just don’t get it. My heart hurts for your mama’s heart. Watching our babies hurt, struggle, or just not get the life we so desperately want for them because we love them more than we can stand, is it’s own hell on Earth. Your are not alone. Ever.

          • Vermonster

            ” And her love for him will only get stronger even in her doubting.”
            Do we sometimes (as in even the best
            of marriages) confuse “love” with “need”? God is said to be All-Powerful;
            I have never heard that (S)He is always
            Right. I suspect that there are times when even God says “Oops – sorry about that. Let’s try again.”

          • JustMe

            Vermonster, apparently you have never read the Bible.

          • Erin Maynard

            What is that quotation from?

      • Virtaul Me

        Wow.

      • Glenn Elzinga

        Larry, do yourself a favour and look up the definition of syntax. Apply it to your writing. If you do, you might at least appear to know what you are talking about.

        • Jim

          Glenn, if you can’t even forgive someone for poor syntax, perhaps you belong at a different site.

      • Glenn Elzinga

        Larry. Do yourself a favour and look up the definition of syntax. Apply it to your writing. If you do, you might at least appear as if you know what you are talking about.

        • jsprague

          Wow, seriously? You’re gonna be that guy? Way to totally get side-tracked from the discussion. Yes, we all know his grammar is awful. Do you feel better about yourself for pointing it out? Do you think if someone reached out to try and encourage someone, Jesus would correct his grammar? Wow…

        • Sherry Adlington

          WOW…..Should I be the first to say A—–e! He said he was a pastor not an english teacher! This must be the all about Glenn post. Only selfish half minded person can turn a post like this into an exam paper! Sorry if I did not spell A-hole right I never use the word. Do you want to look it up for me. It may do us no good as your name may be the definition.

          • Suzi

            I wanted to take you seriously…b/c I believe you are on the right track…until you used a word like bullshit. If you need to use that to make your point or draw in readers…then somewhere, you are missing the point. It’s hard to take your biblical references to heart when a mere few sentences earlier the same pen poured forth profanity. Your words and the references from the Most Holy of Books would hold more clout when tempered with respect. Something to consider perhaps….

      • Huck

        All the bad manners from “Christians” above me. Come on. None of you know Larry and neither do I. But I assume he was trying to help. Trying to offer words of comfort. The fact is, many of us play the role of “Christian” and yet we never ask ourselves “Do I have TRUE faith in God?” There have been times in my life where The answer to that for me would be ‘no’, yet I still was leading worship at a church. We NEED to ask ourselves these harsh questions, no matter what stage of life we are in. I’m 23 years old and most of you are more than likely older than I and will reject my comments here. All I can say is, love God and love people. That is our calling.

        • Karen

          Amen. Christians (and I count myself as one who follows Christ) can be judgmental; judge NOT lest YOU be judged. Each is on their own predestined path. Just love. Accept!!

        • pennyroyal

          No, the Larrys of the world want to pat someone’s shoulder and say a platitude and go on their way. If you really want to help, then sit down with this person and just listen. That takes real faith. It also takes courage and the willingness to listen to all the pain in this person’s heart.
          I was a hospice chaplain for 6 years. I know what’s real and what isn’t. What’s real is ‘God only has your hands to do God’s work” sometimes.

          So sit down and listen if you are ever in this situation. One human being to another and the Holy Spirit present. Let them pour out all their pain and don’t mouth any of your platitudes. To tell someone to Love God more, is spiritual malpractice IMO. Just ‘go there’ with the person rather than tell them their faith isn’t good enough yet. That might make you feel superior and better than them, luckier as if God reveals himself to you, but that is foolishness and self-serving.

          • Huck

            All I’m saying is you cannot tell someone’s intentions just by “text. That mistake is made every day from people who use text messaging. You cannot read body language, see facial expressions, or anything like that. Text and how it comes out is all perception. People perceive text the wrong way all the time. For instance, the fact that you started off your reply with “No,” is something that can be definitely perceived the wrong way. Personally, I feel it means you disagree with the statement I made: “But I assume he was trying to help.” Am I right? Or did you disagree with everything I said?

            If you read more of the comments, you’ll see more of Larry and get to know where’s he’s coming from a little. I’m not saying I disagree with giving platitudes and moving along is not okay. I agree that one needs to really listen to someone, but only with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, just like you said.

            If you read his comment again, he does NOT tell anyone to love God more, nor does he tell them their faith is not good enough. HE just presents a question that many of us should be asking ourselves: “Do you have true faith in God”. Let’s be honest…have their been times in your life where YOUR faith has not been up to par? I sure know there have been many of those moments in my life.

            Recently in my life I have had troubles and trials that have been very hard for me to deal with, although they are nothing compared to what some people have dealt with who have also commented. It has really tried my faith. There have been times when I have asked if God is real, if He really loves me, if He truly cares. I’ve been told the answers to these questions all through my life but do I know them for myself?

            I have prayed many times but I realized I didn’t really have faith behind what I was praying. I was just doing it out of religious practice or because ‘it’s the right thing to do’. “Do you have true faith?” That question reminds me of that time in my life.

            I speak blessings on you, and over your life. Love God, love people. That’s really what it’s all about.

          • Ruth

            The passage that came to my mind is Jesus talking, Matthew 11:29-30 “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. 29″Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS. 30″For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” Sometimes God’s burden may not appear to be light, but I think that He is “not far from us,” and he will help us to carry those burdens. You are right that we often offer little or no comfort for the hurting. I don’t know what to say and I so want to comfort, but offer the standard platitudes.

          • jsprague

            How is it your job to judge whether Larry is this type of person or not? What if he’s legitimately empathetic and wants to help in any way some stranger on a blog post can? Obviously his words did nothing to help, we can all see that. But you don’t know his character.

            The advice you gave Huck is good. You know a great deal about this topic from being a hospice chaplain. But you’re talking about how each one of us as Christians should respond to the suffering people around us. Should we follow your advice and the advice of the blog author in how we handle grief? Absolutely. But that does not give us the right to pass judgment on the character of those who do it wrong. Keep doing your thing, and let God judge Larry.

          • pennyroyal

            save me from a judgmental god or judgmental people who judge in a knee jerk way

          • Chris

            Three is a difference between judgement and discernment, and the reactions to Larry’s post were judgement. It is subscribing motives without knowledge. It goes directly against the sentiment in Corinthians 13 about love.

          • John

            I love! platitudes, but you are right penny.

          • Becky

            When my husband experiencec a complete emotional breakdown, depletion of Seritonin, and depression I learned a new definition of compassion. Compassion is being willing to enter into another’s darkness and mess and not have the answer’s. Only two phrases were comforting for him, “I love you”, and “I am so sorry you are hurting”. What to say, when you don’t know what to say has been and will always be human default.

          • pennyroyal

            Thank you Becky. Your husband is fortunate to have you. Depression is such a bleak place and loving-kindness and ‘being there’ for someone is the best part of human beings–
            that is, humane.
            My husband has a chronic, debilitating illness that often includes depression. I tell him (and others in a support group for people with depression I lead) that others have no idea what reserves of courage and strength we call on just to get out of bed in the morning. People like you and your husband are true heroes in my book.

      • Peter Elliott

        Listen to all of you who have commented on Larry’s post, and I mean ALL of you. Are you all so deaf and blind that you get into a posting battle about intentions and implications after the author bared the depth of his agony and soul to you?! Are you all seriously that wrapped up in yourselves?! Humble yourselves and get some damn perspective on your lives. I can’t for the life of me comprehend how people can start bantering like Pharisees and Saducees or Republicans and Democrats about this stuff. Even though some of those Christians who are speaking in platitudes are failing to help, at least they are trying to help. You just want to be right and prove others wrong. Shame on you. Your judgementalism (regardless of what “side” you’re on) is atrocious. There is real pain here, real pain, and all you are doing is trying to prove a philosophical or theological point to be right.

        • sm1969

          “You’re wrong for being judgemental.”

          That’s funny.

          • Jill Chapin

            We are supposed to be judgemental. It’s proof that we have both brains and hearts.
            We are just supposed to be careful in HOW HARSHLY we judge people, because we will be measured by the same stick. If Peter is asking people to be more compassionate, that’s exactly what he is supposed to do.

          • rebeengland

            WE are to judge people by their fruit. If we dont, how will we know not to befriend, as many times it says not to hang out with the unrighteous?
            We aren’t to judge whether someone will go to Heaven or hell.
            big difference.

          • Jill Chapin

            I’m confused. Isn’t that what I said?
            In any case, we aren’t even capable, and won’t be consulted on who goes to Heaven or hell.
            And I’m even worsely confused because I don’t remember writing this! I’m mostly confused about the Peter part. Did I mean the apostle Paul? Did I mean the author of the article?

          • Chris

            There is a difference between judgement and discernment. Also, read the WHOLE quote about judgement in the Bible, because it does NOT tell us to never judge, but to make sure that we judge righteously (meaning don’t judge in absence of solid knowledge).

        • katietaylor

          You do realize that the main purpose of your post was to prove others wrong by a theological standpoint, right? And you don’t even know their implications either. Congratulations, you just judged people for judging the judgmental.

        • http://www.timothyburns.com/ Timothy Burns

          Peter, don’t worry about it. Three out of four of Job’s friends didn’t get it either.

          • Peter Elliott

            I appreciate what you say because I see you get what I was going for, unlike the other person who commented and your advice is true. Thank you for the reminder and perspective.

        • Charlotte Mcclendon

          peter I could not have said it better

          • Kent Corbin

            Jesus, I ask for your peace to rule over this series of posts and “debates”. Lord, your children are bickering and fighting over one man’s pain. They all know you love them all, so let’s change the way we think, stop judging, and love one another in the way we’ve been taught.

        • moda

          So, Peter, you’re saying that poor LARRY is in real pain here? C’mon, man. The replies, as you pointed out, were to LARRY. And Larry’s response to Candace was cold, patronizing, and heartless. Not to mention the fact that he didn’t even capitalize God’s name. So, how dare you take it upon yourself to cast shame on others. Sit down. Hush!

    • Eliezer De Castro Rabelo

      There’s nothing to say, I can only learn from you. Thank you!!!!!!

    • Skye Kent

      Candace-
      Your comments have struck me with that ever-blinding power of God. I agree, faith is not understandable…and in my opinion that’s what makes us stronger. Having faith in Someone we can’t see or touch when we are physically surrounded with the things we can. I have no words nor the ability to remove yours or Nate’s struggles, but as a fellow Child of God, I will lift you (and your families) both up in my prayers. I know these posts are not new…in fact they are several months old…but prayer is never old or too far away or unnecessary.

    • Mark McChesney

      Very insightful post. Spot on even. We are suffering a few things in my family too. More than we can handle. But others have suffered far more, so sometimes I tell myself that I just need to grin and bare it. But that is a lack of faith. I know that only though Christ can we prevail, and I know that He wants us to let it be through Him. It helps to remember that during Jesus earthly ministry he spent an inordinate amount of time actually doing the “stepping in, acting, making it right, and giving people a chance to catch their breath”. He wants that for you. He wants it for me. He would in fact heal us. He would make it right. He is not here in mortality now, but he did something that showed he would not leave us alone. He values us as he did the people he healed 2000 years ago. He gave the authority to act in his name to the 12 Apostles. The authority to heal, to make it right, to bless and sanctify. There is more for you and your family. He loves you. Find it. Ask Him.

    • Corey Hart

      Your child knows love. Your child feels your caresses and he knows that there is someone who keeps him warm and fed and strokes him. Your child knows there is someone that takes care of him. Your child knows you are nearby. You are his universe of affection and care. You are his definition and experience of love.

      He may develop further, and may eventually respond to you in the ways you would like. But rest assured his brain registers your care and your love and it makes him feel good. I know it still hurts, but that is no small thing you do…to make a child feel loved.

    • Jennifer

      “God wont give you more than you can handle” but I am learning to rely
      on His strength daily and at times hourly to get me through it, and no
      matter how long I want to just stare at the scary waves around me…
      His grace is still more than enough in my weakness of heart when I make
      up my mind to fix my eyes on Him. True inspiration….coming from someone dealing with so much!!! Thank You!!!

    • amcwat

      I too thought this for a long time…God will not give us more than we can handle. But the truth is, this is not in the bible, ANYWHERE. There is the scripture of not Tempting us beyond what we can bear, but trials it does not speak to. After realizing this, I often wondered why would God allow things like this to happen. Haven’t come to a firm answer, but from what I have experienced, true Christianity comes through in the support of your true friends and you see a whole new side of your faith. What must the early Christians thought and felt as they were fed to lions and soaked with tar and pitch and lit on fire for the pleasure of Nero. That seems to be a bit more than some can handle for sure! So, God does allow things to be overbearing, but I believe that is because He wants us to rely on Him more not for a miracle cure, but that he will comfort us through fellow believers in times we can not bear.

    • markgiambrone

      Candice , Did you commit self murder ? Did you walk away from God ?Did you continue on with Your Life with your husband until death do you part ? Do you covet your neighbor’s life?Did you steal someone else’s child that was healthy at birth ? there are 10 of those in all . Did Christ suffer and did he Say we will also suffer as he suffered ? so far so good.I know God knows your Limits better than You Do and You & Your Husband are a Blessing to all those around you.He’s building His character in you for all those that don’t know Jesus .Pray ceasley for More of His Holy Spirit and eat his daily bread and repent daily and ask him to search out your heart for any sins you still carry .Your Son’s Fate is Sealed in Heaven and through Him your Faith in God will Grow see the Blessings . Jesus wants you to see you on His Holy Day don’t keep him waiting .

      • Ellie

        People do not suffer pain and hardship because they have sinned! Read the Psalms of David. He suffered great agony. Look at the apostles, martyred for God. They suffered untold agony and pain in their deaths! They were not being punished by God! God does not punish us, that is why Jesus came, and died, and rose again, to take that punishment from us so that we could have a God of love and forgiveness! Read the article again, and pay attention when he speaks of this fractured world! This fractured world! This is the source of our pain. God loves us, He does not hurt us.

        • markgiambrone

          Ellie, we live in a world of sin and if we live according to Christ and walk in the spirit we will have eternal life but we like christ will suffer because the world hated Jesus and killed him and so christians will also suffer .sin is transgression of the Law which if lawlessness is practiced it will cause pain and suffering. My point is to Candice is that see did go on with her life and as I mentioned she did not break Gods laws because she did not loose her faith.God is longsuffering, patience and so on.Look at Job he suffered but did not loose his faith and we know who was behind his pain it was Satan. But job was a righteous man for he kept all 10 commandments , especially the 4th which is the 7th day sabbath which I am sure Candice doesn’t keep . thus so both the obedient person will suffer pain in this life and also the disobedient person .we are being tested by God to strengthen our faith .the lost child will be in heaven at the resurrection with Jesus. the better covenant is in the resurrection where there will be no pain & suffering.God knows how to sanctify us Trust in Him. God knows are limits better than we do he is the finisher of our faith. In this world there is both Good and Evil and we must live next to the tare until the end.the further we are from the beginning Eden the weaker we are in mind body and spirit.a natural decay but if we live by the knowledge of the Bible we can over come through the Holt Spirit.

          • Ellie

            How can you be “sure that Candice doesn’t keep” the Sabbath?Do you know her personally? Judgement of sin belongs to God and only God. Matthew 7:1 – 3: “Do not judge or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck of dust in your brothers eye, and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?” We are to judge our own sins, and not others.

          • markgiambrone

            God the Father Judged His Son by what standard and He found Him to be sinless and thus because of This righteousness Christ was raised . now how be it that Christ being filled with the Godhead is able to over come Sin ? we are also to walk as he walked in his righteousness and thus being that the very character of God in the flesh is the Holy Law which Christ is also Holy. So Jesus was an Man as you are a woman and we are to live by the very same character that the Holy law teaches us to be such as Christ is . so lets say you were a disciple of Christ in his day and you were walking with Him daily like the others , could you knowing the way of Jesus’s teachings make a Judgment and tell your sister who has a log in her eye the difference between how you live according to the spirit and how she is not ? aren’t you expected to teach the gospel to the whole world ? judgement is not condemnation . that already is the condition of the sinners or the captives they have already been sentence to death . unless they believe in following the teachings of Jesus.and accept his free gift of pardon.Jesus was talking to the Jews in matthew and most of them would reject his teachings because they didn’t love their own savior and ultimately they lost their whole nation and was left desolate.The holy righteous law is what condemns us Jesus died for it and if I point out to someone that they are missing a point in the Law and they recompense they will have been forgiven by faith to those that ask . Now Candice , She could respond and say she does or doesn’t keep Saturday sabbath and is a sunday christian , I used probability that she is a sunday christian as mostly likely you are too. here is the math . 2.2 billion Christians , 1.2 billion Catholics most not all keep SUN day. than there is 1.0 billion Protestants 95 % also keep Sun day . there are 500 sabbath churches in the usa of which the SDA church is one we are the second largest Church on the planet next to the roman catholic church where by we have churches in 203 countries and there is no other protestant church near that figure . so what you can see is that we are Saturday sabbath keepers 18 million in the world . we are the only protestant church that follows the fathers of the reformation coming out of the dark ages.claiming the present truths that have been restored from the reformers . which is as jesus taught and died for all 10 commandments making him sinless and worthy and he gives us the power to keep them and when we fall we ask for forgiveness and we do not repeat the same sins over and over.21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.

            22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?

            23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. lastly post the verse in the bible that says to keep the 1st day of the week. a day Gof never sanctified . blessings to You Ellie .

    • Angie Moore

      Candace,

      I have the same hostility as you do for the phrase “God won’t give you more than you can handle.” Like you, I have heard it many times in my life and it never brought me relief. It actually made me wonder, why would God give me something bad? God is good. He can not give his children bad things, is it in his nature or even possible for him to give us a rock when we ask for bread? Why would a loving God do such a thing?

      You see, I have come to a different conclusion than you. I don’t believe God ever gives his children anything bad. The pain and suffering in our lives comes from our enemy. I can back up my thinking with John 10:10 which sums it up nicely, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” God gives us gifts. God gives us life. However, the enemy tries to take those gifts and that life from us, sometimes even before we have a had a chance to open the gift. When that happens, if we aren’t careful, it can be hard to discern which parts of what we had was a gift from God (for example a baby) from the stealing, killing and destroying part (the disease).

      Our enemy is masterful at deception and distortion. Nothing pleases him more than when we blame God for the evil he is doing. When we are dealing with something that is too difficult for us to handle in our own strength, we can go one of two ways. When we eventually tire from the strain of surviving in our own strength we can turn away from God in our anger wondering why he would give us something so painful to deal with. And it works. Many people do, turn away from God for that very reason. Atheism is growing and I believe this is a tool the enemy uses for that purpose. The other option, is to declare God as the giver of life and all things good. And put the blame for sin, evil, disease, natural disasters, divorce, death….where it belongs, on the enemy.

      I believe and cling to Romans 8:28-29 “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.” That does not say that God gave us the hardship, BUT that he will use all things for good. That is something I personally can cling to and feel peace about.

    • Ruth Latimer

      Your story sounds familiar. On CNN they presented a family whose child sounds like the description you presented. They tried everything to help her and decided to try Cannabis. But, they tried the other ingredient in Cannabis. Their daughter had as much as 300 seizures a day. Slowly her brain healed and then she developed more to her age. Dr Gupta from CNN did the research. Their are 4-5 brothers who grow this type of Cannabis in Colorado and they went to them for the product. I encourage you, if you haven’t seen this,to look it up.

    • Angie Moore

      Candace,
      I have the same hostility as you do for
      the phrase “God won’t give you more than you can handle.” Like you, I
      have heard it many times in my life and it never brought me relief. It actually
      made me wonder, why would God give me something bad? God is good. He can not
      give his children bad things, is it in his nature or even possible for him to
      give us a rock when we ask for bread? Why would a loving God do such a thing?

      You see, I have come to a different conclusion than you. I don’t believe God
      ever gives his children anything bad. The pain and suffering in our lives comes
      from our enemy. I can back up my thinking with John 10:10 which sums it up
      nicely, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come
      that they may have life, and have it to the full.” God gives us gifts. God
      gives us life. However, the enemy tries to take those gifts and that life from
      us, sometimes even before we have a had a chance to open the gift. When that
      happens, if we aren’t careful, it can be hard to discern which parts of what we
      had was a gift from God (for example a baby) from the stealing, killing and
      destroying part (the disease).

      Our enemy is masterful at deception and distortion. Nothing pleases him more
      than when we blame God for the evil he is doing. When we are dealing with
      something that is too difficult for us to handle in our own strength, we can go
      one of two ways. When we eventually tire from the strain of surviving in our
      own strength we can turn away from God in our anger wondering why he would give
      us something so painful to deal with. And it works. Many people do, turn away
      from God for that very reason. Atheism is growing and I believe this is a tool
      the enemy uses for that purpose. The other option, is to declare God as the
      giver of life and all things good. And put the blame for sin, evil, disease,
      natural disasters, divorce, death….where it belongs, on the enemy.

      I believe and cling to Romans 8:28-29 “And we know that all things work together for
      good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to
      be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn
      among many brethren.” That does not say that God gave us the
      hardship, BUT that he will use all things for good. That is something I
      personally can cling to and feel peace about.

    • Jennifer Mull

      When people tell me that “God won’t give you more than you can handle,” this is what I say, “I’m sorry, but I know for a fact that He DOES give me more than I can handle… however, He has never given me more than HE can handle.”

      • Creed

        Just so you know, God does not give anyone tempting things or give you horrible experiences. The only reason anything is happening to you is because you have fallen away from him. Read the Bible . Its plain as day. Here:

        James 1;13-16: 13 Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. 14 But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. 15 Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death. 16 Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren.

        When things happen to people, its just life. Does life suck sometimes, YES! But stay near and he will hear.

        • Guest

          You sound like Job’s friends.

        • Jason Fox

          Seriously? That verse you quote is about temptation. God does not tempt. Test? Why yes, all the time.

        • luberfish

          So you think the only way people have hard times is if they have fallen away from Christ? You are very wrong! I know many people that were the most devout Christians hat hhave endured many painful occurences. God does not promise we will have no hardships…He just promises He will be there to walk through them with us!

          • Guest

            The guest is saying that we brought this suffering upon ourselves with our fall into sin. It is never undeserved. Job’s friends would have told him to abandon God because it is all hopeless. This guest mentioned that you can “stay near and He will hear.”

          • Michael

            We can’t even begin to know how bad Mary suffered watching her Son get tortured for hours on the cross. And she never did anything contrary to God.

        • Hannah

          You sound like Jobs friends and I’ll venture to say even a pharisee. How can you judge what is only God’s to judge? Be careful how you phrase things. I do agree with you about God not giving these things to us. Was the holocaust something God gave to the world? Was death something God gave to the world, or are these things a product of a fallen world. Yes, God can intervene. I have seen Him intervene in my own life and my family’s lives, and now I struggle too with this. I am serving in a country where many are sick and die from renal failure or other issues. I’ve been sick the majority of the time I have been here and even had to have my appendix taken out. I’ve been commanding healing since Jesus never asked for people to be healed, he just commanded people to be healed. We are far too quick to judge why something does or does not happen. We forget that God is outside of time and has solutions that do not fit inside our minds. After reading this blog, I am wondering if there is a place with God that He wants to bring us to. A place of absolute surrender and trust where our eyes and heart lie in peace that He is working all things for our good. A place where we can believe that He is always good and be unaltered by the trials we endure. Or maybe a place where we are altered and have to continue. John the Baptist was imprisoned while Jesus was walking around healing people and going to weddings. John asked Jesus if all the work he did to prepare for Jesus’ coming was true or if he was completely mistaken. Jesus told Him, all he has believed is true and blessed will he be for not being offended at all of this. Still John was beheaded. We trust God because He wants to set us free of fear of this life. He wants us to trust Him even if it means being beheaded figuratively or literally. He has peace to give us that overcomes this world. That is the message we should be giving each other in hard times. “Yes, you are going through a ton of shit, but God is working on your behalf. It is going to be good. I will pray for you until you see it come to pass.”

          One other thing to consider is the passage of Daniel where he fasts and the angel does not appear for 21 days due to a battle he had with a demonic principality. God gave us dominion over the earth. So we have authority to bring His will to pass, there is spiritual warfare going on that we do not see. We have got to get praying in order to hear from God as to what is going on. If we ask Jesus what He is praying, and pray with Him instead of our own prayers, I’m confident we will have a lot more authority over the situation.

        • plateshutoverlock

          Blame the victim. That always works. I wonder how God feels about your statement, hmmmm?

          • Guest

            You think the victim deserved cookies for the way she lived her life? We all deserve damnation. Sorry.

          • Eugenia Hinze

            I do not know who you are but I will pray for you! You seem very lost!

        • BillCass

          Um, the apostle Paul disagrees with you. And I will trust his judgment.

        • Dalton Williams

          REALLY???? well that’s a news flash. this may just be my opinion, (although I base it off of the lives of the twelve disciples eleven of which were martyred and one was imprisoned, Paul, who was severely whipped seven times and then martyred, James, who you quoted and was martyred, Job, who’s life downright sucked, the Israelites, who spent a century as slaves in Egypt, and many other people who are widely considered saints, and did not fall away from God) I believe that Satan attacks those who believe in God more so than normal people. In a sense, the Christians who are devout to God are more likely to go through hard times. It is at these points where we are taken beyond what we can bear that we need to run to God and cry for His help.

        • Albert8184

          The statement of Jennifer is not included in this sentiment – but I think that this one thread contains a veritable cornucopia of bad theology from beginning to end.

          But Jennifer is right – There ain’t nothin’ God can’t help you handle.

          • Kent Corbin

            Jesus is pure joy, and His gift is freely given to all. He’s not a wrathful God looking for people to pounce on (that’s the devil). He stops storms, and doesn’t throw them on people. Jesus rebukes storms, and casts out demons, rather than sending them on people that have fallen short.

            Jesus stops the people from stoning the woman who “deserved” death according the Pharisess. He is a God of mercy. And we are to look like Him. Let’s change the way we think and become people of mercy. Let’s look at Jesus and see His eyes. Where is the mercy there? Let’s take a deep look. Oh Jesus, fill us more with your grace, so that we can show grace to people like this who have been left to die by life’s and the Devil’s arrows and darts. Have mercy on Him, and restore everything back to normal. Jesus, we cry out for your deliverance, family, financially, and health, in Jesus’ name! Thank you for his faith amidst crappy curcumstances, that are NOT HIS FAULT. Let us show him mercy. More importantly, show Him divine, powerful, house-shaking, storm evaporating, rain falling, supernatural GRACE TO INVADE THE SITUATION!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! IN JESUS’ NAME. amen

        • Melody Mabry

          I’m sorry, anonymous Guest, but what you have posted is incorrect and very hurtful, even though you have used scripture in an attempt to back up your point of view. First, the verses you have quoted have to do with “temptation” – NOT with the painful things that happen to people in this life. These things have happened because we live in a fallen world. Jesus called satan “the evil god of this world”. satan is not OUR god, and the Bible says that when we accept the sacrifice that Jesus made on our behalf, we have passed from death to life, we become citizens of Heaven, that this earth is not OUR home, and that we are left here until His Coming as Ambassadors for Christ. In Mark Chapter 10, verses 29 and 30, we read 29 And Jesus answered and said, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel’s, 30 But he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life. Notice, Jesus said “with persecutions”. He did not say that those persecutions come from having “fallen away”, but from following Him. We are told to “take up our cross daily and follow Him”. A cross is NOT an easy thing to bear – especially DAILY! We are told that we are not to be surprised at the painful things that we experience in this life, knowing that our brothers everywhere are suffering the same things. Paul said that he was given a “thorn in his side” that served as “satan’s messenger”. He said that he had asked God three times to deliver him, and that God’s response was, “My Grace is sufficient for you”. If we are to learn ANYTHING AT ALL from this, it is that God’s Grace IS sufficient for all the hell this world and it’s evil god throws at us – if we just REMEMBER TO LEAN ON GOD IN ALL THINGS! Without HIS GRACE we would never make it! In myself I can do NOTHING, “BUT I CAN DO ALL THINGS THROUGH CHRIST WHO STRENGTHENS ME.” I hope that this has been helpful to YOU! I hate to think that every time this world hits you with everything it’s got in an attempt to turn you against the One True God, and make you believe that you might as well give up on the REAL God, that you believe that it is because somehow, and you can’t seem to figure out where, you must have fallen away! THAT is a lie from the pit of hell, designed to condemn and discourage you! Remember, “there is therefore now NO condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus”! May the Lord Bless ALL who have been knocked down – and then kicked while they’re still down – by the evil one! I hope this has brought healing to ALL who have been deceived in this manner! In His Love – melody

          • rebeengland

            AMEN!

        • Dave

          you’ve taken this passage out of context and just slammed your sister/brother over the head with it. Shame on you

        • Mel. Adams

          Read Job dude. You got it wrong.

          • rebeengland

            Job said ‘my greatest fears have come upon me.’ Fear is lack of faith, in the Almighty God. we cant please Him without believing [i.e faith] in Him and EVERYTHING about Him. if we arent pleasing Him, we’ll the opposite is disappointing.
            Personally I know so many people who had a fear of particular things, and/or spoke those negative words (full of life and power), and that fear eventually came upon them! It IS scriptural. and it is Job.

          • Bill Blatz

            The Lord said : there is no one like him on earth – blameless, upright, fears God, turns away from evil.

            No indication of a man living in fear, lack of faith in the Father !!!!

            You can not be blameless and live in fear , not trusting God.

            The problem lies in the understanding of the Fathers character, you have focused on a false premiss in Jobs character. A blameless man, none like him, should we all find Gods description of Job in us.

        • Roger Cooper

          “But as for me, I know that my Redeemer lives, and he will stand upon the earth at last. And after my body has decayed, yet in my body I will see God! I will see him for myself. Yes, I will see him with my own eyes. I am overwhelmed at the thought! “How dare you go on persecuting me, saying, ‘It’s his own fault’? You should fear punishment yourselves, for your attitude deserves punishment. Then you will know that there is indeed a judgment.” (Job 19:25-29 NLT)

        • Jason

          I rebuke you! What an evil thing to say. Christ Himself spoke out against that idea in John 9:2-3. In fact those verses are even about a very similar situation. You misuse scripture and try to apply the concept of sin nature and it’s relation to temptation to trials and tribulations and you do so under the guise of encouragement. Perhaps you mean well, perhaps you don’t. Only God can judge that; it is clear though that what you say is a lie.

          By your statement you call Christ a liar: Luke 6:22-23, Matt 5:10-12. If Christians only suffer because of sin then Christ must have been mistaken.

          If trials and tribulations only come when one sins then the Bible does an awful lot of ‘encouraging’ us to sin in order to be blessed through those trials: 1 Pet 2:20, PS 34:19, Jam 1:2-8, Jam 1:12, Rom 12:12, Jo 16:33, Rom 5:3, 2 Cor 12:9 and on and on. In fact in a lot of places by your logic the Bible has made serious mistakes. James 5:6 would be an example as being put to death is certainly a horrible experience but the verse says they were innocent men. Most of the apostles likewise died horrible deaths. All through out the Bible

          What you are doing is called slander. It does not have to have something specific you are accusing someone of. 1 Timothy 6:4 addresses people that take an approach like yours: “he is puffed up with conceit and understands nothing. He has an
          unhealthy craving for controversy and for quarrels about words, which
          produce envy, dissension, slander, evil suspicions.” I say this not to condemn you but to warn you to not be one of these people. I don’t know if this is common practice for you but if it is I urge you to go before God and make sure this verse is not about you.

          I exhort you to repent of this lie and ask forgiveness. You have become the voice of the accuser. Job 32:3. Who are you to judge and pass sentence? Hold your tongue.

        • hermit_au

          Can’t agree. We experience tragedy because we live in a fallen, sinful world. Christians are not exempt from suffering. God is not trying to make this world heaven. He IS preparing a place where there will be no sorrow or pain, but for the moment, here we are. God doesn’t make life easy for us, but He is always with us and we can know Him as our rock, our refuge.

          God is not yet stepping in to stop the suffering, because to stop the suffering He will have to stop the sin, and that will mean Judgement. That day will come, but for now He is long-suffering, giving more time for people to come to Him and be saved before He ends sin and everything corrupted by it, including people who did not except His salvation.

        • Wayne Bowerman

          You’re a total troll. Probably an atheist just trying to get Christians to start fighting. That you would even post something like that on a post like this shows you to be condemned without a conscience. And as everyone else has pointed out… go read Job asshole.

    • Charlotte Mcclendon

      Candace;
      I am so happy that you got one of God most precious angels,,, we had one too, Adelarain Kasey Richardson… thought for sure god had done it to us again, more stuff piled ontop of more stuff, but I watched my daughter effortlessly day in and day out without wavering take care of our precious angel, and never once did she say god never gives more than we can handle, she said God must know I am a strong loving woman and he gave me one of his most precious gifts to care for him until he calls her home and im gonna do just that I am going to show god he chose right in me… we had our angel for 9 months and 2 days and it was the most amazing time ever, we had a family that was being torn apart by other things going on in our lives and our angel came and pulled this family back together. I believe she was part of his divine plan to save our family, We had never heard of Lissencephly either and to this day we don’t know how it came about but we worked thru with the attitude that my daughter had and it has made our family far stronger,
      I understand what you are going thru as I went thru something similar,,, I had to stand back and watch my child hurt and know there was nothing I could do to make the pain go away and I questioned God and I got angry with God but my daughter begged me not to lose faith and that he has a plan for us and this was just part of his plan for her, it was a hard pill for me to swallow coming from her and realizing that if she could keep it together and keep the faith then I could too… I pray that God keeps his hand on your family and helps you to see that your family was chosen for a reason to have this precious angel,

    • Stephen L.

      Candace,

      My wife and I are right there with you. Our son was born with HLHS in August, and we were absolutely floored when we received the diagnosis. In some way, God can use your story, our story, and countless others, for His glory if we let Him. There is a hurt in our hearts that no one can fully understand unless they’ve been in a similar situation. But despite that pain and the crushing stresses of healthcare and finances, we can still overcome the odds and let our lights shine for Christ.

      If you’d like, check out our story at http://www.involvementministry.wordpress.com. Hang in there, and may God bless you and your family.

    • Nicole

      Hello,
      Your son sounds like my nephew, who was the victim of a botched surgery to remove cancer and he actually died but they resuscitated him 6 years ago, and he is 8 years old now. The surgery left him severly debilitated, can’t hold his head up, etc. I thought you may find hope or joy in reading my sister’s blog, as I’m not sure many people could say that they know of a boy who has similar motor skills as your son. My nephew’s name is Abel and the blog is: http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/abeltyson Much love.

    • Oksana Kaftanatiy

      Candace,

      Thank you so much for your comment, I’m going through a similar situation with my second child and reading your comment bought tears to my eyes and also a feeling that I’m not alone. My son is 14 month old and has a very rare chromosomal abnormality and there isn’t one child like him that has yet been recorded. I also am a pastors daughter. Grew up in a christian environment and attended bible college. I know who I am in Christ and I know Bible from cover to cover. All my friends and family always tell me how strong and courageous I am and that “God will never give more than I can handle” But for the passed few month my strength has been wearing very thin and my anxiety has increased. I Know God has everything in control and I know when “I can’t”, “HE can!” I just take one step at a time and pray for God to carry me when I cant walk or crawl anymore. I pray for you and your precious son, may the Lord give you more and more strength and may you find rest in Him alone! If you want to contact me here is my Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/oksana.kaftanatiy

    • Barbara Hicks

      What growth can we garner if we only ever get what we can handle?

    • Daniel Choi

      Praying for you Candace! God bless

    • Rhanda Bonet-Graham

      Hi Candace, I just wanted to reach out to you and give you a virtual hug. There is nothing I can say that can comfort you, even as I sit here in tears thinking about what I would do if something like that ever happened to my daughter. I will pray for you, your husband, your son, and know that I feel very deeply for you. May God give you strength and I pray He will do something to get you all through. With much love and hugs. – Rhanda

  • tonya

    rather than burden you with my own story, I would give you this… your honesty, reflection, courage to challenge and express your faith… these things are a gift that journeys between and across faiths and helps to create a spiritual commonality that provides comfort, love, forgiveness, and hope. I wish for you the best.

  • Pingback: All I See Is Rocks | Full Contact Christianity

  • Joe Ann Hancock

    I always felt the saying ” God won’t give you more than you can bare came from Job 1, what did Job do? He shaved his head, fell to his knees and praised God. We humans always want to blame God, and forget Satan exists, that he is not in our lives because we are Christians. Bad things happen to Christians too, and it is never God’s fault. The sin we inherited is never gone, and nor is Satan. He is alive and doing everything he can to get Christians to step outside the protection that God has given us through the precious gift of Jesus Christ. It is a blessing to be a Christian, it is not earned, it is a gift. We should all fall on our knees and pray. Worship our God when Satan strikes a blow. I pray now that God will remind me of this when Satan comes calling on me and my family. I pray for peace upon your family pastor. Thank you for making me pick up my Bible today. Joe Ann Hancock

    Chapter 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42

    Job Chapter 1

    1 There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was whole-hearted and upright, and one that feared God, and shunned evil. 2 And there were born unto him seven sons and three daughters. 3 His possessions also were seven thousand sheep, and three thousand camels, and five hundred yoke of oxen, and five hundred she-asses, and a very great household; so that this man was the greatest of all the children of the east. 4 And his sons used to go and hold a feast in the house of each one upon his day; and they would send and invite their three sisters to eat and to drink with them. 5 And it was so, when the days of their feasting were gone about, that Job sent and sanctified them, and rose up early in the morning, and offered burnt-offerings according to the number of them all; for Job said: ‘It may be that my sons have sinned, and blasphemed God in their hearts.’ Thus did Job continually. {P}

    6 Now it fell upon a day, that the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them. 7 And the LORD said unto Satan: ‘Whence comest thou?’ Then Satan answered the LORD, and said: ‘From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it.’ 8 And the LORD said unto Satan: ‘Hast thou considered My servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a whole-hearted and an upright man, one that feareth God, and shunneth evil?’ 9 Then Satan answered the LORD, and said: ‘Doth Job fear God for nought? 10 Hast not Thou made a hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath, on every side? Thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions are increased in the land. 11 But put forth Thy hand now, and touch all that he hath, surely he will blaspheme Thee to Thy face.’ 12 And the LORD said unto Satan: ‘Behold, all that he hath is in thy power; only upon himself put not forth thy hand.’ So Satan went forth from the presence of the LORD. 13 And it fell on a day when his sons and his daughters were eating and drinking wine in their eldest brother’s house, 14 that there came a messenger unto Job, and said: ‘The oxen were plowing, and the asses feeding beside them; 15 and the Sabeans made a raid, and took them away; yea, they have slain the servants with the edge of the sword; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee.’ 16 While he was yet speaking, there came also another, and said: ‘A fire of God is fallen from heaven, and hath burned up the sheep, and the servants, and consumed them; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee.’ 17 While he was yet speaking, there came also another, and said: ‘The Chaldeans set themselves in three bands, and fell upon the camels, and have taken them away, yea, and slain the servants with the edge of the sword; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee.’ 18 While he was yet speaking, there came also another, and said: ‘Thy sons and thy daughters were eating and drinking wine in their eldest brother’s house; 19 And, behold, there came a great wind from across the wilderness, and smote the four corners of the house, and it fell upon the young people, and they are dead; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee.’ 20 Then Job arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground, and worshipped; 21 And he said; naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither; the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD. 22 For all this Job sinned not, nor ascribed aught unseemly to God. {P}

    • Flippedy Nyce

      Dear brother. I greet you in GOD’s love and compassion, and share with you sadness for the difficult trial you are going through, and sincerely make supplication with my LORD to lighten your load, Mercy you and soon if HE will, shower Grace and good health upon you and all those surrounding you. I am not a Christian, but however a Muslim, and I was fortunate enough to find your topic posted online, and if I may, perhaps I’d be able to shed some Wisdom on it, if GOD wills, and while without trying to necessarily convert anyone, maybe some kind of learned principle from my experience and studies in my doctrine can at least help find a solution, or enlightenment in this difficult affair.. Since anyhow I believe any and ALL doctrine originally had the same purpose of seeking to help mankind find answers to life’s difficult choices and problems and find an Righteous path. besides, a lot of our principles in Islam are very similar to the point that a lot of our beloved Christians and Muslims brothers and sisters can most surely agree on many.

      We do have a Prayer in Ch 2 of the Quran towards the end where we ask GOD to not put upon us more “weight than you’ve given us the strength to bear” however, that is a Prayer begging the Merciful Lord to give us from His Mercy some respite and lighten our tribulations, not sure if it guarantees that it will actually play out that way, it is just a humble petition to The LORD from His Servants, but however we, like Christians, believe in tests or “Fitna” as we call them which are definitely going to be given to us to see if our Faith or “Iman” in GOD is strong enough.. A very good point to keep eye on here and take heed to.. And I do love how the brother in comment above used Prophet Job as an awesome example. Surely we will encounter great challenges in life, and seemingly unbearable calamities, but through it, we must please do not forget as people of a Faith, that HE is there!! Through it all! Yes, it may seem crazy at times, and it will!! For all of us at some point! But it is part of life and test, and as a matter of fact, Strength and Faith to bear these things are things are indeed qualities that you can ask HIM for! As for your examples of the Auschwitz survivor, orphaned children after parents dying etc… We cannot judge their cases, as we do have have a known phrase where GOD, Praised and Exalted be HE, says “Indeed I know what you do not know!” Let’s not forget that, HE is the best of all planners, with a more than perfect reason as to why anything happens, and an ultimate plan that is immaculately clever in design for the ultimate good and universal balance that is unparalleled and absolutely unquestionable by the limited in understanding human mind! So again, while it looks crazy, we are just basing our conclusion on the little of the story we’ve seen or heard, but just remember HE sees it all from beginning to end! It’s like us just being aware of a paragraph when GOD Exalted be HE with his Infinite Wisdom and Knowledge knows the whole book! HE knows what he does, and why! Perhaps HE allows something (seemingly horrible to us) to happen in order to prevent a worse one! Or could be test, or even the ill fate could have been something we brought on our own selves! Or an event, even if seems unfortunate to some, may be actually an act of Mercy since HE lets it happen to show some kind of a sign or example for human kind, to take heed and learn from! Who knows?? Only GOD knows!! And remember Lot (Lut) Peace be upon him lost his wife in Sodoom’s destruction, and Noah (Nuh) Peace be upon him lost his son in the great flood. And I’m sure it varies case by case scenario. But in the end my brother, bottom line is HE alone knows the details of every case and every event and HE alone knows its cause and effect, short run and long run, HE is ALL WISE and ALL SEEING, and again we only say this is good or this is bad and despair only because we don’t see what HE sees! Therefore HE knows why his design is flawless!!! Who knows what Great Reward and Mercy from HIM may be awaiting you or any of these brothers and sisters going through hardship right now! Please trust in HIM and continue to Pray my brother, have Patience and ask Him for Guidance and Understanding in the matter and also for Strength to bear it! While this is happening, just do your very best as you play your role in working the matter on your end as well, so in conclusion, while in Quran I don’t know of a verse that says HE will not give what you can’t bear.. Verily we do have another very Powerful verse that reads “Indeed in GO rely all who believe!” (Inna ala ALLAHI yatawakali al Mu’minoon) such beautiful words of hope and inspiration. Peace and Blessings be upon you, and the Holy Mercy of Our LORD on you and your beloved family. I hope my words were of some assistance. May HE accompany you, and us all in tribulations, as dear brother, you are Not alone. Amin.

  • Harvey

    I do see what you are saying and this is something that I am looking into right now. I will not go into the story of my life. But what I have seen from my own life and others is that those who God knows can not bear much he does not overwhelm them. There are others he takes to the limit and those he knows can come out on top after being pushed beyond. Im not saying I’m right or your wrong it is just what I have come to see and understand from my own walk with God.

    It all comes down to relying on God threw it all no matter how small or big the situation is. No matter what is is about us relying on God so it is not a lie. Because if you believe that the word is the truth then you know that it does not contradict itself.

    • Charles

      I agree with you. I haven’t had anywhere near the terrible experiences a lot of Christians have had and will have, but I have been through things that to a teen’s mind seemed proportionately overwhelming. What I’ve seen is that from the point of view we have before and even during terrible, crushing things happen, it looks to us like God is giving us more than we can bear. But if we throw ourselves on Him and become fully open and honest with Him, then we will see afterward just how much He helped us through. It doesn’t change the fact that events and circumstances will pile up on us until we seem (and even perhaps are) crushed underneath, but in the end God will bring us back into the light, in His own good time, and we’ll be able to thank Him for everything He’s done–all the little overlooked graces that He gave us during that time, and the reality of His person and presence, will become crystal clear in hindsight.

  • jim

    I have found that some circunstances are inexplicatble and the redeeming qualities just can’t be discovered. I have become suspicious of myself when looking for (or insisting on) some silver lining. I begin to slip into demanding that the Sovereign God make events resolve on my terms. The only common factor in suffering is that God is near, He avails himself. The nearness of my God is my good. Often, any more than this must wait for eternity to unfold.

    • Jim

      I appreciate your thoughtful response. I do not, however, agree. God needn’t do a single thing on my, your or anyone else’s terms, but if this is true, it is also true that only He can end sin (why do so many find this controversial?) and if this statement is true, why blame the continuance of sin on humans, when they are, by all accounts, unable to?

      And I would also like a resolution of why a loving God would want or need eternity to unfold for, e.g., babies being killed in their mother’s wombs, fiends raping children, etc. Yes, there could be a reason I don’t understand or think of, but one cannot escape the conclusion that He has NOT in fact done so, despite the desperate need. This is all I want recognized, not that we understand everything, but that we needn’t create fanciful stores for why He does what He does. And my view is that a God who willingly waits for eternity to unfold to cure the problem of evil, is a God who is completely inscrutable, at least on this issue, and any statements, including mine and those above, are falsely hortatory.

      • joroland

        Hey, Jim here. If God is completely inscrutable on the ‘problem’ of evil, how do you understand Him (or do you) on this and other issues?

        • Jim

          Hello: I do not see God as completely inscrutable, just that it is wrong to believe that evil MUST BE due to humanity’s sin. If evil will be conquered by God as the Bible says, what keeps Him from getting rid of evil now, other than His own will not too?

          • DanListensToYou

            Jim, evil emanates from the influence of the “prince of the
            power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience.” For God to rid the world of evil now, He would have to destroy Satan and his angels before their appointed time, and then kill all the damaged souls who have not yet found in Christ the power and grace to live a life of righteousness, and who thus would, at least for a time, continue to work evil even without Satanic influence.

            Such an act would decimate the population of the world and
            forever close the door of Heaven for those who were definitely one day going to make the decision to respond to the Holy Spirit and come to God.

            So, while such an act of destroying evil might please some
            people, it doesn’t please me because it unfairly damns countless thousands of people whom I know will one day enter eternally into the presence of the God I serve.

            Think of it this way… what if God had done this act of purgation one hour before you gave your heart to Him?

          • Merci

            This is so true Dan! God created the world and gave us free will. He has a perfect plan. Right now, Satan rules this world until Jesus returns to claim it once and for all. It is NOT God’s will that any should perish, but that all would be saved. But because He gave us free will, he will not go against that free will until it is time to do so, and it will only be time to do so once everyone on earth has had a chance to hear the gospel, and made the choice to accept it or reject it. Then Jesus will come for the second time.God is not man that he should lie or change his mind. Adam and Eve were one step away from eternal righteousness or the death that comes from sin. We know how that story ended. And just as sin entered the world through one man, so salvation is offered to the world through the sacrifice of one man, Jesus. Because of the sin, the world, which was created perfect, is now a broken mess that we are left to try to exist in. Imagine trying to climb over huge broken streets after an earthquake. We would get bruised and cut and wounded just trying to get around. Sin has broken our world. Sin has brought child abuse, suicide, murder, starvation, and all other kinds of evil into our world, and our spirits and bodies get cut and bruised, bloody and wounded just trying to get through this life. Satan came to kill, steal and destroy. He knows his time is limited, and his goal is to take as many souls with him to hell as possible, So he incites parents to abuse their children, and the junkie to kill for money for their next fix, and the pastor to have an affaiir with the church secretary in order to disillusion members of the church who in turn decide to turn away from God because of the failure of their leader. Sin rules this world, not because God sits up in heaven idly drumming his fingers, watching things unfold with cold indifference. The order of things have been set in motion and cannot be stopped without the complete disruption and interruption of God’s plan of redemption for salvation. He cannot give us free will, and then take it back just because sin happens. It must take it’s painful course in order for the glorious end to be reached, Part of this horrible season of sin is the winnowing out of those who will reject Christ and the salvation he came to offer. Part of it is to prepare the saints (those of us who will go on to live in heaven) for our lives there. I’ve heard that our purpose here on earth is to learn to love God who we can’t see by loving those around us whom we can see. And as for the terrible suffering that some of us experience while here on this earth, the word tells us that we have one who empathizes with us completely; the word says that he suffered every single pain that we ever have and ever wil suffer. He experienced every single emotion we ever have or will. The bible says that our tears are precious to God, and that he saves our every tear in a bottle.

            Jim, I don’t know if I have answered any of your questions, but my heart and my spirit were so moved by what you were posting,..I had to reply. I pray that you find peace in your seeking, and that you either find your answers, or peace without them. God bless you dear brother in Christ.

          • Merci

            One more thing…God is all good, God is light. In him there is no evil, no darkness. Nothing bad comes from God. That is straight from the bible. Sin cannot exist in the presence of God because he is pure perfection.

          • Christine

            Evil HAS been conquered; sin HAS been defeated. It has already been done, with the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. He is victorious over sin, death, and the devil. We may now live in the hope of the resurrection, not as prisoners of evil and sin. We live and love as Christians in a sinful world not because God chooses to allow our suffering, but that through it we may share the peace with those who do not know that their sin need no longer condemn them. Romans 8:38-39 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[a] neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

      • joroland
  • Nina Dean

    I appreciate what you have written because I live it every day. Thankfully, my pastor has always encouraged me to have a dialogue with God. He says that God expects it and listens to me. I have lost the one person in this world who loved me no matter what. I watched my strong Marine husband succumb to a horrid cancer that caused him pain that nobody should experience including sneezing and breaking his pelvis in two. But he never complained and he told our grandchildren that he would be guarding the Pearly Gates. He was my strength and now I am alone. I know God has given me more than I can handle at this time but I will continue putting one foot in front of another and praying that some day, I will be with my husband again.
    I have said a prayer for you and your wife. May you find solace in each other and in God.

    • Barbara

      Nina,
      May the Lord bless you and heal your heart. May He fill you with His indescribable love that it may replace the pain you are feeling now with joy. I’m so sorry for your loss. May God comfort you.

  • Tammy Kihlstadius

    The platitude is an outright lie. Of course God gives you more than you can handle. He does it so He can carry you through it and you can rest in His arms. Because, if you could “handle” it, why would you need Him? And as to God being the author of sin and bad stuff, He is completely sovereign over all creation. He “sent” the demon to torment Saul. “Now the Spirit of the LORD had departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the LORD tormented him” (1 Samuel 16:14). God is the source of infinite good and evil is just the absence of that goodness.

  • Kimm

    Having dealt with chronic illness/severe pain for 13 years, I have heard this cliche too many times to count. It’s always said as if it is scriptural. What I have come to learn(through a great friend) is it more accurate to say that “God will not give us more than HE can handle”. Believe me when I say He will pile it on and then pile on some more and more and more…The good news is that there is nothing He can’t handle, but it is up to us to trust Him to do so. That’s the really hard part.

    • Rebecca Cook

      Kimm, I too have a chronic illness (ME/CFS) and I heartily agree with you!

      Rebecca

  • Pingback: What to do when you accomplish your goals - From One Degree to Another | Nate Pyle

  • eternalgreenknight

    Mixed feelings about the phrase. I used to resent it in tough times, but after so much realized that it depends on how you interpret it and finish it in your heart. God won’t give you more than you can handle, with Him. That’s how I like to hear it- the “with Him” implied. Because with him all things are possible, so it’s possible to keep going no matter the devastation, because we are but clay and God has a plan. I’m no Job. I’m no amputee vet, able to smile, though I do wonder to what purpose I must be on lung medication for life, or losing nearly half a million dollars over several years and winding up in debt because I trusted someone I should have been able to… but I know after my periods of brokenness, God would still be there, to give me life, breath, and imbue me with the strength to keep going because every good and perfect gift comes from him, and though it rains on the just and unjust alike, he clothes the birds in more splendor than Solomon, and He will provide, so I am not to worry or fear- the most repeated instruction in the Bible!

    If God felt it necessary to say it so many times to us, he meant it. This life of ours is mist to him, so we shouldn’t worry about it. The pain, the suffering, the heartache- it all belongs to God to resolve- we are but tools- and I have learned the hard way that questioning it is a phase that leads to the indirect and uncomfortable answer: Because… Now get back to doing what I have told you to do, because whatever in the world is troubling you, no matter how serious in your eyes, you are still here to perform my work until it is time for you to feast in heaven, not wallow around in misery forever.

    Yes, weep with those who weep, but we are also to encourage one another.

    I believe this is how you keep going, not continuing to question, but by seeing the answer that we still have a purpose for the glory of God, that we need to try to fulfill, or He wouldn’t have us here still after going through so much. Tell that to those who are faltering. If it was more than we could handle (with God), then we wouldn’t be here- our mission would be complete. So, when you need a shoulder, reach out to our brothers and sisters in Christ for the encouragement to keep doing what we are told to do. This is the church.

    • eternalgreenknight

      I admonish that when a brother or sister offers encouragement this way, that lashing out at them in frustrated weakness, or looking down on them and their faith in judgement, is not righteous.

    • Jim

      FINALLY, someone who has clearly thought this out, and not resorted to knee jerk recitations of unhelpful Scripture! I don’t fully agree with you EGK, but at least you appear to have truly thought about the issue. Yes, God can and does help us through tough times, but this is a very different statement than God won’t give us anything we can’t handle, as this statement is internally refuting. If the statement weren’t true, what need would we have of God?

      • Bill Cordts

        ‘Won’t’ is different than ‘can’t.’ The statement is not internally refuting.

        • Chris

          I claim that “being able to handle anything with God’s help” as opposed to on our own, is redundant for a Christian. We are nothing and can do nothing apart from Christ. We never truly handle anything apart from God, and with God, we can handle anything.

          So why is the statement wrong?

          • Bill Cordts

            It’s not redundant. A Christian *is* able to act apart from Christ, therefore it’s important to include the qualifier “with God’s help.”

            However, I’m not sure exactly how your comment relates the thread above.

          • Chris

            Youre proving my point. A Christian is capable of acting apart from Chris, but a Christian is also capable of acting not apart from Christ. A Christian therefore CAN handle everything that God gives them. It does not in any way suggest that they will, only that they have the means and the “tools” if you will to do so. So even if the saying could be more specific, there is nothing about the saying that is actually a lie or a falsehood. It isn’t unbiblical.

          • Bill Cordts

            Yes, I agree with you. I actually said something very similar in a comment I made to the author about a month ago (it’s somewhere way down at the bottom of the page).

            Again, I’m not really sure how this applies to the comment I made above, which was in reply to Jim. That could be my fault, since my comment wasn’t entirely clear to begin with. I agree with Jim for the most part, (having read most of the comments he made throughout this discussion page), but I think he resorts to an argument for divine omnipotence too readily. I would argue that God is omnipotent, but can choose to exercise His unlimited power in limited ways. So, it is not a self-contradiction (in principle) to say that an all-powerful God *will” not tempt us more than we are able to bear, although it IS a self-contraction to say that God *can’t* tempt us more than we are able to bear.

            Looking more closely at the original comment and Jim’s reply, however, I realize that the argument has more to do with a distinction between bearing trials ‘in the natural’ vs bearing them ‘in Christ,’ which seems to be what you are rightfully talking about today. I agree that we can and do face trials that we could not bear ‘in the natural,’ but we do not face trials that we cannot bear ‘in Christ,’ (Phil 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”).

            Finally, ‘bearing’ or ‘handling’ something, in the context of 1 Corinthians 10:13 does not mean being blithe or happy or in control of the situation, but rather enduring in faith in the midst of trouble. That was the substance of the original comment I made to the author of this blog a month ago (which is somewhere among the many comment below).

  • Jorden van Dam

    I have major issues with this Pastor and with this text. He invalidates his own arguments with the quote: “But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead (2 Cor 1:8,9″

    Which is what it was. For whatever reason, he is under major attack and God is allowing the attacks through to test his faith and his resolve. From suffering comes learning and strength.

    I had to wait 17 years for my salvation, for understanding of the suffering that destroyed my life growing up and for relief from the pain and the agony of the unlife I led. My example could be put in that list of people he said you should tell this supposed weak platitude to. At the time I would never have accepted this Christian saying of how much we can handle.

    I believe the statement is entirely true. because God WANTS US to NOT handle things ourselves. We need to realize that we have him to thank for EVERYTHING. Even the air we breathe! This Pastor goes to say something has gone beyond his own ability to bear, but we are NOT expected to bear things alone in the first place! God will drag those of us who are stubborn and self-supporting until we realize how weak, how pitiful, how wretched we are without him. Until we break, until we surrender. Only then comes true healing, only then comes true salvation. I hope this Pastor will realize his folly, fall onto his knees and surrender everything to God.

    You do not expect anything of the Alpha and the Omega. You do not have expectations of the Creator of Heaven and Earth. You may be glad for the ability to lick his boots. But the amazing part of it all? WE DON’T HAVE TO, BECAUSE HE LOVES US.

    We are unendingly loved and favoured. Gifted with wisdom and power. Simply because he loves us. Once we realize that life is not about us and our sufferings or our lack thereof, we make progress. Because it is progress we get from him. Grace, all grace, is undeserved.

    Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think his complaints are unjustified, even Job was called righteous in his complaints against God. The difference is that Job did not make expectations or demands of God while this Pastor seems like he is doing so.

    If these issues are the height of his suffering, he can consider himself lucky. However, I will say that I am somewhat appalled that he would think to rob people of their suffering, for how much worse it is than his, just for his own argumentation. Breaking down and calling God’s law bullshit is indicative of what state he’s in.

    The statement, God does not give us more than we can handle, is entirely true. Why do I think this? I think this because within suffering comes the temptation fo abandon God.

    God bless you all. God bless this man. I hope a swift recovery from his misguided vision is made and I pray for the safety and wellbeing of his wife and child.

    • http://www.natepyle.com/ Nate Pyle

      Jordan, I’m not sure where your issue is in regards to what I wrote. You seem to agree with me completely. The statement that gets tossed around is “God won’t give you more than you can handle.” That’s the lie. God will give you more than you can handle so that in our deep need we will rest on him. That was the point I was trying to make. Which seems to be exactly what you are saying when you write “God WANTS US to NOT handle things ourselves.” If that is what you believe, then I think you actually agree with me in calling out the platitude as a lie.

      • Jorden van Dam

        Thank you for your responde, Nate. I’m impressed with you, I feel my comment was on the harsh side.

        The more I think on it, the more it seems we agree that we must depend entirely on him. In the best case scenario one never reaches a state where we go beyond what we can handle because by constantly being near God, being thankful to him and drawing from him we are given the strength to overcome everything. In that sense, we will never be tested beyond our capability. Through him, we can move mountains.

        In the meantime, while we suffer, he already has enormous amounts of compassion for us. Blessed are those who suffer. We do not suffer alone, nor do we ask him why he doesn’t save us. He shares our sadness when we are hurt and breaking.

        I feel very sorry about what you are going through, please don’t allow my directness to make it seem like I am apathetic to your situation.

      • Madeline Fisher

        Oh, Nate, so beautifully written to explain the misquote that people use too often. But then you said, “God will give you more than you can handle so that in our deep need we will rest on him. ”
        Nate, God is love. Love does not hurt us. All the thing that come against us in this world—whether they come from our own carelessness or foolishness, the misdeeds of others, from Satan, from the natural progression of things, or wherever else—they do NOT come from our loving Heavenly Father.
        He cannot come to our rescue so long and we depend upon “us”. We must make the conscious choice to acknowledge that we can’t do it on our own and humble ourselves by allowing Him to be God, instead of playing God, ourselves.
        He is there, waiting in the wings, for us to choose to bow our knee totally to Him. He can do nothing so long as we refuse to do that.
        I am sorry that you are going through so much, Nate, but God is not “allowing” it, as so many people like to think.
        God bless you with wisdom, understanding, and peace as you allow our Abba Father to rescue you.

        • Guest

          The phrase “God won’t give you more than you can handle” seems similar to the question “Can God create rocks he can’t lift?” The statements seem reasonable at face value, but they contain false assumptions.

          Someone will argue… “If God can make a rock too big to lift, he can’t be all-powerful, because he can’t lift the rock. But if God can’t make a rock too big to lift, then he is not all-powerful, because he can’t create the rock.”

          One of the false assumptions in this argument is that there could be something greater than infinity. Well what about infinity times infinity? “Infinity times infinity” is self-refuting contradiction in terms, because you can’t have something that’s bigger than everything, be smaller than something else.

          So speaking of rocks, Jesus said: “…if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.”… but hold that thought.

          “God won’t give you more than you can handle”

          Someone will argue… “If God is all powerful, then he could create a world without sin. But because sin exists, God is either mean, or not all-powerful.”

          What’s the assumption?

          The assumption is that God brought death into the world.

          But we read in Romans: “Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned.”

          My response to the argument… “If God is all powerful, then he could create a world without sin.”… is…

          He did.

          To ask, “Why did God make sin possible?” is much like running over your beloved cat in your jeep and then shouting, “Damn that Henry Ford for making the Model T!”

          We are sentient beings created in the image of God and have the responsibilities inherent to personhood. The nature of personhood is such that we care about how things effect us. These are our experiences. If we were created without a care, we would not mind one way or another, about anything, ever, and could not even love.

          Like the nature of God shown in the trinity, our personhood is a shared experience, one person affecting another in a community. Our ability to experience love is made possible by our ability to choose who, what, when how and why to love.

          But perhaps when we are suffering through extreme trials, we would prefer if God had created us in the form of a rock, with no experience of anything.

          And our hearts become as stone.

          So the statement “God won’t give you more than you can handle”, is true, because “we did this”. But fortunately Jesus can roll back stones, and move mountains.

          Thank God, that even though he owes us nothing, he has chosen to love us, to suffer with us; even a shameful, undignified and lonely death. He cares. His promise is, and was, a world with no tears, a world with no suffering, for all those who believe.

          Adam and Eve lost their faith in the garden. They lost faith in God’s words, in God’s promises. They reached out tried do things alone, in their own power, without God. And they lost paradise.

          But God is giving it back.

          It’s called love.

          And it’s worth it.

      • Trustnfaith

        AMEN NATE.

      • LARRY

        have you ever read Job when God let Lucifer have power over job to prove a point ?

      • Chris

        All you are saying is that God will never give us more than we can handle with God’s help. I claim that this is redundant for a Christian. The original statement, in its intended meaning with it’s intended audience and scope, includes that idea. Apart from Christ we can do nothing. This is Biblical. As a Christian, we are always supposed to be seeking God. Whether God gives us trials so that we will always have our rest in Him, to ensure that, is as far as the quote goes, irrelevant. It is irrelevant because we are supposed to find our rest in God whether during those trials or not. God still always gives us what we need, so long as we turn to Him in those times. But if we never turn to Him, then even the mundane will overtake us. Even that which we erroneously think we CAN handle, we will be unable to. So the very idea that there is anything you can actually handle by yourself is wrong.

    • Jim

      Again, the suffering edict is presented as if God had no choice, which, if He is the God described in the Bible, is omnipotent, and can do as he pleases, including having us grow without suffering. I grow in my knowledge by studying, practicing, etc., not by suffering. It is the VERY exceptional individual who truly grows from suffering. Much more likely consequences are depression, suicide, etc. God gets to do what He wants, with one exception – He can’t say love means hate without becoming meaningless, and similarly, He can’t say something He chose has tied His hands as to how people “grow.”

      • CraZy4Love

        But would not G0d have many choices? It is not just make life wonderful or alternatively to make life impossible to cope with. There are many shades of gray as well.

        I may not be enjoying His choices on a human level, but I trust Him to make choices for His reasons. And like so many of the Jews in Auschwitz who would recite the Kaddish multiple times a day, I thank G0d for His being so wonderful.

        Thank you for posting this piece. So many are being touched by the Spirit in so many ways.

        • LARRY

          God gave us a choice and I choice God

          • Jim

            Sorry, if you’ve read the Bible, you did not choose Him, He chose you. We don’t even know we’re in sin before He quickens our spirit within us via the HS.

          • Mary McCall

            Yes, God chooses us through his spirit, he draws us…..it is a hard concept, especially for those that don’t know the Word.
            Nate is right, there are things in life, which we as humans can’t handle, and he will allow those things. However, he has promised to be with us through it all; his grace is sufficient. Even though it is sufficient, God did not tell us we would have an easy life, that we would have abundance and happiness here on earth. This is a fallen world, and although he is all-knowing, we are not! We are not meant to understand all things, but to have faith in his Word. He does say “All things work together for good, for those that love God.” He does not say when, or how this will happen. We just have faith….and in the meantime, we suffer horribly with losses that are unendurable, but for him who is with us through it all.

        • Jim

          God has as many choices as He wishes to have. The only choice He does not have by His own will is to be partial Creator, which He would need to be for Satan to exist, and to have fallen. If Heaven is a place without evil, then clearly He can destroy all evil, and if so, why wait? I never heard a cogent argument for why He didn’t.

      • LARRY

        suffering is the work of Lucifer he gave this testing ground to him hello really? hello!

        • Jim

          Hello?!? Did you think or read thoughtfully what I said before you responded?!!? Is Lucifer more powerful than God, and if not, evil exists only as long as God allows it to. To say otherwise is to make God a weaker being than both sin and Satan. Now, please, read what I wrote THOUGHTFULLY, and tell me how evil continues to exist outside God’s will. Hint, you won’t be able to without making God subject to sin and Satan, or saying that God doesn’t wish to now.

          • Bill Cordts

            Isn’t ‘God doesn’t wish to now,’ a fair answer?

          • Chris

            Jim, the problem with this is that evil is not more powerful than God. In fact, evil is self defeating. Evil is simply the lack of good, and will eventually collapse upon itself.

      • Alistair G MacDonald

        The phrase “God won’t give you more than you can handle” seems similar to the question “Can God create rocks he can’t lift?” The statements seem reasonable at face value, but they contain false assumptions.

        Someone will argue… “If God can make a rock too big to lift, he can’t be all-powerful, because he can’t lift the rock. But if God can’t make a rock too big to lift, then he is not all-powerful, because he can’t create the rock.”

        One of the false assumptions in this argument is that there could be something greater than infinity. Well what about infinity times infinity? “Infinity times infinity” is self-refuting contradiction in terms, because you can’t have something that’s bigger than everything, be smaller than something else.

        So speaking of rocks, Jesus said: “…if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.”… but hold that thought.

        “God won’t give you more than you can handle”

        Someone will argue… “If God is all powerful, then he could create a world without sin. But because sin exists, God is either mean, or not all-powerful.”

        What’s the assumption?

        The assumption is that God brought death into the world.

        But we read in Romans: “Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned.”

        My response to the argument… “If God is all powerful, then he could create a world without sin.”… is…

        He did.

        To ask, “Why did God make sin possible?” is much like running over your beloved cat in your jeep and then shouting, “Damn that Henry Ford for making the Model T!”

        We are sentient beings created in the image of God and have the responsibilities inherent to personhood. The nature of personhood is such that we care about how things effect us. These are our experiences. If we were created without a care, we would not mind one way or another, about anything, ever, and could not even love.

        Like the nature of God shown in the trinity, our personhood is a shared experience, one person affecting another in a community. Our ability to experience love is made possible by our ability to choose who, what, when how and why to love.

        But perhaps when we are suffering through extreme trials, we would prefer if God had created us in the form of a rock, with no experience of anything.

        And our hearts become as stone.

        So the statement “God won’t give you more than you can handle”, is true, because “we did this”. But fortunately Jesus can roll back stones, and move mountains.

        Thank God, that even though he owes us nothing, he has chosen to love us, to suffer with us; even a shameful, undignified and lonely death. He cares. His promise is, and was, a world with no tears, a world with no suffering, for all those who believe.

        Adam and Eve lost their faith in the garden. They lost faith in God’s words, in God’s promises. They reached out tried do things alone, in their own power, without God. And they lost paradise.

        But God is giving it back.

        It’s called love.

        • Jim

          I’m sorry, but this is wrong. And we are not talking about rocks, but the evil that afflicts our world, and he CLEARLY by His own Word can eliminate this any time He pleases, but He has not pleased to do so yet. Why? I’m looking for anyone to give me REASONED argument for why not, i.e., not, “because X has to happen first” which is a falsehood, unless you claim God is only partially in control.

          • mantirig41

            I would have to say, free will. If there were no free will there would be no evil. Once a man or woman gains power on earth in one form or another, satan blinds them even more to the point that money becomes their god and evil follows. This life is a short one, I look forware to the next one with GREAT expectations!!

          • Simon Molineaux-Inglis

            As I understand please correct if im wrong :), God gave us the world in a perfect state.. we broke it and sin entered the world by the actions of adam and eve. God gave us free will to make the choice as to what we should do, we could for instance not live in san Francisco where the sanandreas fault is because that is bound to go at some point, but this is a very blasé point to make. Along the road god has tried to guide us in paths that would keep us safer and away from danger but unfortunately danger finds us all as it is a broken world. I do wonder sometimes if God is watching to see if we all would turn to him more instead of xbox, TV, or any habitual idolatary? are we not fishermen in Gods name trying to show that basically God Loves us ‘agape’ all? the hurts will come and they will go. Ultimately God will not and this is a short time before we spend time with the father. I mean not to be disrespectful in the slightest.. But I do know that I will run to my father as often as I can even now in my time of trouble x

    • Barbara Olguin

      Well stated

    • LARRY

      son God is real and the only thing that you have to do is get on your knees every night in private and pray to our father and ask him for guides and forgivness God bless you

      • Jim

        Why? Will doing so eliminate evil in my life or the world?! And if not, why does God let evil continue to be? Saying I am not smart enough to figure out why God would do so is a reasonable, if unproven, statement, but saying it MUST BE because humans haven’t done “X” is both untrue and a stealing of God’s power.

  • Barbara

    Thank you, thank you so very much for addressing this common, overused misinterpretation of scripture. I get so frustrated when very Godly church leaders not only say this, but preach it. I’ve tried to correct this in people for years. You, are so right! It says this nowhere in the Bible and should not be taught in the church. The consequence of someone saying this is most often hurtful rather than helpful. The person is usually not shored up by it and encouraged in their faith but rather discouraged and made to think that there is something wrong with their prolonged pain in the weight of their circumstances. I know it usually comes from well intentioned hearts. But, the fact is, it is not very sensitive or compassionate. Someone going through hard times needs to know that God is there in the midst of it, but the last thing they need, and the thing they often get from the brethren are Christian cliches, such as this. What they really need is a friend to be there to listen to their pain, hold their hand, give them a shoulder to cry on, and to pray with them.

    “Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.” Romans 12:15

  • http://www.bevygirls.com/ Adrienne

    I
    called the bluff on this BS when our son Noah was dying in a hospital 6 years ago…why do
    people think Jesus went back to the garden and prayed the same freaking
    prayer 3x? The sins of the whole world?!?! More than he could handle
    as a human, but nevertheless, Lord, Your will be done…thanks for this, your candid insight into yours and your wife’s heartache. I’m sorry for all you are walking through and this extreme burden of suffering you guys are experiencing.

    • Jim

      Good for you, Adrienne, if I may be so forward. I’ve lost two siblings, and am set to lose another, and NOTHING explains this except God doing as He sees fit. The only problem I have with some of the statements here (not yours) is the seeming inability of some posting here to connect this to God’s will. I assume they think they are glorifying Him by doing so, that is, by putting the reasons outside of His will, but they are not. God’s will is God’s will, and I HATE some of it, but I won’t ever say that the drunk who killed my younger brother did so because he was evil or because of some magical plan by God to bring goodness out of this horrid event. The drunk was STUPID, and God CHOSE for whatever reason not to counter this man’s stupidity, and my brother is now dead. Those who post otherwise are essentially saying that the evil was beyond God’s control, and thus outside of His will, and there is NOTHING in our world, or anywhere else, that fits that description.

      • Kathy Isaacs

        I’m appreciating your comments, Jim, though I don’t agree with every bit of every one. I’m open to the idea that I don’t understand what you’re saying, or that I don’t have the corner on how the worlds – physical and spiritual – link together, though.
        I work with people who are dying, and in that role I can say yes, God gives us more than we can handle, and yes, I sometimes go home and yell at him a bit (mostly some variant of “why?” for what people are being asked to bear. He hasn’t struck me dead yet for questioning him. I don’t understand any of it, but other experiences I’ve had of him lead me to stick it out just a bit longer, and a bit longer…

  • Katie

    Life is painful. When I see pictures of starving children, people beaten, war, and sickness it is so easy to ask where God is. Why isn’t he stopping this? When I go through my own painful moments I ask the same questions. And it’s easy to get angry. At my most painful moments I became so angry that I swore at God, asked if he is even real, and questioned my faith to the point that it might be easier being an athiest if there just wasn’t a god. The flippant cliches, bumper sticker comments only made my anger stronger. But through all my moments of pain I have come to realize that through all the pain I am feeling and will feel in the future…God is present, and somehow life goes on. I wasn’t promised a happy life, and the stories and writings in the Bible share that life isn’t fair (like we think it should be), bad things happen (even to Christians), but in the end there is a God who loves us and weeps with us.

    • Jim

      Katie, I hugely commend you for your thoughtful response. Life does go on, and you are correct that we were not promised happiness, at least in this life. But you have, God bless you, kept yourself from saying unhelpful things as some have above, how ever well-meaning they may be. When I am hurting, as I am now due to a variety of problems, I get more comfort from knowing someone has thought hard about my problems, and thought hard about solutions, thank I do about the actual solutions, because it shows that these people have considered my plight seriously. God has quite obviously given me more than I can handle, or why would I need Him, at least in this realm?

  • WOB

    Love the article – hits home with me. But why the need for profanity? There are many words in the English Language which sufficiently suffice to indicate one’s displeasure with a statement. Your having chosen to use an expletive is troubling in my view. Do you do it for impact … “coolness or being hip”? Curious … seriously.

    • BOW

      WOB – What on earth makes you think that not using profanity makes you better than another person? Jesus used the strongest language of his day and it was very offensive to plenty of people. Calling you a ‘white-washed sepulcher’ would be appropriate if we take into consideration the fact that you seem to care so much about something that matters so little. In the language of today – just fuck off okay? you are being an asshole.

      • WOB

        Bow, you’re over reaction to my comments, and the use of vulgarities, says all I need to know. Take care.

    • Kaylyn

      In Philippians 3:8 the Greek word there (skubala) is usually translated into English as “garbage,” “rubbish,” or “filth” was considered a vulgar word in the Greek, and literally meant something along the lines of “crap” or “shit.” So, yes, even Paul wrote what the Greeks would have considered a profanity. And, sometimes it not so much the word used as it is the meaning behind the word. Example: if you say “darn” instead of “damn,” what’s the difference? You’re implying the same meaning to each word. Same goes for “crap,” “heck,” “freaking,” etc. SN: I am not advocating that we all walk around spewing profanities, but just trying to make the point that, sometimes, these strong words can have an appropriate time and place to be used if one chooses to do so.

  • bawade

    Thanks for the post. Very insightful. I have posted my own reflections on this saying on my blog. Hope you have the chance to read it and tell me what you think.

    http://thewordfromb.typepad.com/blog/2013/06/yes-god-does-he-knows-just-how-much-we-can-bear.html

  • Budd Dunson

    I am so glad to see someone else say this. God frequently puts on us more than we can stand; to teach us brokenesss before Him. When we realize we can’t handle everything God becomes the one who can handle everything.

  • Polly Anna Watson

    That platitude has always bothered me. I’ve shouted at God quite a few times over the years that I’ve had ENOUGH. I know I have. 1 stillbirth, 2 miscarriages, loss of an ovary, surgery that means I’ll never have any more children, severe diverticulitis–on my deathbed–had to have emergency surgery to save my life, marriage problems, depression, and most recently, stomach issues (throwing up every day–often several times a day). I’m DONE. And I’ve shared with Him how DONE I am…..Regardless, I will remain faithful because HE is faithful. When I am weak, He is my strength. Even though my armor is damaged and looks like it’s been through the worst battles ever, it is still on….with His strength, I am still standing…..

    • DanListensToYou

      Polly, I don’t think you or any of us have even the slightest idea how very pleased words like yours make our Heavenly Father. You are “more than a conqueror.” You have seen what cannot be seen, tapped into the secret of the universe, and found that “anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast and one which enters within the veil…”

  • Ivan

    Actually, for me this teaching is simply to say “AWFUL” but in the Biblical way, so it’s really AWFUL! SUPER AWFUL! I have believed in God since I was born and for 20 Years been in the Church, but I really honestly cannot say that It had changed my life for a bit. Now I’m 36 years old, very depressed, without Job and the real future, I started so many times from the very beginning in my life, thinking of God’s power and Jesus love and that nothing is impossible to Him. But the sad, very sad truth is that there is no God’s love except for the chosen, nobody would tell You that. Even when I managed to pray with all of my heart, with the every bit of respect and honesty, God did not answered in a real way He had promised. Instead of that, sometimes He would send something which would look as the “help”, but in the short period of time it would turn that it was just a fake hope and It always pulled me more deeper and deeper. And it gets harder and harder every time to stand up after this “help”. I’m sure we have to Obey and to Glory God Almighty in the Heavens, but if the Glory, Hope and Obey is just because of the fear that He can destroy everything in seconds and send us to Hell if we do not Obey, Glory and Hoper, then it’s no more a God for me than a sadist and I openly say that because I’m fed of constant huge disappointments in life. And please do not give me that satan shit over this, because satan shivers as a reed on a wind before God, it’s the GOD that is in command not satan. Only GOD! But people. SOMETHINGS VERY WRONG!

    • Merci

      Ivan, my heart hurts for you and the disappointment you have experienced in your search for and journey with God. I will be praying for you, for everything…relief from your depression, the acquisition of a fulfiilling job and a real hope for your future. Most of all, I pray that God’s love will become real to you, and something that will be appealing to you once again. God and Jesus love you always, as do I! Bless you dear brother!

    • Kathy Thompson Ellis

      Ivan… Maybe you could revisit the teachings with a mind more open to hearing what God is truly saying to you instead of what society or any one pastor is saying. Platitudes are useless. Only Christ is the answer to suffering. He is reality. Christianity is not about being good or bad. Christianity is about Jesus Christ and your relationship with Him. Believe me or not, asking Jesus Christ to be your Savior and to live ‘ in ‘ you will change you forever. There is no way for a Christian to explain what happens inside. There is a change. It is a definite, unmistakeable, undeniable transformation. Once it happens, you will never want to lose it.

  • a fellow sufferer

    Coincidently this blog was posted one year and one day after my fiancé – who had survived a blinding and disfiguring gunshot wound to the face at 17 and fought his way back from near-death to being two months away from graduating with honors from a university and who was already accepted into graduate school – suffered a negative reaction to a prescribed steroid medication for a sinus infection and suddenly and unexpectedly took his life. In his final moments, this young man I loved who had overcome so much and inspired so many was indeed given more than he could bear. His death is nearly more than I can bear – still. Whoever the giver – be it God or Satan or Santa – it was too much. With someone for whom He had such a great plan and purpose, I doubt my God would play Russian roulette with my fiancé’s life on a Saturday night just for kicks; certainly not after saving it day after grueling day for the months he spent in intensive care or during the 21 surgeries he endured for years afterward.

    Something I have learned since my fiancé’s death is that these “Christians” with their fortune cookie platitudes are also the first to disappear when the situation becomes more than THEY can bear. Hence the need for such a dismissive cliché in the first place: they have to say something while they are handing you their plate of brownies before they run for the door. 16 months later my faith remains despite these despots who take my Lord’s name in vain by claiming to be “of Him”. This is the faith my God has given me: that He is not of them, and His truth cannot be contorted by them. My God does not throw at us suffering like candy during a parade. The suffering came as a consequence of Adam’s first sin long ago. What God gives us is strength during suffering to take that breath, to speak that truth, to write that blog.

    Thank you, Mr. Pyle, for sharing your pain – and in that your strength – with us.

    • http://www.warrenbaldwin.blogspot.com/ Warren Baldwin

      Powerful statement, Fellow Sufferer. I’m sorry for your painful experience, and thank you for sharing it and your thoughts so honestly.

    • Melissa Burns Royster

      yeah, what Warren said. Gulp.

    • char

      I was praying for you before I reached the end of your post, fellow sufferer. Praise the Lord that you have hung on to your faith despite the cruelty of circumstance and world. God is good. All the time. These circumstances do not change the goodness of God. Those are what I repeat when things are hard. I know our heavenly Father is so proud of your choices- your sacrifice of praise through pain. Be blessed, and be a blessing. You have blessed many just by sharing your story here. <3

    • Laurie-Anne

      wow very well said.

    • jsprague

      Ditto the words of everyone else who’s replied to your post. I admire your courage and certainly don’t envy what you’ve had to endure. I know if my wife were taken from me, I would be brought to my breaking point. That would most definitely be more than I could bear. Thank you for sharing, and I pray God continues to strengthen and bless you as you continue to work through your grief.

      I would like to bring up one thing that’s bothered me reading through a lot of these blog posts, and which some people have touched on already. I cringe when I see people so quick to judge the intentions of their brothers and sisters in Christ. What you said about Christians and their “fortune cookie platitudes” is certainly valid. I know how easy it is for people to spout some cliche and feel better about themselves for having said it. But I would caution you not to pass that judgment yourself. Even the ones who are under the misconception that God won’t give you more than you can handle, are often very well-meaning saints who only want to help in any way they can. I know their words don’t help, and may even be infuriating for someone overwhelmed with grief. But as difficult as it may be, I think the appropriate response is to be thankful for their efforts to encourage, and to let God judge the intentions behind their actions. I don’t think the author of this blog is telling us we should condemn those we feel are fake. He’s telling us we need to look at our own hearts and maybe rethink the way we handle our own pain, and how we respond to those around us who are grieving.

      All that being said, take what I’ve said with a grain of salt. I’m a young adult who hasn’t had to deal with tragedy on the level you have. But as someone who’s been in the situation where you want to give comfort to a friend in pain, and not always knowing how best to respond, I think we all need to give each other grace and resist the urge to judge hearts.

    • RWP

      Fellow Sufferer,

      I was just about to post on this thread when I read your post and it so perfectly said what I wanted to say that God is not the giver of suffering.

      Clearly we get more than we can handle or nobody would have ever had to die for their faith.

      I am sorry for your suffering. And I am blessed by the strength of your faith and the transparency of Mr. Pyle. I have been through a lot in my life as well. I l have given 3 eulogies before age 50, 2 for people younger than me. I watched my dad (closest friend) waste away to nothing and die of cancer. We lost would would have been our 2nd of 3 children to an ectopic pregnancy, and I am 2 months removed from surgery to remove my cancer that was diagnosed in March of this year.

      I don’t think any of it came from God. And I don’t think my suffering is nearly as bad as so many others. But I do know, and I have seen, God work good out of those terrible situations. And speaking only for myself, I think God wants us to ask those tough questions regardless of whether he chooses to answer.

    • Dorcas George

      I weep for the loss….I’m so sorry. :(

  • Trish Thornley

    From the isolation of my own front room, I have shouted this exact sentiment at Christians for the past 10 years. Not many have heard…….. When faced with the option of aborting my third child (that I believed God had given to us) or carrying on with our pregnancy regardless, I hated hearing “God has a plan” and “all things work together for the good of those who love God”………strange sentiments those!!! Then when I went on to have a total mental breakdown and severe post natal depression losing all sight and sound of God during this time…….I became totally disgusted by those similar Christian sentiments!!! The rediculous statement “God wont give you more than you can handle” meant nothing to me when I couldnt sleep, eat and the anxiety levels were consuming my every breath!!! Its such a load of B******* to say that to someone who is living a life of total torture every day!! I told God so many times “OK this is as far as it goes, I cannot take any more, stop it now”!!!! But surely this implies that it is God himself that is handing out “a form of torture” to his children!!! During the last 10 years I have totally changed my view of God and his creation. God is good, all the time, regardless of what LIFE (not God) throws at us!! He is not trying to test us, shape up and bring suffering into our lives to teach us something…………….this is one of the biggest lies the church has believed!!

    • Jim

      Hello Trish:
      Another thinker;good for you!

      I don’t think God wishes evil on others, but it is axiomatic that a omnipotent God can stop any evil He wishes to, so He clearly didn’t wish to (for whatever reason) in my case, and presumably in yours. There may be reasons for this, but none that come to mind (and I’ve been thinking on this for the over 30 years since this happened) that have even a scintilla of sense to them.

      I have not abandoned God, but I do feel that given what I read here, and what has happened in my life, and the lives of those I know and love, that I need to revisit my beliefs, as while some of them are comforting, not all of them make sense Scripturally, and some, IMO, reduce God’s omnipotence, though for ostensibly “good” reasons.

  • BGEER

    God doesn’t put anything on you that you can’t handle is quite true. I mean, you get through things right? You may be different when you do, and carry pain around with you forever, but you get through it.

  • Jim

    Oh my goodness, please. If God wishes to use a “can’t grow without pain” schematic for his creation, that is His business, but let us not pretend that it HAS to be this way. There is NOTHING God cannot do, and if He wished us to grow without suffering, it could have been done by Him instantaneously. He chose not to (please focus on “CHOSE”!) not to do so, for whatever reason. Let us not treat this choice of His as needful; He chose it, and that’s the way it is. He might just as well have chosen (again, He is in control, and can do what He wishes) to confront the creation of evil when our original parents disobeyed Him with instant and complete forgiveness, done deal. He chose otherwise, which is His choice, but then we cannot pretend that suffering is needful, as it is not, unless He wills it. I find it somewhat silly to hear Christians say God can do anything, and then diminish Him by saying that, “Well, humans are evil, so God has no choice but to let us suffer!” Baloney, God can do as He pleases with any circumstance. If He chooses our suffering as the mode of “repair’, that is His business, but we are not required as a result to view it as fait accompli, it is simply what He chose. Ask yourself if your earthly father would choose this for you, if he had the option, and then ask yourself why the infinitesimally more holy and powerful God would choose otherwise, keeping in mind always that He can set up the “game” any way He wishes, and need not be bound by anything other than HIs own will.

    • Derek Dolan

      God gave man free will when He set the one rule in the garden of Eden. Otherwise, God would have defeated His own purpose in the creation of man. God didn’t want robots to chime back to Him whatever He told them to say. We are not mindless beings, and we are not devoid of emotion. WE are to choose Him, and without suffering, we would all most definitely choose Him. Suffering not only weeds out the foolish and stubborn, but it does grow us closer to God. Why would I care how close I am to God if there is nothing that ever tests my faith? I would coast through life, and take my place among the other zombies in Heaven when I died. Your earthly father is an idiot and a fool, and he would not think the same way as the Almighty God. Therefore, I will not look to my earthly father to demonstrate God to me, but I will see Him for myself.

      • Jim

        Hello Derek:

        I am sorry, but none of this addresses my problems. Free will does NOT require sin, otherwise, are we to be robots in Heaven? God can do as He pleases, and it is time we faced the fact that what pleased was NOT a sinless world, or He could have easily made it that way without making us all robots. As for suffering as a tool to draw us closer to Him, why? Is God not smart enough to figure out some other way to do this? My wife doesn’t cause me suffering, and I love her dearly. Be honest, when has someone causing you to suffer, or ignoring your suffering caused you to draw closer to him or her? Honestly.
        And God created man with free will, but you still don’t address why this makes the possibility of sin a necessity. It isn’t. And how much like a robot is it to “love” God because you’ll burn forever in Hell if you don’t? If I point a gun at your head and say, “Tell me your name, or I’ll shoot you,” are you to be considered a person of free will if you tell me your name? I think so, just not a stupid one who would, as a test of his free will, decide to be shot.

        Someone PLEASE tell me why God MUST have introduced sin into this world, or even the chance of it (Tree of the Knowledge of Good & Evil) for us not to be robots? And why is being a robot worse than going to Hell? Instead of thoughtful answers, I get Christian fill in the blank boilerplate. Read Luther’s “Bondage of the Will” sometime, if you can make all the way through, and then we’ll discuss free will. If the folks here can’t or won’t resort to something more than a Christian “Wheel of Fortune” to decide how to reply to my serious questions, than perhaps I won’t find what I am looking for here, which are REAL answers to my questions. Ex. – there is sin in the world because God WANTED IT, the reason being beyond our ken. THAT would satisfy, because it wouldn’t be a simpleminded fleeing to pat statements not informed by any real thought about the matter.

        • Derek Dolan

          I have read Luther’s “Bondage of the Will”. It is a fantastically pragmatic whining against God, filled with self-righteousness and self-pity, about how we are free to choose that which we are forced into choosing. Do not insult my intelligence when you can’t deal in anything other than absolutes. Do not look down on me because you have a predetermined answer that you have engrained in the forefront of your mind so that no other answer will suffice. Do not think yourself more clever than you are, because while you may see an ignoramus in me for preaching the truth, I see one in you for shaking your pathetic fist at God. You are angry at God, whether you can see it for yourself or not. You are angry at God, and you want Him to answer to you for His crime of “wanting sin in the world”. This crime, He is not guilty of. I have news for you: God does not answer to infinitesimal you. You are a speck in the vastness of the universe, but God does care about you, and He loves you. However, if you debate with God, you will lose, and those who debate with God like you are doing tend to think themselves more intelligent than they really are, and it’s obvious to all except the wicked. Free will does not require sin; in this you are correct. Nowhere in my response to your self-righteous post did I say that free will requires sin. However, free will requires a choice. Choices have consequences. Haven’t you been taught this principle from your youth? You seem to think that because you can’t explain God’s consequences, He is in the wrong. Doesn’t Scripture tell us that God hates sin? Therefore, how can he be the creator of sin? He could allow, not create, sin as a choice, and set consequences for right and wrong. This is why God allowed sin in the world: sin entered the world so that grace, God’s grace, may abound more. If God had let Adam’s sin and Eve’s sin slide, “done deal”, then they would no longer have free will because there would be no difference between one choice or the other. Each choice would be void of any meaning, as the outcome would be the same for both. God did, however, provide an atonement for sin: Jesus Christ. Take this to heart, or my time with you is a waste. Whatever pompous ideology you have formed of God must be fought with the Spirit, for there is no arguing with a fool.

        • gabe

          Jim you incessant demands for God to make his case to you simply is not going to happen, nor is it the posture of a follower of Christ. Re-read Job and take a look at Romans 9, as well as Paul when it admits that God would not take away his thorn in the flesh answering simply “My grace is sufficient” God really is not interested in your “why” questions. He is God, not your opinion of the way it should be. In all your posts you point to how God has to be in control, which I agree with, but you seem to continually take issue with how he does things. Maybe you should reflect on whether or not you believe his grace is sufficient enough, and realize that your inability to rest in his truth and demands for answer simply reveal your own restless and prideful heart before God. Not having all the answers and continuing to walk humbly with God is a hallmark of Christianity. Don’t demand answers, but ask for grace.

  • Yohanna

    I too wonder now whether God has forget me….
    I had two miscarriages before… my husband had his stomach cancer removed… We just wanted to start our own family….We have been through hardships before, especially my husband who lost his father when he was young and forced to live separated from his mother. My husband grew out to be a faithful Christian Catholic.
    But even with those hardtimes, my husband and I remained to be as kind and forgiving and faithful as we can.
    We bought a puppy dog after my first miscarriage which I grew to love, soon enough I started thinking of it as my baby girl.
    We were happy to know I got pregnant again, only to be diagnosed a possible molar pregnancy this morning (8 weeks empty uterus) and my dog died this afternoon….
    Not asking why anymore, but has He forgotten about us??
    My heart is breaking and I fail to see the Lessons God is trying to teach me and my husband…..

  • Jim

    So, I murder you, but it’s okay, because I / the devil caused it, even
    though keeping it from happening would have been a cinch for Him? I
    WANT to believe God is who He says He is, but “never leave you or
    forsake you” didn’t happen to my sister and brother who were murdered,
    nor did it happen to me (I was molested repeatedly at age 12), etc.,
    etc. Really, folks, deep, painful topics like this demand more than
    Christian boilerplate about evil. God can stop this evil NOW…why
    doesn’t He? Is He incapable, or does He not care, or both? Try
    speaking at the funeral of a gal who was raped and murdered the whole
    “well, there’s evil in the world…” and if you don’t get punched in the
    face by the departed’s decedents, there really is no justice in this
    world. Please don’t post if you can’t do better than this, as you are a
    source of comfort to no one.

  • Paul

    I do so understand how this feels, I have always thought and believe that the “saying” “God won’t give you more than you can handle” is garbage, and as had been proven, is NOT in the bible. I am 56 years old and my life has been one big let down, crisis, disaster, and loss. Prayer doesn’t help in fact it actually seems things get worst. I am now afraid of God I am filled with fear if a person tells me “I’ll pray for you” because I know when they do more bad things will be coming my way. PLEASE nobody quote Job to me I’m sick of hearing about Job. I’m not Job. I do love God and I do believe with all my heart that Jesus was and is our savior and the son of God, I believe in my salvation through Jesus. I just do not believe that God really cares about anything about our lives on earth. I believe salvation and faith only matter after we die.

  • browser_bowser

    Thank you for writing this. I have been suffering from depression triggered by a windfall of bad events in my life and hearing platitudes such as “god has a plan”/”everything happens for a reason” or (more apropos) the one you discussed in this article, and I find them trite thought-terminating cliches that don’t help. I am not religious nor do I believe in god, but I respect others beliefs and found your words on this helpful even though I am an atheist, and I enjoyed the frank demeanor in which you discussed this aspect of the Bible (and more importantly, the misquotation of the Bible). Maybe if I heard a pastor speak like you did when I was young I wouldn’t have dismissed some of the teachings so adamantly. I hope things will reach a happy conclusion for you with what you are experiencing in your life lately.

    • Kathy Thompson Ellis

      Maybe you could revisit the teachings with a mind more open to hearing what God is truly saying to you instead of what society or any one pastor is saying. Platitudes are useless. Only Christ is the answer to suffering. He is reality. Christianity is not about being good or bad. Christianity is about Jesus Christ and your relationship with Him. Believe me or not, asking Jesus Christ to be your Savior and to live ‘ in ‘ you will change you forever. There is no way for a Christian to explain what happens inside. There is a change. It is a definite, unmistakeable, undeniable transformation. Once it happens, you will never want to lose it.

  • Pingback: One of My Favorite Books of 2012 | The Jacobson Journey

  • Barbara Olguin

    Just knowing He is God is enough for me. I don’t care why. He is God and worthy.
    Where sin did abound grace abounded more.
    There is no reason to question but plenty of reason to trust Him.
    Because He is God.

  • Rick Harper

    This pastors confusion began with the great schism of 1054. Resulting in Roman Catholicism, which further developed into Protestantism, which produced an American type of Christianity, which has replaced true faith found in Orthodoxy with – presumption. I guess a gospel which produces ‘presumption’ and makes a person ‘feel good’ makes those who preach it a lot of money, and the Orthodox Gospel does not sell. This ‘feel good gospel’ funded by American Christianity is deceiving the world and making it’s way east. This, “have it your way”, “feel good gospel” is a great lie and apostasy. Why are my Christian friends not speaking out about this? May God heal all of us; Lord have mercy..

  • Tom

    Thanks for calling this what it is. My 17 year old perfectly healthy son died 7 months ago from flu complications. Doesn’t make sense. Never will. Best words I’ve heard in the last 7 months are, “I love you.” Thanks Nate!

  • Taanya

    Great note. I can totally identify.

  • Luther1530

    Welcome to the choir. I’ve been debunking this lie for years. People always seemed so shocked when I called it bullshit too. Surprising how it usually made people feel better rather than worse. Thank you for writing.

  • Brie Graves

    So very true. Thank you for sharing your heart.
    http://www.savortheessenceoflife.com/

  • Tony Barnes

    Not sure anyone ever meant the adage without Christ’s strength. Paul said we can do all things through Christ that strengthens. I don’t discount your pain…but, I believe your point is stretched.

  • Marty Aguilar

    I think it’s imperative that God gives us more than we can handle. If all we got was what we could handle, why would we need Him? I’m not saying it’s fun. I’m not saying it’s not difficult and excruciatingly painful. I am grateful for His grace, though. And I’m grateful He is always there and knows about what I’m going through. A God who can’t relate is a not a God I want anything to do with. Thank you Jesus! And thank you Nate for this very honest and candid admission!

  • Evan

    God wants us to rely on Him and not ourselves….but to get us to do so, he will put more on our plate…for some, this is new concept. Which is why finding a trustworthy pastor is critical – so that we will hear what we NEED to hear, not what we WANT to hear, which is the phrase in question. But that’s another topic. :)
    So the first verse that comes to mind is what the author should have mentioned instead of passing over it with “Later, Paul will write it is when he is weak that the strength of Christ is seen”, and that is 2 Corinthians 12:9: But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me”. So….I’m strongest when I’m weakest as I’m relying on God and not myself anymore.
    Which leads to James in regards to the “yeah suffering” comment, James 1:2-4 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”.
    That’s tough to swallow, but you build spiritual muscle through the trials. How else can you grow in spirit? Another type of “joy”, at least for me, is that I can’t wait to see how He will get me out of the trial/issue at hand! He’ll come through in some way that will floor me and I’ll be in awe. But I really had to change my perspective to think this way. And when you have new trials and some doubt might occur, you can look back on the older trials and how He got you through them – which is a good reminder that “He’s never let me down before, so why would He do so now?”.
    I disagree with the closing, stating that it takes courage to do all of the expectations that he listed above. It takes FAITH, not courage, when you wait and expect for Him to come through for you.
    I wish I had learned this loooong ago, as this August 31 will mark 25 years since my father died in an airline crash. I chose booze and drugs to get me through it. I wonder where I might be from a spiritual standpoint today, how much stronger I might be, had I turned to the Lord back then. But the flip side is, and I know this without a doubt, that I had to go through all of hardships that came along with how I chose to deal with his death to get to where I am today. And I quit asking “why” many, many years ago. I’ll find out one day.

  • Bob Webster

    The struggle to understand suffering will shake even our treasured platitudes. I’ve questioned this sentiment like you, but have not been so bold, well said.

  • Derek Dolan

    To make such an argument as to call the statement “God won’t give us more than we can bear” unbiblical in order to prove some point is itself bad theology because we were never meant to bear much. It is true that Christ commands us to take up our crosses and follow Him, but it is also true that we are commanded not to lean on our own understanding, and you are quick to make assumptions. The situation is not a matter of singularity. No man can bear much. God also gave us the gift of fellowship, and He gave it for a reason: we are weak. Ecclesiastes 4:12 states, “Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three is not quickly broken.” Your argument is unbiblical because it is a truth given in the wrong context: self-pity. There is a fine line between spiritual thought and self-pity during a period of suffering. I have gone through such periods where I had to be man enough to be honest with myself. I could no longer wallow in self-pity because it was detrimental to my spiritual thought. God is beyond your understanding. It would be wise to think deeply before trying to think intelligently. I believe you have discredited yourself by proof texting 2 Corinthians 1:8,9 to meet your own ends. You also discredited yourself with your language. “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”- Ephesians 4:29 This applies to text because the readers know where the language has come from. Honestly, if you have to use language like “Bullshit”, and feel the need to put it in bold, then you are talking out of a foolish anger and self-righteousness. And, you can bear this. Has your situation destroyed you yet? If not; if it has not completely destroyed you, killed you, then you ARE bearing it. I do know this truth: Lamentations 3:22-23, “Because of the Lord’s great love, we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” We are not consumed because of God’s faithfulness! We are not given more than we can bear! We are granted the resources to bear anything because God loves us! A fool is quick to speak. A wiser man would have known better than insult his King by pitying Himself and attempting to parade his own righteousness in front of so many. Do not write any more articles without honesty and thought, lest you be judged as a false teacher. If there is misunderstanding, it is all on you…you are the one attempting to teach.

    • Stephen T

      After reading your post, and then searching the bible, I will say that you have this in your favor… “Job prayed for his friends.” (Job 42:10)

  • Pingback: Where to stick your bumper sticker theology | Amanda Carrasco

  • Trustnfaith

    I agree with the author. I get so sick of people quoting that cliche saying. Thank you.

  • Victoria Eden Keen

    God doesn’t bring those things. But it is an opportunity to trust Him when those things happen. I’m sorry you are hurting.

  • LivingLifeUnscripted

    Damn. Wow. Just, wow. Okay, pardon the way I started this but those are literally the emotional words that repeated in my head as I read each and every word written here.

    You see, I have had many of the same thoughts. I have experienced way too much of what life has to offer, but I neither think God is the reason scapegoat for what has happened. I’ve lost a baby. I’ve lost friends to suicide. I’ve experienced traumatic events in my life. I have health issues, and mental health issues. I’ve seen horrible things. More recently though, my four year old child was diagnosed with a rare and very aggressive cancer. But, through it all, I don’ blame God…I don’t use him as a scapegoat, and I damn sure don’t think He’s the one giving me all this crap. “He doesn’t give me more than I can handle.” Yeah, okay. Whatever. I’m grateful to see what He’ll do next – cause I know it’s coming. For whatever reason, it has happened. I can, however, tell you that – like you – I have learned to see the good that has come as a result of some of the darkest moments in my life. I actually wrote about this in my blog today.

    I have no idea where I was going with that other than to say THANK YOU for putting into words the things in my head. Thank you for being real, authentic, and for sharing with transparency.

  • Ashley

    Very interesting article and I thank you for sharing your thoughts. I’m curious as to what other people think about this: What is ‘more than we can bear’? Is it when we start to feel angry? Is it when our heart is about to burst? Is it when we cry on our pillows every night? Or is it when we finally throw our hands in the air and say, “I can’t do this anymore?!” Life goes on anyway. It’s in these moments that we either build faith or decide to give up on God. It seems that, though you have reached the point where you’ve had enough, your faith has pulled through. You HAVE born it, handled it. Perhaps ‘more than you can handle’ (if He IS referring to not only temptations, but trials, too) is talking about your faith, not you personally. These hard times have come to me, and they come to everyone. I think, at least partially, this scripture is saying, ‘You can do it! I love you, and I’ll help you!’. Just some thoughts.

  • moe

    Wow…. this is amazing. Feels like you have been listening inside my head! I cringe when people tell me that very phrase. I want to say, “really? God thinks I can handle 28 surgeries? Or an unknown illness in my child? Or my marriage falling apart?” I missed the part where He was handing out the endurance box, then, cause I am not handling it! When I have people ask me, How do you do it?, My response is always, “I don’t know!” That doesn’t mean I am not frustrated or angry, it just means that I know I can’t do it alone. And instead of asking myself, “Why me?”, or “why my child?” My thought is, WHY NOT me? What have I done that is different from someone else going through possibly the same thing? Why should I expect an easy road while someone else suffers? The answer is, I shouldn’t, because we are promised the very opposite in the Bible:

    John 16:33
    These things I have spoken unto you, that in me you might have peace. In the world you WILL HAVE tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.

    HE has overcome the world. Not me. We are promised trouble when we follow Christ. Just as He had trouble on the earth. So why do we as followers of Christ expect different?

    I love the last few sentences of this article.

    in the midst of pain and hurt, I am actively expecting God to do something. I don’t know what. I don’t know when. But I am expecting the God of resurrection to heal us. I am expecting God to restore us. I am expecting him to redeem this situation. I am expecting him to do this and so I will be actively looking and waiting for him to do something. I believe expectant waiting can only happen when we exchange our feeble platitudes for an authentic faith that engages God with the full brunt of our emotion and pain. Only then can salvation been seen.”

    AMEN!!!

  • mom58

    I never want to make light of anyones situation, I struggle so much, and will say I have not yet gone through anything like the people here have posted..

    today on CBN there was a story about a Christian while visiting Iran was jailed

    I watched his story and was interested to know more

    he shares alittle more in the web extras, and just listiening to him makes me cry, because I so want this, to really understand God’s character…this is how he got through this horrible time of being beaten and the possiblity of execution

    http://www.cbn.com/tv/1742457308001

  • Pingback: Handling hardships myself is crazy talk! | Our Little Patch of Heaven

  • Tom

    2 Corinthians 12:10; John 16:33 my friend

  • Kenneth G McLendon Jr

    Kenneth G McLendon Jr I don’t find that to be a lie. I find the quote “God never gives you more than you can handle” to be the absolute truth simply because He never does. It’s not bumper sticker theology… It’s just another way of saying His strength is perfect in our weakness. How can we not handle anything, when He that is in us is greater than anything we can ever face. Often times people aqueous to the problem without activating HIS power. In this life there will be trials and tribulations. We ALL experience that. however there is this truth…http://biblehub.com/1_corinthians/10-13.htm. If you understand the truth behind this “common saying”, then you have no reason to be angry(as this gentleman seems to be).

  • Kristin Lanae

    Thank you for writing this! About three years ago, I had to drop out of college because I went into kidney failure. It was the worst time of my life as I moved back home with my parents to try and recover after dialysis and a transplant. Praise God, I’m in good health now but during that time, I got so sick of going to church and not feeling like I could be real with the people that were the closest to me. I made them uncomfortable by sharing my struggles about why God was letting this happen to me and I was told not to question God and given cliché verses taken out of context in a well-meaning attempt to “encourage” me through my trials. All that did was push me further away, because if it wasn’t ok to question God, then I didn’t really want anything to do with him. It’s been a long road to recovery, both physically and spiritually, but I’m grateful for the deep relationship that I have with Christ because of what I went through and because of the glory that my suffering has brought to him. I didn’t think I would ever say that but God keeps his promises and I’ve learned to trust that. I’m so sorry for the trials that you’ve had to walk through in the last couple of months and the pain you’re feeling. God is working and he WILL do something. It just never really comes the way we expect, or think that it should. Praying that God will bless you and your family today.

  • Jeff Bjorck

    The problem with the statement about what WE can handle is that it misses
    the point that WE can’t handle ANYthing…without God. That is just illusory
    control. Yes, I do completely believe in free will and agency, but I don’t
    believe that there are ever truly “two sets of footprints.” God
    carries us always, but the common misconception is that we should ask Got for
    help when we can’t “do it ourselves.” In fact, I can’t even keep breathing
    by myself…particularly at night, nor can I keep my heart going. We do nothing
    by ourselves, without the amazing grace of God.

    Within this context, the more we can ask God for help and acknowledge God’s
    constant provision, even when it feels like life is good and we CAN “handle
    it ourselves,” the more we will be ready to ask for His help–and ask Him
    “why”–when things truly bear down on us. Perhaps, if we are truly
    brave, we will also ask him “why” when our lives are going very well.

    But these issues do relate to the passage about “no temptation”
    because I believe those truly horrid times in our lives typically present the
    temptation to believe that God is NOT good, that God HAS abandoned us, and/or
    that God does NOT love us. Psalm 77 is helpful to this end, where the author
    voices these very doubts. In such moments, even while we bravely ask
    “why,” even while we cry out in desperation to a God who FEELS
    distant (but is not), God promises to give us what we need to resist the
    temptation to believe that God is not Good. To this end, I agree that “expectant
    waiting” is a useful and productive stance during such grievous times. I also
    believe, however, that such times are particularly good times to declare the
    Goodness of God, specifically when circumstances seem to contradict this
    eternal truth. Indeed, the phrase “God is Good, all the time,” which I
    understand emerged from the African American culture during the time of slavery,
    was born out of heinous experiences that clearly were more than anyone could be
    expected to “handle.”

  • Vicki

    We all seem to blame satan for all of our problems, then believe god has the higher power to save us. Does God really seem to help and how can 1 satan be more in control than 1 God

  • itsonlywords

    I may or may not agree with your premise, but I’ve always understood the usage of “temptation” in this passage, as in others, to mean a trial or test, as in Strong’s reference 3986 (3985). Why do you discount that interpretation for this passage?

  • mickey boaglio

    Your Blog keeps making it to my timeline :) Good stuff friend. Been there.. heck.. STILL there! On thing that saved my butt a couple of times was to stop asking why and if I asked anything at all.. I asked ‘what’ instead. Sometimes the only comfort I had was knowing that my chest crushing groans were heard by God and that they have expressed far more than words ever could. As odd as it sounds.. I’ve seen some of those prayers answered. I think if he’s not calling you to more than you can handle.. then God probably isn’t in the picture. You know??

  • jaycee1258

    oh my gosh, this was great to read. im almost broken in my struggle with alcohol. why me, why cant he just take it from me, why cant i be normal, why isnt he helping me, i try and fail, i try and fail, i cry out that i cannot handle it any more. its never ending. its an obsession, an idol. some days i think id be better off dead. alcoholism is waaaay more than i can handle, so it really irks me to no end when i hear that God wont give us more than we can handle.

  • Bill Boyce

    Nate I agree with you. My challenge is this has been going on for almost 5 years and is progressively looking worse. It is too long of story for now, but we have been sustained by God. The road ahead looks bleak from man’s point of view and I have nothing but the promises that God will restore us and fill our home with plenty. I battle everyday with my emotions but know that God is there.
    Bill.

    • DanListensToYou

      Bill… From experience I can tell you that 5 years can turn into ten where all the externals that we took for granted continue to be swept away and then one intractable problem after another piles on until you literally can see no way out in the natural. Yet, you and I get up every morning, open our Bibles, then get on our knees… I don’t have the answers, but one thing I know is that He is definitely on the scene, and while I so wish He’d miraculously clean up even part of this nightmare, I am His, He is mine, and I am purposed to honor and serve Him no matter what.

      Years ago He taught me this: Have no expectations in life other than a vibrant relationship with Me. In so doing, you will never be disappointed.

      Hang in there, my brother. Stand in the bow of your craft and resolutely smile into the wind and the waves.

  • Joe Faber

    This platitude also hints at something that is far more untrue. It hints that God gives us these troubling times. While it’s true God can orchestrate and put us into some situations, the truth is that we live in a fallen world that has been opened to chaos. God’s role is not to “put us into a situation that won’t be too much for us”, but instead, as you state, be there for us when things do get too rough. That being said, he wants to be there for us through the easy and the tough times.

  • Banner

    From someone who has experienced a loss that is more precious than my own life I say we’ll written and thank you.

  • Skegeeaces

    YES. And thank you.

  • Grace

    If we, as those who confess Christ, who have God’s Holy Spirit living within, behave as those who do not, how can we encourage anyone to the faith or expect anyone to believe that having Christ in our lives makes a difference?

  • Dr Jim Brass

    I have been there too many times and I agree with your conclusion. One
    thing I have learned is to NOT and why but to ask God What do you want
    me to do? Yes, often trials come to teach us or break us and humble us.
    The faster we pass “why” and get to “what” the faster God will work out
    His plan and the faster our joy returns. God is sovereign and loves us.
    Everything that happens in our life is to bring God glory and to bring
    us closer to him. In the process we get stronger and learn to trust God
    more. Sure God can handle it if we yell and throw a temper tantrum but
    it does not fix anything. Any father would understand but want to see
    maturity in his child saying “ok, what do you want me to do?, what do
    you want me to learn?” God loves us and has our best interest at heart.
    This life is not everything it is just a testing ground for heaven. We
    focus too much on our feelings and on getting what we want and what
    feels good. There is going to be pain in this life. How dare we assume
    that God is going to allow so much to happen to His disciples and that
    we can just skate through life. Ya, it sucks when things go wrong and we
    can’t find a way to stop the pain but it is most often the thing that
    drives us deeper into the arms of God. Think about it.

  • Andy

    If you think for one second that questioning God is courageous then you need to read the book of Job again and see that we don’t have that authority.who are we in the big picture of things we are all in Gods creation and our job is to bring him glory not ourselves in everything we do and not view this world from our own under the sun perspectives. and comfort comes from understanding that. always easier said than done.( be still and know that I am God)Psalms 46:10

  • MISH B

    THE “FOOTSTEPS” POEM IS A GREAT COMFORT WHEN LIFE BECOMES OVER-BEARING. ONLY GOD HIMSELF KNOWS THE SUFFERING I ENDURE ON A DAILY BASIS, BUT AT REFLECTIVE TIMES, I READ THE BEAUTIFUL WORDS IN THE POEM, AND IT RESTORES MY FAITH TO CARRY ON!

  • Jennifer Gerner

    Even Job was hurt physically and mentally and he was blameless. Can you imagine not committing any sin at all? Bad things happen to good people all the time. God allows us to go though trials to see how we come out on the other side of them. Closer to God hopefully. If it wasn’t his will then it wouldn’t happen but to say hey I’m a Christian, and expect God to take all the bad away is just crazy. We live on Earth, Satan’s dominion. Every time you start to take on things without God, that’s when Satan’s army attacks you. They tell you “oh he’s cheating on you” or “you need to get high” or ” He doesn’t like you because your not good enough”. Anything that puts you down. Remember he knows your desires and fears. He truly is the father of lies. He knows everything that hurts you, confuses you and makes you doubt yourself. Did you ever noticed when your at your lowest point there’s always one more thing that slaps you further down? It’s because you have to stay focused on God and what he says we are supposed to do but we as humans with feelings and desires we get lied to and told we can do this on our own or completely forget to ask for Gods help at all until you finally realize you should have prayed about it before it got this bad. We are supposed to begin each thing with God first (Its not easy for us to do for sure) and end it with thanks for getting us through it. He made us, He could have made us anything he wanted but he made us human beings with all of God’s feelings. God gets angry when we put other things above him, like money or cars,ect. Even when Job’s children,homes,and animals were killed he worshiped God because he knew that God gives and takes away. He knew they were all in heaven and he would see them again. What is truly the worst thing that could happen to us? Death? That is a great thing if you know where your going when you die. The bible says that man can only do so much to the body but they can not destroy the soul. Now I’ve had more than my share of heartache, sorrow and struggles, I am stronger for going through them. I’m smarter too so I talk to other people who are going through the same things and let them see that if I could do it, so can they. Isn’t it funny how when your in the times of trials, it feels like” I’m gonna pop, I’m going to break and just end it” that’s when your focus goes straight to God. It’s where it should have been in the first place. I wish I had known this when I was younger, I probably would have gotten through things a lot better. I pray that everyone on this page who is suffering is healed and feels God’s peace. :)

  • John

    I really enjoyed your article.

  • John

    Your article reminded me of these verses….”Some time later, the LORD spoke to Abram in a vision and said to him,
    “Do not be afraid, Abram, for I will protect you, and your reward will
    be great.”
    But Abram replied, “O Sovereign LORD, what good are all your blessings when I don’t even have a son? Genesis 15:1-2……there are moments in our lives, when all the words and promises will not do. Abram ached for a son. He didn’t care about more blessings. He needed GOD to act.

  • John

    My mother recently passed away, suddenly on Aug 1st 2013. I had been her caregiver for 7 years. My world collapsed when she passed away. I am still reeling from the grief. For 7 years, my world was around caring for her. It was a job GOD gave me, and I loved it. Suddenly, that’s all gone. I’m at a loss as to what will happen next. Like you, I need GOD to act.

  • Abu Abid

    do you get why that happened if there isn’t any believes which is that who gives you the ability to let you know it more

  • pierrerashad

    You have a good point, which is that it’s often really unhelpful to use one-liners on people who are suffering.

    BUT – it doesn’t mean that those one liners are lies, or bullshit.

    BTW, the word “temptation” in greek is also translated as “trial” or “testing”, which is exactly what hardship does – it tries and tests your belief that God is good, and tempts you to curse him in despair.

    Job had his share of bad days, and said “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.”

    Should we say this to someone who’s suffering? Maybe not, and it depends on the situation, but it’s still absolutely TRUE!!

    Also, your whole argument hangs on your definition of “more than you can handle”. OK, so you feel that you can’t handle what God is allowing in your life, but you sure lived to blog about it, so God brought you through it.

    You should probably give glory to God for that, as crappy as it felt, instead of blasting on the internet that it’s a lie that God won’t give you more than you can handle.

    Are you saying that God will give you more than you can handle? I think that’s an insult to the faithfulness of God. I’m really disappointed in this post.

  • Devient Genie

    Nobody has ever prayed to get a leg grown back and had it happen, so either god hates amputees or those with other illnesses that prayed got better for some other reason.

    Wake up religitards your stupid is showing :)

  • Sarah Wildermoth

    But what about the quote if god brings you 2 it, then he will get you through it. I always recite this one as it helps. And yes what he is saying is very real and true, only when I am at my bitter end get on my hands and knees crying and give it all to god, praying with all my heart, only then does he make it right.

  • Art Gibbs

    Wow, I came upon this blog by chance, but it so eloquently speaks a truth many fear. I too have been brought to the brink. After surviving a motorcycle accident and months of recovery, using up most of our resources only to turn around and face 18 hours of major spine surgery for collapsing fractured vertebra and another year of recovery almost rendering my family homeless and having nothing. By asking the same questions and submitting totally to God, I have been blessed to still be walking, able to continue my nursing career experience two of my children getting married and raise the last two. God bless you and your family

  • DrMandeep Khanuja

    this is exactly what each one of us had thought atleast once in our lifetime. but its also true that by stripping us off of our security blanket and only by making us vulnerable can God teach us to have unwavering faith in Him. when we are weak He is strong and i cudnt have agreed more when u said that He wont work for us up untill the point that we give up thinking that we are perfectly capable of handling our situation. only when we let go,He catches us midway n restores us.

  • vicky

    I was married to my beloved husband and we loved and cherished ourselves for good 2years and every thing was going on smoothly but june 29, 2013 we both had misunderstanding and he told me that the relationship is over and that he is fed up with me and I plead to him because I love him so much but he refused me I was so down I felt the world has come to an end for me but my friend told me about a spell caster that helped her sister out in getting her relationship back, a good job and favor in any of her endeavor but at first I was scared but I have to give this man a trial because I love my husband very much and I am not willing to loose him to any woman, so I ordered returning love spell from this great spell caster called Dr Orissa that made me a happy woman again to say it all my husband came back to me with much love and a caring heart…i am testifying to this great spell caster you are a great man in this world and you mean so much to me you are the best spell caster. you can contact this man via this email if you really need to get your problems solve orissatemple@yahoo.com

    • DanListensToYou

      Vicky… you may not believe today what I am going to say to you, but I promise you that you will one day know it is the truth. Your husband did not come back to you because a spell was cast on him by “Dr. Orissa.” He came back to you because a “spell” was cast on him by you… your love and devotion to him, his love for you, and his realization of how precious the two years he was with you were.

      Continue your journey to spiritual health without forging contracts with lies that human beings have the power to fix human being’s problems, not by casting spells or in any other truly effective manner. There is One waiting for you who will so transform your understanding of yourself, the cosmos, and your future that words will not be able to describe your joy in the unfolding revelation of His love and plans for you.

      http://www.findhim.org

  • benhemp

    Isn’t the temptation to give up a temptation? Isn’t the temptation to chuck your faith in the midst of tragedy a temptation? Isn’t the temptation to become angry at God and walk away a temptation? I think you are splitting hairs here. God gives us the grace we need for whatever we go through. People have gone through horrible things (the holocaust, for example) and received the grace from God they needed for their trials. Sometimes, He just picks us up and carries us when we falter.

  • Angela

    That’s really good stuff you wrote. I’m going through the Bible right now and seeing more and more that the life of a believer will be one with suffering. Obedience doesn’t bring blessing…at least not right away. Obedience brings suffering and the suffering produces endourance that then produces perfection (James 2) the blessing is the perfection). Through your struggles you are producing endourance and are being transformed into the likeness off God in your character. You will now, having gone through this, have so much authority and wisdom on matters of life that you have walked through for all those that will be going through similar things. Food for thought….Jesus obeyed..= to death on a cross. All the apostles obeyed and what happen to them? All those who obey radically are the ones that have it hard but they are also the ones that become our heroes of the faith. The life we live isn’t for our gain but for the glory of god and the advansent of His kingdom. Keep going strong in this race and questioning things. Also thanks for taking the bible in context.

  • disqus_XX5ZBW2ZYs

    My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. As one who suffers much over many things, I can only say I will pray for you and I’m so sorry.

  • randy kaminski

    Is this the verse where people get the idea of “God will not give you more than you can handle?” 2 Cor 1:8,9 I have thought it was a misquote from 1 Cor 10:13. I remember when I lost my son, and some well meaning people would use this expression- -”not more than you can handle. . ” and I found it as annoying then as I do now. I lost him on Christmas day- -5 1/2 months old- -do to a complex bacterial infection. People often try to ameliorate then pain of others by saying the things they feel our best and I am reminded of Job’s advisors. . .they meant well and I hold no malice. My soul does find rest, and it is in God alone. Sometimes we need council and another to help carry us, and at other times a quiet mournful peace that blankets us individually- -I am so thankful to God both.

    Thank you for sharing your words brother, I was actually looking for the words to an old spiritual song when I came across your post, and thought it was timely because I just had an argument with others who claimed that this was their doctrine, and I pointed them to the 1 Cor 10;13 verse. I turned there again and noticed something I had not before about God enabling us to endure, but I am not sure it applies to your circumstance.

    I collapsed on my bed exhausted but without the desire to sleep- -face the pillow at the hospitality house- -and I cried out to God, “oh God, there must be someone who has gone through this and written a something that will help me endure this terribly, terrible painful time,” then I turned my head to the side and saw my old leather bible on the nightstand. “Yes, I realized in faith, that He Himself- -who knew suffering- -could and would help me through mine.

    One other thing happened that I thought was the strangest peculiar God moment. My wife and I lay down to sleep- -on this same bed- -and after about five minutes of laying in besetting quiet, the portable cd player turned on, and played the song by Twila Paris ‘Do I trust you Lord?’ We sat, stunned, and then greatly ministered to, and I will never forget, nor be convinced that this was anything short of the soothing hand of God, comforting us in our afflictions.

  • Pingback: http://natepyle.com/confronting-the-lie-god-wont-give-you-more-than-you-can-handle/ | CHOSEN

  • Pingback: From: http://natepyle.com | CHOSEN

  • Sabrina Samurai

    I believe the statement in question. It doesn’t have to be written in scripture for me to understand in my heart what I believe. There are children in parts of this world that is hell on earth, Sierra Leone, Uganda, basically any war riveted country. These children watch their families butchered and yet many of them never give up hope. They never stop fighting. They don’t head to therapy or the local pharmacist for anxiety or depression medication. They do the best they can with cards they’re dealt. No matter how bad it is it can always be worse. Instead of counting all our miseries wouldn’t it be just as productive to count our blessings?

  • Pingback: Bumper Sticker Religion. -   - City-Data Forum

  • Bill Cordts

    I’m sorry to hear what you’re going through. But I take a little issue with your reading of the Bible. The Greek word for “temptation” in 1 Cor 10:13 is peirasmos, which means temptation, but also “trial” in the sense of affliction or adversity. When Paul says that God “will not allow you to be tempted ["tried"] beyond what you can bear,” he’s indicating that we will always be able to endure in the faith despite afflictions. It seems you are truly doing this, questions, doubts, and sorrows notwithstanding. Therefore God has not given you more than you can bear.

    When people say “handle” they are making a mistake, because handle implies some kind of control over the situation and over ones emotions within it (as in ‘you’ve got a handle on it’). That much is wrong. But your faith can always endure, even in the midst of affliction.

  • Christa Steinkamp

    I love your blog. I’ve been a Christian for almost 20 years ago and I feel sick to my stomach when I hear the saying ” God won’t give you more than you can handle”..The way I read the Bible it isn’t about what we can handle on our own in any way – every page leads us to learning to lean on Him, praise Him, talk to Him, have Faith in Him in the midst of the darkest, most painful storm. I’ve seen so many Christians and non-christians go through so much more than they can handle. I’ve been through times in my own walk, where I’ve felt so far away from Him. Felt it was so unbearable… Life is so not fair… it doesn’t make sense. I just pray that we can teach our children to have the Faith in God even in their darkest and most painful times. That is still my prayer for myself as well – that I never lose faith. Praying for each person on here who is suffering pain and loss and that we all find a closer walk in Him.

  • Amanda Mueller

    After we have finished screaming and raging at God (he can take it you know he’s God, and he loves us) and we and those who care for us are still struggling just to survive, just to breathe, the why questions don’t get us where we need to be, no matter how courageous they are. We are already battered by the enemy – you know the crap is from the enemy, God doesn’t sent that stuff – we need help, we need protection and relief! The question to ask is “God, what do you want me to get from this, what good could I possibly take away from this if I survive?” Then listen, listen for His voice, and try to get what He wants you to take away from the experience. That’s when the breakthrough comes.

  • Pingback: rainbow | electric soul

  • redwolf68

    Nate, I’d like to add that I’ve heard this sentiment expressed from another perspective as well – that of the rich man explaining why others are poor and will always be poor (suggesting that they cannot handle wealth the way he can), and claiming all of this from a rather high-and-mighty point of view while simultaneously claiming to be a Christian. And yet, expressed just so, it comes across as an extremely un-Christian (read: selfish and uncharitable) sentiment. While not a Christian myself, I can understand exactly why “God won’t give you more than you can handle” would leave such a bitter taste in your mouth. Who among us hasn’t been through periods of feast or famine, when it seems as everything good is being rudely taken away from you, when it seems as though every possible misfortune you can conceive of is being inflicted on you? And not always because of the choices you’ve made? Sometimes, it’s just that bad things happen to good people. My atheist friends and acquaintances would say that this is proof that there is no God, because if a benevolent Deity exists, why would He/She/They (I’m not a Christian myself, please excuse the more liberal definition of God I’m using here) allow us to suffer? For what possible reason or probable cause? For myself, I don’t believe that it’s all random – there is some purpose in going through such trials, some lesson to be learned.
    However you understand God to be, do keep in mind that this isn’t forever, and something that *is* in the Bible: “This too shall pass.” It always does. Be strong, and Blessed Be.

  • chelsea

    The statement that “God will not give us more than we can handle” is impossible to disprove. You are still here, writing this article. You may be struggling and hurting at a level you have never before experienced. But you are still “handling” it. In whatever way that may be.

    The only people that you can ever possibly say were not able to “handle” their situation, are people that have committed suicide. And even then, perhaps that was their way of “handling” it…

  • Pingback: Matthew's Party – Confronting the lie: God won’t give you more than you can handle

  • Bob Tullberg

    You can ask “why”, but don’t expect to get an answer. Trouble in this life has a purpose, it is to shape to be more God-like and ultimately rely on God Himself. I am not what it means when some say: “God won’t give more than you can handle”, it not yours “to handle” anyway! Your language is socially inappropriate and not necessary, and your conclusion is false. It’s never about you, it’s always about God. So respectfully, get your eyes off yourself, and on God instead. He has a purpose, just trust Him – you don’t have to ask why, or even need to know why. Just trust Him like a small child trusts their parent with no comprehension of their fate from one minute to the next.

  • JJMOLINA

    The most difficult area for me to
    wait upon God has been regarding a life partner. Making this commitment was a
    simple matter, but the keeping of it has been another thing I would surrender
    him and all my hopes, expectations, and dreams surrounding him to God.

    El área más difícil para mí esperar en Dios ha sido con respecto a un
    compañero de vida. Hacer este compromiso era un asunto sencillo, pero el
    mantenimiento de la misma ha sido otra cosa que él y todas mis esperanzas,
    expectativas y sueños que lo rodean a Dios rendirse.

    Yet I won’t break up with her,
    she means everything to me and she says that despite her “coldness”
    now, she loves me still, she’s just not able to show it like she used to. This
    along with my love keeps me going on, but on nights, like this, when its really
    hard for me, this quote you have as your title, keeps me going she’s the one
    worth suffering for.

    I needed her help but she wasnt
    there for me, I have always supported and tried to help her when she has had
    problems and even though she has not been there for me I think I always will
    help her. I value her friendship and opinion and so she is worth suffering for,
    but is it the same if she doesnt do the same for me? Truth is it has made me
    question our friendship and maybe shes not who I thought she was? On the bright
    side Some of my close friends were with me all of the way, they would support
    me even if that made others hate them too. They asked me about it and realised
    that I really didnt do anything wrong, it really means a lot when my friends
    think I’m worth suffering for, I think suffereing for other people means more
    to them than we might think and thats why I think this quote is really
    powerful.

    The one close friend I have at
    present is wearing me pretty thin. But she makes sure she meets her own needs
    before she imposes herself on me, taking from me with the certainty that I’ll
    be there for her. The end finally came last Saturday. She didn’t tell me. I saw
    her on Monday, when I gave up my day to go with her to see her lawyer to get
    through quite a lot of paper work. The whole thing took nearly five hours and
    we were together for an hour and a half after leaving the lawyer’s office.

    No mention. Tuesday, when I’m
    trying to catch up, she calls me and interrupts me in the middle of my work – I
    have to ask her to hang on while I something – to tell me her. I drop
    everything to be with her, and make myself available for a couple of hours. Of
    course I ask when it happened, and she tells me, but I’m too dumbfounded to say
    anything. She says she didn’t want to talk about it after seeing the lawyer.

    She was quite confident I’d be
    available for a significant event in her life, but I’m so worn out by her
    significant events, and by the way she handles them. If she could go three days
    without needing to talk, why did she need to talk when I was so busy? This
    happened after she took a holiday of her own and then needed me when I was
    supposed to be preparing for my own families holiday. I am seeing that my need
    to control my time must come before her need to have access to me. She is very
    sweet, and very genuine, and also unable to see beyond whatever she’s focused
    on, but regardless, I’m realizing that it’s fully my own responsibility to draw
    the line, no matter how urgent her need.

    Do I really deserve to be treated
    so poorly by someone who is supposed to be my friend? If I have somewhere,
    somehow developed these character traits that I want to get rid of but do not
    know how, don’t I deserve to have someone supporting me… at least a little bit?
    I get the point that we shouldn’t allow ourselves to be dragged down by
    draining relationships, but I feel like this article gives no consideration to
    the fact that the so-called “toxic” friend is still a human
    being, possibly searching for a happier life, and certainly still deserving of
    some sort of love or friendship.

    In my mind, options one and two
    are probably the most likely and the most unfortunate and undesirable. Option
    three would be great, but if is blind to her own difficulties in friendships,
    she likely won’t choose that path. Or, if she feels ashamed of what has
    happened, she might also feel ashamed of having to confront the problems in therapy,
    so she might avoid it.

    From personal experience, I can
    only say that I wish my friend would have encouraged me to get help instead of
    just pushing me away. That encouragement and confirmation from a good friend
    would have meant a lot I mean a lot. I did end up pursuing help on my own, but
    I haven’t told my friend specifically what I am doing (we still talk a bit),
    and I guess I’m still hoping that she will suggest something. Maybe having
    someone close to me suggest counseling would help remove the stigma for me? I’m
    not sure.

    I generally get the half-assed
    “Oh that’s so nice! You’re so lucky; you’re going to have the time of your
    life, and maybe you’ll fall in love” response Ok, have you met me? I’m a
    walking-talking disaster! No one in their right mind would call me lucky and
    the day I have a successful international relationship is the day fly.

    And secondly, the next person who
    tells me I’m going to fall in love abroad is going to get smacked, family
    members included. What makes people think that going abroad is equal to a young
    woman searching for love, and what makes you think it’s socially acceptable to
    say that to my face? Hey, what about me?! Can’t I just go abroad for myself?
    I’m only 24 damnit! All I want is to see the world, maybe make out with some
    cute boys, sleep under the stars, drink whiskey with cool people and have
    adventures and write about it later. Is that asking too much?

    You can’t follow him reading the
    Bible. He can only lead you with commands to your individual circumstances. To
    be led by him, you must listen in humble silence, then you must wait to hear
    Him, then you must obey Him. We grow by hearing and obeying his commands to us.
    Jesus tells us that we must pray for
    our cross and follow him. Self-denial with obedience to the Lord’s voice is the
    cross. Until you can hear and obey him, you must do your best to obey the moral
    core of the law that is on every man’s heart: don’t steal, don’t lie, don’t
    covet, don’t commit adultery, forgive, do for others as you would have them do
    for you, etc. Hear [and obey], and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the mercies
    promised to David. Isa 55:3, Luke 6:46-49. Blessed is the man who hears me, watching
    daily at my gates, waiting at the posts of my doors. Proverbs 8:34,
    Luke 11:28.

  • http://www.simplyheavenlyfood.com Kelekia

    Really Nate? I hope you have the courage to post my comment and not delete it. First Corinthians 10:13says, “No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.” This Scripture teaches us a powerful principle. If we belong to Him, God will not allow any difficulty to come into our lives that we are not capable of bearing.
    So, anything that comes our way, anything that tempts us, any tragedy that befalls us—we are capable of overcoming it and achieving spiritual victory. That does not mean life will always be easy. On the contrary—the fact that we may need a “way of escape” indicates that God sometimes allows difficult trials to come into our lives. We may not believe that we can overcome them, we may doubt our own strength to prevail, and we may even fail in the test. That does not mean, though, that we are not capable of overcoming that particular temptation. Whatever the temptation is, God promises that we will be able to overcome it.

    But what does it mean to “overcome” trials? It means the trials do not overcome our faith or our position as children of God, and we come through the trials intact. Our eternal destiny is not in danger because we are kept by the Holy Spirit, who was given to us as a down payment on our salvation (Ephesians 1:13-14). No trial can overcome our salvation, because our salvation is of God. Therefore, the child of God will stand firm through the trials, kept by God’s hand. This is proof that our salvation is real and our reward in heaven awaits us.James 1:12 assures us, “Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love
    him.

    As in all things, God’s ultimate purpose for us is to grow more and more into the image of His Son (Romans 8:29). This is the goal of the Christian, and everything in life, including the trials and tribulations, is designed to enable us to reach that goal. It is part of the process of sanctification, being set apart for God’s purposes and fitted to live for His glory. The way trials accomplish this is explained in 1 Peter 1:6-7: “In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which perishes, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” The true believer’s faith will be made sure by the trials we experience so that we can rest in the knowledge that it is real and will last forever.

    Trials develop godly character, and that enables us to “rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us” (Romans 5:3-5). Jesus Christ set the perfect example. “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). These verses reveal aspects of His divine purpose for both Jesus Christ’s trials and tribulations and ours. Persevering proves our faith. “I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13).

    However, we must be careful never to make excuses for our “trials and tribulations” if they are a result of our own wrongdoing. “By no means let any of you suffer as a murderer, or thief, or evildoer, or a troublesome meddler” (1 Peter 4:15). God will forgive our sins because the eternal punishment for them has been paid by Christ’s sacrifice on the cross. However, we still have to suffer the natural consequences in this life for our sins and bad choices. But God uses even those sufferings to mold and shape us for His purposes and our ultimate good.

    Trials and tribulations come with both a purpose and a reward. “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. . . . Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life, which the Lord has promised to those who love Him” (James 1:2-4,12).

    Through all of life’s trials and tribulations, we have the victory. “But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord, Jesus Christ.” Although we are in a spiritual battle, Satan has no authority over the believer in Christ. God has given us His Word to guide us, His Holy Spirit to enable us, and the privilege of coming to Him anywhere, at any time, to pray about anything. He has also assured us that no trial will test us beyond our ability to bear it, and “he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it” (1 Corinthians 10:13). Open your eyes brother time is short. God bless you!!!♥♥♥

  • http://www.nathanmagnuson.com/ Nathan Magnuson

    Nate, saw this article shared on FB. We need more like these. And we need to call BS what it is. I’ll add a couple catch phrases to the list: “everything happens for a reason,” and “If God doesn’t give [whatever] to you, it’s because He has something better for you.”

    I recently had a situation where I left a well-paying consulting job on faith, had my dream job fall through and then was basically unemployed for 15 months. Not only did it mess up my career trajectory, but depleted my savings, and I lost my church family and friends due to having to move out of the expensive metro area. Lived with an acquaintance of a friend till I could get back on my feet. As a 29 year old single guy, it was additionally demoralizing to see so many friends get dream jobs, buy houses, get married or have babies during that spell.

    You mentioned the solution for you (after 3 weeks) was to “actively expect” God to show up. Let me share my perspective. I think I was in that boat too, probably for several months doing prayer walks, fasts and drumming up all the faith I could muster. But since the sprint soon turned into a marathon, I eventually lost steam and my expectations changed quite a bit. Eventually, all of my expectations about what God was supposed to do dissolved. What they were replaced with was the fight to keep my heart open to what God “might” do at any given time and to simply believe that God holds my destiny in his hands and that He rewards faith. What that looked like practically speaking was to not give up on my dreams per-say – but to accept that God may have a different life for me. It also meant to not trade my dreams for something as shallow as hoping for a getting my own place again and just watching football all the time.

    What happens when God doesn’t cure cancer, when the child doesn’t recover or when the business goes under? If the expectation is that God will heal, it’s game over when He doesn’t. I hate to use the word “realistic,” but wouldn’t another option be to think “God could fix this today, He could choose not too, or it could be a long time before He does either one.” After being unemployed 15 months, I had no idea if the next job interview would finally work out or it would be another 15 months. The hardest part is living in the tension, but it’s something we’re not good at because it exposes our shallow theology or lack of faith.

    On the other side, I will say I read the Bible in a completely different light.

    Anyhow, that’s my two cents. Like I said, we need more articles like these.

    http://devotionsbychris.com/2013/09/23/stuck-in-the-waiting/

  • Jenn

    In your attempt to disprove an erroneous statement, you’ve misinterpreted the use of the word “tempted/temptation.” The use of this word in ICor 10:13 is not about the temptation to sin, as you’ve made it seem. It IS about trials/testing. The important point in that verse is what you didn’t quote, “But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.”

    Not that the verse isn’t relating to trials, hardships, tough times in life – but rather that God Himself will carry us through them. If even it’s only by giving us a quick breath of air as we are drowning in our situations.

    I agree with your sentiment in this post. However, in trying to show that people misuse a certain verse, you did the very same thing yourself.

  • char

    I’m so sorry for all that you’re experiencing.My heart will be praying over you, your family and your congregation.

    When I hear people say that “God won’t give me/them/you more than we I/they/you handle”, I always add- “WITH HIM”. It’s not easy, we feel like we are going to die, and we can’t find faith or even hope. But greater than Faith and Hope is Love. HIS love will get us through, even when we’re blinded by pain and crippled by circumstance. It’s only Him.

    Hang in there.

  • Pingback: Reblog: Confronting the lie: God won’t give you more than you can handle | From One Degree to Another | Nate Pyle | No Rocks - No Gavel

  • Lani Harper

    Thank you for saying this! I’ve been saying this for years, most recently just last week. God would do us a disservice to *not* give more than we can handle – where would we have an opportunity to grow and change, become stronger and more God-like? I ache for you and your wife – I experienced two miscarriages back to back, and was devastated by it. Even if this occurred in a vacuum with nothing else, the loss of a baby undid me. To have added on top of it the other things brings one to the breaking point. Thank you also for saying that we who ask these difficult questions are courageous and not cowardly. I needed to hear that. Blessings to you.

  • Pingback: More Than You Can Handle | The Anvil of Grace

  • John Sincape

    Hi Nate. I don’t have any concept of what you are going through, and I would encourage you to stay strong in your faith through it all. I will definitely be praying for you through this trial, but one thing to keep in mind is that you are simply a vessel God wants to use in His divine plan. Don’t get caught up in what God can do for you, but rather how God will use your trials to progress His mission. With that in mind, I would simply like to encourage you to watch the language you use in your posts. AAlthough God looks at the heart and I believe yours is where it should be, it is important to remember how a non-Christian would view what was said. Thanks for your encouraging words!

  • Pingback: Indeed, it does take courage. | MJ Stripling

  • Vicki Dyl

    Praise the Lord…for someone honest enough to say what he really means and feels! Throughout trials in my life, even those closest to me say such nonchalant things that do little more than make me feel even more alone in this lost and dying world. When my son was diagnosed with autism at the same time my best friend was diagnosed with breast cancer…and both of us were dealing with waves of trials washing over us…at least we were honest with each other. We both admitted we were struggling with prayer…what to pray for in our circumstances…and so we agreed to pray for each other KNOWING full well we both would struggle with that too. Sixteen years later, the trials continue, my friend went home to be with the Lord, and I still struggle with the platitudes thrown my way. Oh to have the heart and mind of Christ more fully…the compassion…the right words…the right actions…for those who are hurting. That has become my prayer.

  • Katie Cook

    This is so powerful. Thank you for speaking truth, and sifting through the lies we often believe. Knowing the truth helps shape our view of God in those hard times. Thanks again!

  • Marie Perkins Moore

    David ,a man after God’s own heart,wrestled with the guilt of his own sin which burdened him down and Job went through many losses and his whole being was shook to the core as he not only dealth with why he was going through things but also had to deal with his friends questioning ‘why and what’ caused Job’s turmoils..They were both honest men when it came to how they outwardly displayed the agony they were going through but still held on their faith in God.

  • Jennifer Murray

    It is impossible for God to give you something that HE can’t handle. And when He chooses to act contrary to what we feel is the best option, He promises that it is in our best interest because He is a God of love and a God of purpose. One of the “temptations” is to take the situation into our own hands.

  • Dave N

    Nate,

    Isn’t the sin or temptation of sin, a lack of faith / trust that God is sovereign? When we question what He allows, we are basically saying that we don’t trust Him. The Bible never promises an “easy” life. In fact, being a follower of Christ, will more likely cause your life to be more difficult at times. Also, isn’t faith only in word if it is never tested? If you say you trust God with your life, and yet that faith is never tested, is it really faith?

    Philippians 4:6-7 says,”Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

    Being anxious is worry, fear, dread, concern, nervous, unease, etc… The opposite of being anxious, is not trusting God. If we trusted God perfectly, we would never be anxious. When we cast our cares, concerns, etc.. to Him in thankful prayer, we can have a peace that protects us that comes from God that is “incomprehensible” like this verse says. Notice that this verse says nothing about the way God answers prayer. We can ask God to give us Hawaiian bread, but He might give us whole grain wheat bread. Why? Because that is better for us, and strengthens our faith.

    Furthermore, trials in our life are good. I’m not saying enjoyable at the time. But when you look back at the things you learned and the way you respond, trials are for our good, and His glory. God doesn’t expect us to think, “Oh, Lord thank you that my child has cancer.” Of course not. But, we can rejoice in that our child is more His than ours. Yes, of course that situation is not a joyful one. BUT, we can rejoice when our faith is strengthened – we can either believe God is sovereign, or not. We can either trust God, with thankful prayer, and ask Him to help us trust Him more with this trial, or we can choose to be upset and angry. Do we really trust Him? Do we really believe He is sovereign? James 1:2-4 says, “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”
    How would you feel if someone that said they love you, came up to you and said, “You don’t love me and I don’t trust you.” Honestly. How would you feel? Because when we are worried, anxious, etc… that is exactly what we are saying to God. “God, you don’t love me. I don’t trust you. You do not know what is best for me.”

  • Elaine Graziano

    For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself –

    Anyone dealing with depression or a serious illness or any trial or burden needs to read this. So many times I was told by well meaning friends & family (a lack of faith was the cause) I know now this is not the truth. Praise God for His Word !

  • Pingback: Confronting the Lie: God won’t give you more than you can handle. | A (single) (young) (Christian) (mom) (wife-to-be) woman

  • Kramerica

    I’m a jew and I love this. Thank you.

  • marc

    I have learned that God gives us WAAAAAAAAAAAAAY more than we can handle;
    And that, my friends – is precisely why we need HIM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Viv Moody

    God was pleased for us to have authority, not to sit passively but walk together offensively against the giants of this earth. When faced with a terminal diagnosis and no more treatment options for my 6yr old daughter the most helpful scripture for us was ‘my people perish from lack of knowledge’. We didn’t want to perish. We needed knowledge on how to defeat the giant called brain cancer. We needed to learn about our authority and inheritance in Christ. Staying teachable and staying away from life sucking statements which keep people passive mean that this year our daughter turned 10 and to God be all the glory.

  • peterboroughlad

    Thanks for sharing this. Something I have decided is that it only makes sense if you don’t try to understand. (I’m not sure that makes sense, but I hope you know what I mean). I think it’s our western upbringing that makes us expect to be able to figure it out. Sh*t happens to all of us whether we follow Jesus or not. The one thing that we learnt was to seek God in the pain, the mess and the questions. Through our experiences I have learnt far more about the grace and love of God for me than I would ever have learnt any other way. Keeping seeking the face of God in the pain. He weeps for his broken world as much as you do.

  • Chuckie

    I get it Nate. There are scars and hurts and griefs that I cannot fathom. I am just so greatful that he hears my pleas (screams, cries)
    and protests and works with ALL of my being to draw me closer to him and to get me through this life. Maybe when we get to heaven it just wont matter anymore, but I may have a question or two for God.Thanks for your insight and honesty. Blessings.

  • Char Fox

    A friend sent me this and I am sooooooooo very glad he did. I attend a Pentecostal church, and while I LOVE my church, too many there DO believe in these platitudes. I have been so very discouraged repeatedly and I get told that a double minded man shouldn’t expect to receive anything from the Lord. Well THAT made me feel just GREAT. Now they planted it in my mind that I may as well give up cause God is never going to help me. Was even told when I was talking about all that continued going on that I was making my “confession” and God “can’t” help me. WHAT? First, how can a man who is a pastor say God “can’t” on anything?

    I know we’re told to rejoice, and we’re also told God is close to the brokenhearted. We’re told not to worry and told to take our worries to God. We’re told not to doubt and yet the father asks Jesus to help his “unbelief”, and Jesus did. I think people grab what they want and ignore the entire context of the Bible. It is geared to EVERY situation, every phase/season. We’re told to encourage one another and pious platitudes do NOT encourage.

    In the 3.5 years since I accepted Christ, I have been through an extended messy divorce, with an ex who was accused by our son (4 at the time) of heinous acts. He was tried for 3 years and even with a mountain of evidence and an 11 male jury, found innocent by muddying the waters. I’ve had mysterious illnesses, racking up $5K in medical debt. I’ve had mysterious car issues that 3 garages couldn’t figure out. I’ve gone more and more financially broke despite being told God will honor my tithing. I do believe He will, but in HIS timing, not in the timing of the sermon saying tithe for 6 months and if you don’t see a return on it, the church will refund all your money. LOL I’ve tithed for 3.5 years and I’m more broke now than I have ever been.

    I met a man in church and we were engaged to be married and he backslid and turned on me and the church. In the meantime, I’d moved into my parents’ home to save money and we stored all my belongings in his garage. I never got all my things back from him and ended up spending 1.5 years at my parents’ home, and then my adult daughter, her husband, and their toddler moved in. Three families in a 3 bedroom townhouse???? I wore earplugs just to sleep at night. Tried reading the Bible every night to a melee of arguments. I’d get up at 4:30 a.m. just to read while they all slept. It’s been a nightmare the whole way.

    I now have obstructive sleep apnea, insomnia, depression, lack of energy, have gained 60 pounds, developed joint disease and bone spurs, have had mysterious muscle spasms, and they now believe I have TMJ. Lovely.

    I can say though that in every bit of this, I AM growing in character. Not to the speed of my liking, but these seasons and trials CAN help us to grow. That doesn’t mean we’re going to be joyful during them or that we need the platitudes from those who have not been there, or who have forgotten what it was like. There are growing periods for all. I was never thankful about even little things, and now I am more and more thankful for every little good thing. I still hate the season I’m in, but I’m still expecting God to bring me to something better, EVEN during those times the depression is trying to weigh me down and satan is trying to have me believe it will never get better. Then I simply apologize to God for thinking those things or getting that depressed and ask Him to help me again.

    It also doesn’t help that I can see good in this. I’m STILL not joyful on those bad days. But God did tell me I was going to teach new converts back in 2011, and yet teaching was not an interest nor an ability, as I couldn’t be a leader or speak aloud in front of people. Since then, I’ve learned to, and I’m teaching a class now. I’ve also written a book on trials and suffering that friends say have helped them tremendously. It is in these times we do grow and helpful things can come out. But joy IN them? ROFL!!!!! I have joy most days, but when I’m overwhelmed with the next court ordered appearance, the next unpaid bill, the next sleepless night, the handful of drugs to try and help, joy takes dips and dives. I feel like Joseph who didn’t want to be in the pit, but got pushed in.

  • http://www.carolhiestand.com/ carol Hiestand

    nate. I picked up your post from a friend. This is the very thing I have been struggling with these past weeks….In my Christian church culture (i am 65) the message to me was “be thankful, God is Sovereign and don’t feel so bad.” It is true we need/can give thanks in suffering – for God’s presence with us if nothing else., and yes, God is sovereign, not that i understand it. but it still HURTS. that is where i think it gets all mixed up…just like you so eloquently stated here. i am saving this post….

  • Bill

    I feel horrible for your situation and wish the best for you and your family. I’m a diest and deeply believe that God is not active on this earth. I believe he was active at the time of creation and on the cross. After that, he’s completely removed himself from this earth. He’s given us free will and he’s offered his forgiveness. What else does one really need? The randomness of everything that happens here on earth, combined with the sin that people demonstrate are the consequences of the world that God has created. He’s not invloved in stopping Tsunami’s that kill 250,000 people or saving people from Auschwitz . He’s not involved in seeing that someone gets a job, or a parking space for that matter . He’s not healing cancer and he’s certainly not regenerating limbs for amputees. The problem arises when we look at scripture and the promises of Jesus. He states that “whatever we ask for in prayer, believing it, we will receive it” (Matthew 21:22 , Matthew 7:7-8, John 14:13-14, Matthew 18:19) . There is no truth to that. We want to believe that God is here for us on a daily basis, and that he actively cares for us better than any earthly father should – but he doesn’t. We can pretend that he does, but look around. 30,000 children die from starvation every month. 3 million will die from a misquito bite this year alone, and yet God does nothing to remedy the situation. He supposedly has the power, and the love, and yet there is suffering. I don’t hold God responsible for these atrocities because I don’t expect him to be active. If anything, you and I are responsible for most of the suffering that occurs on this earth and it’s our responsibility to act- not God’s. Again, we expect help because of scripture and the standard Christian belief, God is there to take care of us.
    The difference between how you will approach your situation and the way I would approach it are completley different. You will wait and expect God to heal, redeem and restore your circumstances. I would only be able to wait and or do my best to solve what I can. The rest is out of our control. If you want to experience true peace, remove the idea from your mind that God is active no matter what scripture says. In that way, you won’thave to ask yourself why he’s not intervening. Then you can bask in the knowledge of his grace and the hope of heaven.

  • Rodger and Bev Wesner

    God tells us, “Be holy as I am holy”. That alone is more than I can handle….on my own. He promises the grace to obey and to handle the portion He has given us. May He be every glorified!

  • Adaiah

    One word; Job. Show me one man who has suffered like Job did and yet stood like Job did. We know how the story of Job’s troubles started and ended and for that reason we can tend to “trivialize” it. Job did not have the benefit of how the trouble started or how it would end. Job had all but given up on this life; Job 25 For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth:
    26 And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: 27 Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me.

    Job did not have faith like we do today and certainly did not have grace that is available to us today. Suffering is real but the power of God is even supreme over and in suffering.

    I disagree with the author of this article, especially the way he finishes his article. God already knows “the full brunt of our emotion and pain” (the children of Israel were not justified in adopting this attitude with the Almighty God, especially when they left Egypt). Are we strong enough to praise him in spite of this? It does say in the Bible to give thanks for everything and also in everything to give thanks.

  • Jennifer

    Nate,
    thank you! As a Christian counselor it is so refreshing to see such honesty and Biblical truth! You would fit right in at my church in South Carolina! With that said, I sent this to a very good friend who lost her daughter last week at the age of 22 to suicide. This was the right message at the right time. as Zac Smith once said before he died of cancer in his early 30′s. “God is still God, God is still good, to God be the glory!”

  • Ranie

    My husband passed away on July 22, 2013 of an acute response to colon cancer… he spent two weeks in the hospital looking and sounding “great”, but his labs told another story… his last 48 hours consisted of spending 24 with a CPAP, struggling to breath, and 24 with a breathing tube, heavily sedated until his death… he left 3 children behind, & a week after his death- an early miscarriage ended our dream of one last li’l one… my heart tells me it was our li’l boy that has often come to me in my dreams… (In this case, I reckon’ Heavenly Father knows that a pregnancy and raising FOUR children without my husband was more of a burden that He was willing to allow… I am comforted in knowing that our baby will be mine to raise once on the other side of the Veil)… While my husband was in the hospital, there was a quote I wrote the dry-erase board with each move, as his needs for care increased… “Faith is not belief without proof, but trust without reservation” – D. Elton Trueblood …When my Faith/Trust begins to waiver- I do exactly as you describe… I ask the hard questions that many are fearful of asking Him. WHY? Why NOW? Why THIS way?? What have I done/didn’t do to deserve this? What did Dan do/didn’t do?? This is NOT fair!! What do I do NOW?? And, on and on… I rant, I rail, & yes- sometimes I even cuss… and, then I cry and beg for forgiveness, along with answers to my questions… I am learning that because I love so deeply; I am cut/hurt deeply, too… I am learning that I am also loved deeply, too- my our Father, but especially by my husband- still… You are correct. We are given more than we can bear. Actually- we aren’t GIVEN anything negative- many things are as a result of another exercising their agency. No, Heavenly Father’s not going to stay their hand… Other times, “stuff” happens… I don’t have a better explanation than that. I have read that Heavenly Father weeps with us… I don’t share this to be competitive… only to share what I’ve been learning about myself & my relationships with Heavenly Father & my husband… I share my thoughts & feelings on my FB wall… Some answers have come, others I’m still waiting for… but, I know that I am being prepared for something greater than I am right now… I am being tested & refined in ways I wouldn’t otherwise have been, if Dan were still by my side…

    • Free_minded

      I am SO sorry to hear about your loss of Dan! I, too, lost my husband too early to a drunk driver at age 40. I then remarried only to find that my new husband has been diagnosed with colon cancer. Waiting for the answers….yes. Life will give us answers. It is up to us to interpret them.

      • Ranie

        Free_minded: thank you for your thoughts! Something to consider as you begin your healing journey with your husband.. We prayed continuously to know what to do, we felt like we were doing the Lord’s will, we prayed for our miracle… and ultimately, Dan was still called home. The miracle we received wasn’t what we were asking for- it was given to us in the opportunity to testify of Christ’s love for us, hundreds of times, during Dan’s last 2 weeks on this earth… to have personally touched so many hearts, never would’ve happened any other way. Hindsight will tell you what you could’ve/should’ve done differently, but I try to remind myself that we did the absolute best we could- at that time, under those circumstances… I truly believe that Satan (the “father” of all lies) personalizes his attacks. And, it’ll never be an obvious, neon-sign incident that you can see enough ahead of time to ward it off… It happens in subtle ways, scattered thoughts, comments we hear or read, li’l snippets here & there that begin to undermine us… Best of blessings to you and your husband.

  • Eliezer De Castro Rabelo

    the day that I heard God’s voice was the day I have na argument with Him, I was in strange country without friends or Family, I was no more a principal dancer but had become na apprentice in a third class dance company, I was leaving as na ilegal member of that society because promisses had been broken, I was in sin by choice and by imposition of others, feeling unloved and left alone. On the middle of my screaming and tears I ask my Father in Heaven what else He wants me to do? was he ever going to take over or at least point me the way? or was he only going to watch me suffer and be motionless? His voice came to me, and it was loud than the radio, the trafic or my screams, and yet was peaceful, gentle, firm and sure. the answer was not what I want to hear, but knowing that He truly care for me made the difference and gave me the strengh to keep on going. The problems later disappear, but there were moments that I could not handle them at all. I love God, His son Jesus and my eternal companion the Holly Ghost, and I am glad for the relationship that we’ve been developing along this almost 42 years. Each of us have a diferente relationship with our Father in Heaven, and He expect to see us to have integrity on that, so to fake our feelings when confront hard situations does not make Him proud of us, He knows every characteristics of our being and wants us to express it when nescessary. To use the scriptures to justify acts of puritanisms is not what humans do, we should Always ask, and express our selfs to God, He is a God of love not of punishment, and He see our potential from a Eternal Perspective. Wiith love to anyone who is going throug a umberable moment, talk to God, He might have the answer that you need!

  • Mark Vafiades

    I would like to understand your context of Handle for this posting…. Did your last 3 weeks break you in some way? I have gone through a few tragic situations in my, truly terrible things. I was sadden, heart broken, definitely, but they did not destroy me. So I would like to understand your take in which you call this statement a lie. Thank you for your time!

  • Kathy Joachim Lonergan

    Amen! What a relief to hear a pastor say this. This has been a crusade of mine and people get so incensed when I say this. I’ve actually lost FB friends because of the position I take on this. If we never had more than we could handle, we’d never need God. It’s that simple and a cold hard fact. It says in the Bible that God will not allow a temptation that is more than we can bear but that always gets misinterpreted. you really really made my day! THANK YOU for posting this, I can’t wait to share!

  • Free_minded

    Goddammit, you people! Wake up! Be courageous enough to understand that you MUST ask the questions! The questions ARE what matters–and wait for the answer. At first the silence will be deafening. As Nate says, “I am actively expecting God to do something. I don’t know what. I don’t know when. But I am expecting the God of resurrection to heal us.”

    Of course! That is life. Good and bad happen ALL the time. If you wait long enough, something good will happen. And when it does, you can reinterpret everything to fit just as God had planned. Or you can accept that it’s just simply LIFE!

    Ask the questions. But don’t go through mental rationalization and gymnastics to accord it all to some loving God that “works in mysterious ways.”

    BULLSHIT

    • Free_minded

      Too many people, in their most profound pain, forgive God for his silence. I ask you to think deeply about this silence. Yes, I believe that is a lie, too–that God won’t give you more than you can handle. In tough times, the Christian platitudes do not suffice.

      “Ultimately, it isn’t about the questions.” I don’t know…I think it is about the questions. I think the questions ought to be deeply explored and ruminated. The silence that often remains must be contemplated.

  • flipside

    This sounds good on the surface, and i don’t wish to destroy the comfort some may find in this way of thinking – perhaps i can learn here because it touches on issues i struggle with – somehow it does not make sense though – Would you give your child more than he/she can handle to make him/her see with clarity how dependant he/she is on you? Maybe stand calmly next to the road while watching your toddler to play in the traffic? Then when the car hits your child and rips off their arm and people ask you why you just stood there and why you did not help them out of the road or why you put them in the road in the first place – your answer is – i wanted my child to clearly understand that he/she cannot survive without me. Only in extreme pain and suffering can my child clearly see how amazing and strong i am – i want them to live under the impression/expectation that i might fix them if it so pleases me, but i actually like it better when my child is more dependant on me as he/she now needs help to even tie a shoe lace. I like my child to be “expectantly waiting” for me to heal them (in other words i like it when they are suffering) as this strengthens their faith. Further i don’t do this to all my children – mostly the ones that are too independent or are lacking in faith and then sometimes i just randomly pick one. This way they appreciate it much more when i eventually decide to put an end to their misery. It also helps to make the ones that are healthy and not suffering see how blessed they are to not be one of the “expectant waiting” ones. Maybe someone can help me understand how this makes any sense.

  • Tronyc

    That quote may seem hard to accept, and even like a slap in the face, during hard times, but you obviously miss the point. Who said it was a quote from the Bible? It is simply an observation, if you will, made by men. That doesn’t mean it’s “a lie.” Just because the exact phrase couldn’t be found, it’s still in there. May I remind you of Job? Did God give him more than he could handle? My heart goes out to you, but you have to understand that this life, while it seems like all we have, doesn’t mean the same thing to God as it does to us. While I do believe in miracles and that God has the power to intervene, he doesn’t usually. He has His plan, which, with our imperfections, we can only try to understand. It’s only understandable that we would fall short. Don’t get me wrong. I hope He does help you and your family, but you can’t just expect it. Also, while we may be God’s creations, this is Satan’s earth. Until the beast is destroyed, the beast sits on the throne of the world. Never forget that and always be wary of the eternal adversary and ultimate deceiver. I will pray for you.

    • Tronyc

      I believe I was too hasty in leaving this comment. After scrolling down and seeing Jorden van Dam’s and Madeline Fisher’s posts, I realized my error in understanding what you wrote, so I apologize. I wholly agree with both Jorden and Madeline, as well as with the guest who replied to Madeline’s post.

  • Kym Faulkner

    Thank you! This is where I’ve been for 2 months and weary of platitudes. Thank you for validation.

  • Sandy Hansen

    This was just the thing Ive been looking for ! My husband and I have been going through an amazing trial these past almost 5 years and I have had many people say this very statement to me. I find it does give me strength, but I also find it false because if God doesn’t give us more then we can handle then that’s like saying we can handle it on our own and we can’t. I know there is no way my husband and I would have made it through these last 5 years and now with our the strength that God gives me every day ! Thank you for this insight.

  • Jason Cadence

    Why is it that it’s so often taught that following Christ will bring blessing, “life to the full”, “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope,” “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Etc, but only once suffering happens do the passages about suffering get emphasized bringing some balance? Why is it that new Christians are told all about the blessings and heaven, but only later, once they start asking questions, that it isn’t all green grass and rainbows?

    You may have interpreted those passages the same before, but why is it that so often when reality changes, scriptures are reinterpreted to fit that reality? Scriptures about suffering are changed from unpleasant to the torturous degree of the situation. Blessings are presenting as though life will be grand, we’ll move mountains, have green grass, always be clothed and fed… until suffering pervades.

    “You won’t be tempted beyond what you can stand up against.”
    I disagree. We just don’t hear from them anymore.

  • Roger

    The Lord Jesus Christ does not take care of me, and I will say that it is a lie to say that Jesus Christ does change lives, because having Jesus Christ in my life will not change my geographical surroundings, and that will just tell you that I love the idea that I can destroy the bible, because that may do an extreme amount of good for society!

    • Christine Mattson Carlson

      What experiences in your life has made you feel this way?

  • Joshua Kanen

    I have a real big problem with this post in that I wish that expectant waiting for God to come through was enough. I have been very close with God. In fact, He and I had a conversation once which changed my life. He told me that He’s Got This! What an amazing burden to have lifted when He says He’s got this. But reality stuck a year later when my friend died of an overdose (Complete ignorance on my part that I didn’t even know drugs were a problem for him), my relationship fell to pieces because of lies and deceit, my job was gone, and I moved in with my parents only to deal with depression and anxiety on a daily basis. I handled it incorrectly admittedly. I turned to drugs and alcohol. Now here I am, 3 years removed from tragedy and I can’t wait for God anymore. He hasn’t “had this” and hasn’t come through for me. I have begged him on my hands and knees to free me from my chains but here I wait. I hope and pray every day that God will free me from bondage but here I wait. I read about his blessings to others that have “waited on the Lord” but here I wait. I know the Bible inside and out. I have read, studied, went to Bible schools, but here I wait. I am sick of waiting Nate. I am ready for the healing that is supposed to come but…. here I wait.

    Bullshit was right. I am sorry for your struggles but I hope you don’t end up waiting on the Lord because He hasn’t come through for me.

    Here I wait.

  • Ferrari5858

    “He sends to that favored soul cross upon cross, suffering upon suffering, in order to detach it from this world. Then He can speak to her heart.” The Purgatory Manuscript

    Who sinned? Neither said Jesus, so that God may be known to him.

  • Tania West

    Thank you for your honesty- there is a place for lamenting and being real about the pain we sometimes suffer. Hebrews 2:10 says” In bringing many sons and daughters to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the pioneer of their salvation perfect through what he suffered.” I don’t understand why we sometimes suffer so much, but I know that our God is intricately connected with us in it. Thank you for writing about your experiences and your sense making journey in it, we must not be afraid to embrace the spirit of lamentations and encourage others to do the same. Not everything in life has neat pre packaged solutions, including faith.

  • Guy

    It makes no sense that god would preserve life anymore than death given that we all die. He is a merchant of death just as much life. What if the bible is misinformed? what if God ISN’T an entity with dreams and wishes? One should accept the possibility that god may not care or could not care.

    • Christine Mattson Carlson

      Well then, why would He say he loves us? Psalm 6:4
      Turn, Lord, and deliver me; save me because of your unfailing love.

      • Guy

        and what about all the bible verses where god punishes? What happened to the unfailing love? Sounds like conditional love to me or at least a contradiction. Consider unfailing love when thinking about judgement, it doesn’t fit. Besides that, love has nothing to do with life and death, even if god does have unfailing love everyone is still going to die. I suppose one could consider death to be compassionate if one was suffering but that would only be true if one had that perspective.

  • Elizabeth Butler

    Could honestly say that the worst thing that ever happened to me is what God has used for the most good in the lives of others. Reliance on God creates resilience from that which does not kill us.Some things leave you so broken that only your faith that something greater than you can guide you through gets you by. But giving that which at one point broke me to God has done greater things in my life than I could ever imagine. It is not our right as God’s children to be unbreakable. We are broken and remade. We are humbled at our core, and the world knows we are God’s.

  • Mirjam

    Dear Nate, your article has reached Holland. I shared your article and received a lot of comments from my friends. I’m still not sure what effect it will have on me, I’m still stunned by it’s power. You closed down your article really well, really strong, encouraging and through your faith you gave me hope. Thanks for sharing. I wish you all the best

  • Lynda

    I needed to read that – it does not change my confusion or whys or even self blame – it just says I am normal and it is ok to be hurt, angry and confused and hope that maybe God does still love me after all.

  • Christine

    Thank you! Excellent post! God does give us more than we can handle, but with HIM it is possible to face it. By FAITH me take it step by step (sometimes baby steps, sometimes steps backward) and then we trust God for what we can’t do any longer…and HE does what we cannot.

  • Guest

    My response to those who have said that “God will never give us more than we can bear” has always been, “Maybe not, but fate will kiss your ass.” Thank you for this post. I would love to repost this on my blog–I feature writers every Tuesday. Would you mind?

  • Daisy Rain Martin

    My response to those who have said that “God will never give us more than we can bear” has always been, “Maybe not, but fate will kick your ass.” Thank you for this post. I would love to repost this on my blog–I feature writers every Tuesday. Would you mind?

  • Zs

    If it means drawing me closer to him the Jesus Bring the rain, Their is a mercyme song that touched heart n yours to, it’s cAlled Bring the rain

  • http://www.imsofunny.blogspot.com Alice Wills Gold

    Beautiful. I love the scripture reference.

  • Zs

    Mercyme-bring the rain

  • DBrenchley

    Thank you Nate .. you and your family are in my prayers

  • Rachel Lewis

    Thanks for writing this. I’ve suffered an ectopic pregnancy (which ruptured) and 2 miscarriages in the last year and a half. In addition to many, many other difficult things. I don’t know if this will be of interest, but I have blogged through my losses, in case it could help someone going through the same thing. It is http://www.thelewisnote.blogspot.com.

    I’m glad you shared those verses. I had heard them years ago through beth moore, and have found much comfort in them. I have heard this unbiblical statement preached from the pulpit… I’m glad the truth is getting out there.

    Also, i am very sorry for the loss of your child.

  • ScottTBSummers

    Sooo well stated Nate! I can’t stand trite, theologically lazy, knee-jerk cliche’s either! its unfortunate this silly statement is said all the time! Thank you for sharing it was refreshingly honest!

  • Pingback: Resolutions from a Wannabe Thermostat | Unveiled

  • Jim_Alseth

    Thanks for your honesty and courage Nate.

    Just to add some comments and observations…

    The same things said (from those who would comfort, encourage or instruct us) can have vastly different effect. What may feel like Christian platitude, bumper-sticker theology or insipid axiom from one person can be very meaningful from another.

    If a man who also has gone though the fire and comes out refined gives me salient truth, I will receive it.

    It is very interesting in the Book of Job that God doesn’t have an issue with Job’s questions or emotion (your very point), but with Job’s insistence that God provide him with answers. In fact, God doesn’t even give the content of Job’s questions the time of day, but rather spends a fair amount of time saying, “This is who I am.”

  • Tonya Laughlin

    beautifully stated. Paul’s plight has been hitting me from all directions lately LOL… Unbelievers would have the world believe that Christians are ‘brainwashed’ when truthfully, its the exact opposite ! God Bless you :)

  • CherylStearns

    I love this post. Over 25 years ago my husband and I lost 2 of our 3 children to a genetic disease. They were with us 7 months and 9 months, respectively, before they died.
    Both my husband and I had been raised in the church and were active in our local church body at the time we lost them, and I tell you what– our faith was SHAKEN to it’s very core by the months of waiting for them to die or be healed; the silent questioning which seemed to have no answers, and dealing with the well-meant but pious platitudes thrown at us. “If you have enough faith, your child will be healed.” The absolute WORSE thing spoken to me! It was an effort to build my faith, but when my child(ren) died, it wrapped it’s tentacles around me and bound me with GUILT. It now became my fault that my child died.
    We have a victorious ending to our story, but it was years in the making.
    If anyone is interested, it can be found at http://www.aliassarahryan.blogspot.com
    I hope it helps others walking through the darkest nights, but also helps those wanting to bring comfort to better understand what it’s like to live every day knowing your child is dying and there is nothing that can change it.

    Thank you for sharing your heart, and for being HONEST. God bless and heal your hearts.

  • Milinda Houlette

    Nate, I stood where you are right now, in December, 2000. My mother had died that July, and my father followed her in November. The bank had just handed me foreclosure notices, and I was sitting at the kitchen table with a .22 pistol, three bottles of Dad’s pain medications, the foreclosure notice and all of my life insurance policies. I had called every mental health agency in the Mid-South, from Memphis to Tulsa, and had been told by every one of them that I would have to take an appointment for three months from then, even when I told them I was actively considering suicide.
    I hung up the phone, and cried. And cried. And cried, for at that moment in time, I had no purpose in life, and felt that I was worth more dead. I wasn’t rational – all the policies state that if I die from self inflicted cause, they will not be valid. I was desperate. A little voice inside me suggested I call a hospital nearby. A part of me laughed at this – that hospital, have aid that metro hospitals do not?? But, I called … and they told me to get someone to bring me over that night, that they’d have a room ready for me.
    Thirteen years have passed since that night in hell. It’s not been easy. I went to therapy, and my therapist convinced me to try to do something with myself. So, I went back to college … partially, I will admit now, as a passive form of suicide. I had been an uncontrollable epileptic since 1979, and the two times that I had attempted college previously had placed me in a critical condition with my seizures spiraling out of control. My subconscious instinct told me if it happened again, I was too old to just bounce back – I’d either die or be a vegetable, and out of the way.
    But I didn’t. When my seizures increased, as always, the doctor placed me on a new, experimental medication, and they slowed, slowed, and then stopped. Completely. I finished my undergrad degree in social work, and went on to earn my Master’s in Gerontology. I am now working with hospice patients, and the hell that I went through in my illness and the death of my parents is foundation for the care that I provide for my patients, every day of the week.
    Don’t give up. Remember, God moves slowly and deliberately, and while we want the resolution RIGHT NOW!!! – God knows that in reality, it has to come slowly to be cured and useable.
    I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers.

  • D.S.

    Did you have to say bull____? Couldn’t you have just used a word like “garbage” or “crap.” There is obviously a bigger point to the message (and I understand you were trying to display the severity of the lie) but to see a swear word and then a Bible verse underneath it, takes me by surprise. We are called not to speak corrupt talk…from the mouth comes both cursing and blessing, etc.

  • Calvin DuPree

    This could be an open ended discussion to many, in other words it can go on forever. I agree with you whole heartedly. I personally feel it all about freewill, God gives us freewill to operate on a scale from one extreme to another, with a plethora
    of options in between. To do or not to do with varying degrees as we want or desire.

    I openly admit that, I am one who has used that phrase before “God will not put more on you then He knows you can bear”, and will probably use it again. Jesus and all the disciples earthly lives ended as we know to be horrible, but their faith remained strong through it all.

    I firmly believe that all the disappointments, failures, pains, and struggles I’ve experienced in my life are all part of a larger plan God has for my life; to equip, empower and prepare me to fulfill my destiny / His purpose for my life. It’s my responsibility to stay encouraged, inspired and motivated to stay in the will of
    God; but it’s a believers responsibility to encourage, inspire and motivate each other to stay in the will of God. Now when I say ” to stay in the will of God” what I mean is to conduct my life in accordance to His commandments and trust and rely on His promises.

    God has made us all individually and distinctly unique, there is no assembly line. He has given each of us our measure of faith, and here again through freewill
    choose to develop our faith into strong faith or not. Now remember the scale of
    freewill stretches from one extreme to another, with a plethora of options in between.

    With all that said, I say this “God will not put more on me then He knows I can bear.” God is my safety net, He is a loving God who keeps us, carries us and protects us even when we are totally unaware that He is keeping us, carrying us and protecting us. And I’ll use your quote from my Friend and Pastor Shamichael
    Hallman that I love and it is right on point, “The focus is NOT on MY strength and what I can bear, but on GOD is who gives me STRENGTH to ENDURE, PERSIST, and remain STEADFAST.”

    Life is full of peaks and valleys but we must stay encouraged and on the path of righteousness, and know that our God walks with us. We have to stand without wavering or doubt on the promises of God and stay hopeful, prayerful and faithful.

  • Laurie-Anne

    My husband and i have just had an ectopic pregnancy a couple of months ago. I ended up having to have my tube removed along with many other things happening in my life, I go out in complete Faith that God has a plan and a purpose for EVERYTHING but that I can only trust him. If anything all my struggles have brought me much closer to God and made me have to completely rely on Him. A priceless lesson I had to learn the hard way. But he has given me his amazing peace and NOTHING no matter what the world throws at me can take that away. Just this year alone my daughter was sexually abused and I, I nearly lost my marriage, my husbands family have rejected us because we are Christians, my own family have turned on me in ways I cant publicly mention, my husband just lost his job, we just found out we brought a house that wasn’t legal and so have had to go bankrupt and lost the house and cars, still owe my parents the $40,000 deposit for the house, with no house to show for it, and thats not all. BUT from all this I have remained faithful and have trusted God through it all and I believe he has rewarded me with his every lasting peace. Yes I did question him about the pregnancy but I can’t expect to understand God complete plan for my life. So i just patiently wait for the next journey he has for us and get into the word and share my story to help others and that really helps me. I hope and pray in this very hard time your Wife and yourself will get to feel this amazing peace that God graciously blessed me with. xoxox

  • tami

    The first paragraph of this piece is ridiculously grammatically incorrect. Please use the English language correctly when you are publishing something for everyone to see. It teaches others to continue to use English incorrectly and distracts from your piece.

    • Danny Bale

      As a reformed grammar snob, I want to say that if you are so distracted by poor grammar, then this is your own problem.

      If it is preventing you from understanding writing that is perfectly clear, even if it may have a few errors*, then your comprehension is insufficient.

      If the “grammar urges” are preventing you from responding appropriately and compassionately to someone that is telling you of his pain, then you have little self-control.

      * According to some books and stuff.

  • Marna Laurito

    Like you, I could give a long list of trials that the Lord has brought me through. Christian clichés are beyond worthless, they are deceptive, damaging, and damnable. No wonder people lose hope when they are putting their hope and faith in these lies. The Bible has the answers, but the common twisting of Scripture does so much damage it is amazing. Someone who has helped me to learn to rejoice in the Lord always, to be thankful in and for everything (I Thess. 5:8 *and* Ephesians 5:20) is Joni Tada – http://www.joniandfriends.org/ – a quadriplegic who certainly has “reason” to be unthankful, joyless, and depressed – yet she has truly rejoiced in her suffering and helped countless others to do so also.

  • Marna Laurito

    I’ve never liked Christian clichés. I acknowledge the truth of God’s Word where He says He makes a way of escape from temptations/trials, and have experienced what this means. But that verse in no way indicates that we can handle them, or life’s situations, on our own. We *cannot* bear even the trials we bring on our own life, much less the ones brought from every corner. Only God can handle them, which is why we are to cast all our care upon Him, for He cares for us. Christian clichés are SO destructive. Only the Truth will make us free. <3

  • Renee

    Please accept my humble thoughts here coming out of my own humanity.
    I suffer in this world just like any other. There is not a person on this planet that does not suffer. We can all look to those who have it worse than us and those who seem to have it much better than us. But I think we can all agree that we all suffer. Some suffering comes all in one horrific event and for some the suffering is a slow but steady trickle of pain and depression all through their lives.
    Some of that suffering comes from our own bad choices and some comes from others sinning and hurting us. Nevertheless, we are all sinners. I think the point made by Jesus in the parable of the unforgiving servant, at least to me, is that our sins against a holy God far outweighs what we feel other people owe us for sinning against us. I know that does not make sense in a case of child molestation. however, there is freedom from being trapped under these sins by forgiving. God frees us from the burdens of those sins. It is our pride that stops us from forgiving and trusting in God, is it not? If you really know the gospel message, is this not the point? Letting go of our false sense of control, our anger toward others, our demand for justification now and going to God. Repenting, having a change of heart, realizing that we cannot figure this all out but one thing we know, we cannot hold God accountable. Because He is holy. He is who He said He is. He is faithful and just. When I cannot wrap my mind around why God has allowed “things” to happen to me, I have to realize that I am missing some information in the mix. Do I know everything? Do I know what it really cost to put Jesus on the cross? Do I know anything….? I know God is God. I have to humbly come to the beginning of my encounters with Him again and again, as the foundation of my faith. I am not perfect, I do not walk perfectly. I need to come to him again and again. I need to trust Him. I need to doubt my doubts and believe my beliefs. I need to fight the good fight that I know in my heart is the truth. When I get angry am I not doing exactly what James warns us about. I don’t want to hear that it’s not someone else’s fault, I don’t want to hear that I have to deal with my own sin and humble myself and come to God. I don’t want to hear it. But I know I have to hear it. I have to come to Him, I have to humble myself. I have to let go of my anger, my vindication, my, my, my stinkin’ my! That’s the problem. When you humble yourself and submit yourself, the devil will flee. He must. Is it easy? not on your life. I cry out to God, please help me not go around this mountain again. It is a battle in my mind. The doubleminded man gets nothing. He doesn’t please God, one day God I believe you, the next day, God why did you do this to me!!! Why aren’t you helping?
    Ask Him for help. He hears you. You are praying prays he can honor. God change ME. Help me to be faithful to YOU in my heart, in my deeds, to others you’ve placed in my life. Help me honor you. Help me get through this. Help those who are hurting around me. I can’t fix them, only You can and I trust you, Lord, I trust You. I know you are who you say you are. You called me. You called me. That is enough for me to know. Somedays these are my prayers and then other days, God puts the voice of authority in my prayers…I am healed in the name of Jesus, the Word of God dwells in me and everything must bow it’s knee to the name of Jesus. The name of Jesus is above every other name, the name of cancer, the name of ______. The Lord is my hedge of protection. He is author and finisher of my destiny. And you could go on and on for hours letting God’s powerful anointed Word flow out of you. Then after God has given you the strength to encourage yourself, He will lead you to others you can encourage. We are all in a battle, we are all in a struggle. Do you know that your words of encouragement can save a life, physically or spiritually?
    C’mon, if you know that you know God. Then hold on to Him and never let go. Believe Him and never look back. Slap yourself upside your head and kick yourself in the butt, grab hold of your carnal flesh and tell it, you’re not being led by it any more no matter what happens, you’re following the truth! Isn’t that worth living for. You’re here and you have breath. You have a purpose until the end, whenever that may be. Some might not know their end is today. Some suffer and fear their end is coming soon. But if you are in Christ, your end is only the beginning and those you have lost are not in your past but in your future. Rise up, you saints of God, and be encouraged.

  • Eric Linthicum

    “It is easy to spout trite Christian platitudes designed to make people feel better with bumper-sticker theology. But insipid axioms do little in the face of the actual brokenness of the world.” It is easy, and it means that I don’t have to sit in someone else’s pain, while I wonder ‘am I the next one to suffer like this?’ If I throw a bumper sticker platitude at someone, I get to stay clean and move on. I also get to fool myself into thinking that should something awful come my way I will be ok! It is Bullshit! When my daughter died I didn’t feel like I had to be the pastor with the answers, but I did feel pressure (turns out the pressure was only coming from within me) to be the pastor whose faith wasn’t shaken. But it was. And the longer I denied it and failed to deal with it, the more damage Satan did with that shaken faith. Thank God for sending me friends who a) Refused to try and answer for God as to why b) Refused to give me bumper-sticker theology (yes I had friends that did, but He also sent me friends that didn’t) and c) Refused to allow me to be phoney. They kicked my ass all the way to the point that I was back into a healthy relationship with God! Job had 3 good friends who sat with him in the ashes and pain. Then they started to speak.

  • Jill B

    Thank you. Finally. I agree completely. I have heard this saying for 3 years. I absolute hate it. I get looks of shock when I say it’s a lie. That saying has never brought me any encouragement or comfort. My husband died as a result of a motorcycle accident on our daughter’s 16 birthday. He was celebrating with us all morning and in a matter of 10 minutes after leaving our house, he was gone. I feel that people use that lie to numb themselves from the possibility that certain tragedies will ever knock on their door. If I never had to experience anything I couldn’t handle then I wouldn’t need a Savior. I could be my own.
    Keep writing. I’ll keep reading.

  • Stephen Troup

    Dear Brother Nate,
    (From one formerly blind man to another who is trying to gain his sight)
    It is obvious you are in pain and you cannot see thru the fog that you find yourself in. I wish you knew me so that you would know what I am about to write is coming from a place of LOVE, hope & compassion for you & for those who look to you as an authority figure.

    I wish that because what I am about to tell you, you will not want to hear or read (nor most of the people on your blog).

    First, let me address what you addressed first, the statement God will not give us more than we can bear and your general animosity toward platitudes. You have made much of dissecting 1 Corinthians 10:13 to show that this is not what God is saying…maybe it is not, but it’s a moot point. Certainly God will not give us more than we can bear, the weight of the entire body of Scripture points to this. God
    pleads with us time & again (thru Paul) to endure till the end. Endure what? Till the end of what? And for what reason?

    Like the Hebrews author admonished his audience, so I do you, still with LOVE. You are a teacher of the Word to others? Yet you have not moved beyond the basics of these 3 questions?

    But I am glad your are asking the questions you are asking if that is sincerely where you are at. How could your brothers & sisters help you if you remain silent?

    So let me get to the heart of the matter…Actually, first let me just address your problems in a worldly way:

    You have an illness in your family? How many wish they had the JOY of having a loved one who was ‘only’ ill, but they have had to bury them?

    You have a child going thru the terrible threes? How many child-less couples wish they could have JOY of dealing with this problem?

    You have had to cancel a trip to celebrate your parents’ 60th
    birthdays? How many children don’t have the JOY of even planning a trip to visit their parents because they are no longer in this world? How many wish they had even the JOY of memories, but they never knew their mother or father?

    You have a friend suffering the consequences of sin? How many wish they had someone to call a friend in this world so that they could just have the JOY of comforting them a time of need?

    You have a wife who has to terminate her pregnancy or risk her own life? How many in this world wish they had access to such wondrous medical technology that they could know these problems in advance and have the luxury of taking the appropriate measures to avoid them?

    And the ministry your are part of is reeling in confusion & pain…I’m not surprised. Can the blind lead the blind?

    But all that, as piercing as I hope those questions were, is NOT the heart of the matter. Here is the heart of the matter (And nothing else I write will be as important as this):

    You can ask why I lost this? Or why I lost that? Or can I go on without this or that? Or can I handle this or that? You can ask yourself & measure yourself against each individual scenario ad infinitum.

    But here is wisdom. Skip over ALL those questions and go straight to the end of where they eventually lead and ask yourself this one question…If I were to lose everything (and I mean everything!), my health, my wealth, my friends, my family (both physical & spiritual), my reputation, my home, my ability to even provide for
    myself, if I were to lose every good thing a man can have in this life, tangible & intangible, would I still be joyously happy to be in Christ, a son of God who is as we speak preparing a place for me to spend with him in eternity?

    When you can sincerely answer that question with a resounding YES!, satan will no longer exercise the power over you that he does. For right now, my brother,
    your happiness/treasure is rooted in having all these worldly things. Good though they are, and certainly a wife, child, having a leadership position in your church, having parents are all GOOD things, as a child of God (who has the power to give all things), your HAPPINESS should have never been dependent on having them or keeping them.

    God wants to prepare you for marriage, an eternal marriage, but you must cease
    being a slave to the things of this world (even the ‘good’ things of this world).

    I noticed on your blog you stated you were being transformed from ‘one degree to another’. I think that is a problem and it is connected to all you have been
    talking about. The man who allows himself to be1% in Christ, is fundamentally no different from a man who allows himself to be 99% in Christ. They are only different by a ‘matter of degrees’.
    Fundamental, transformational change takes place when you are 100% in Christ with no reservations, no matter what consequences that brings in this life. That is what God is calling you to be, fundamentally transformed 100%.

    Oh, platitudes…ease up on platitudes brother, the fact that you see them as cheesy & empty is a reflection of you, not the inherent truth they contain. They are life-transforming pearls of wisdom, if considered & taken to heart.
    Of course, not everyone who repeats them will have this understanding, but don’t knock the message.

    All this, as tough as I’ve been, has all been said with LOVE and the best of intentions & hope.

    Sincerely & in Christian LOVE,

    Stephen Troup

    • http://www.natepyle.com/ Nate Pyle

      First, the title of the blog comes from 2 Cor. 3:18. Poor Paul who wrote that and his misunderstanding. What would you have said to him?

      Second, the point of the post was that I cannot bear it, but Christ can. Again I point to Paul, “I can do all things” why? Because of my ability? Nope. Because of Christ. So it isn’t what I can bear at all. It is about what Christ can bear. That’s why the platitude is a lie.

      • Stephen Troup

        Brother,
        I understand my post may have stung a bit, but the fact you ran straight to sarcasm casts doubt that you sincerely want to hear anything but an echo chamber. Please don’t mistake anything I said for disagreeing with Paul.

        The statement Paul makes in 2 Cor 3:17-8 about being transformed is a conditional statement, i.e. for those turning to the Lord & contemplating His glory with unveiled faces. What I’m saying is I think you still have a worldly veil covering part of your face. Maybe ‘covering part of your heart’ would be more accurate in this instance for you’ve obviously given the things of this world a larger share of your heart than you should have. To grieve is understandable, but these losses should never be the burden you have allowed them to become.

        We who are in Christ see these problems, like you have described, as they are, temporary, and infintesimally small, when contrasted to our eternal life that awaits us. It is the world that makes these problems monumentally huge to overcome, because of their value system that is completely at odds with God.

        Matt.10.22 – and you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.
        Matt 24:13 – But the one who endures to the end will be saved.

        1 Cor 13:7 – Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

        We have not been called to endure so much just to be given that which we cannot handle.
        Paul praised many and Paul criticized many, but they all had Christ in them or had at one time. The difference is in what we CHOOSE. We can CHOOSE to take our hearts down a bad path , or, we can CHOOSE to take our hearts down the right path. A true & deep understanding of Christ & the Father will steady us in our days of tribulation.

        Sincerely & in Christian LOVE,

        Stephen Troup

        • http://www.natepyle.com/ Nate Pyle

          Stephan, Jesus wept at the death of Lazarus. Jesus cried out “my God, my God why have you forsaken me?” The psalmist laments consistently, often claiming God left him. To claim that one needs to buck up and not cry out to God is to deny much of the Biblical witness.

          I would caution you in being Job’s friend and encourage you to mourn with those who mourn and no try and correct.

  • Conspiracy Einstein

    Thank you.

  • Staci Dennis

    I was initially very excited to read this post. I wish it would have stopped here: For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself (2 Cor)… because… why do we, as Christians, think we are privy to a better life, outcome, healing measures, protection from evil, etc than any other children of god?

    The writer negates everything he just said when he wrote: I am expecting him to redeem this situation. Why? He also says… I believe expectant waiting can only happen when we exchange our feeble platitudes for an authentic faith that engages God with the full brunt of our emotion and pain. If you say this about your situation and it is not remedied, then God didn’t show up? Did God not care about the kid who died of cancer because they weren’t healed? Did he not care about the 11M Jews that died in WWII? I am sure the “full brunt of their emotions and pain” were on the line.

    God will surely redeem all things to him, but it might not be before we are dead. It might not be before our kid dies of cancer, or our family member is murdered or another genocide takes place.

    Jesus, himself, asked for the burden of his burtal murder that he knew was coming, to be lifted from him. God said no. Why then, do Christians ask for the easy life, the road with less heartache, a life without stuggle, loss, grief, paind? Why should we be any different than Jesus?

  • Dawna Bate

    Thank you Thank you Thank you – for the honesty, the vulnerability and the humility you have shown in bringing this to a discussion. I have always struggled with that platitude and have often not believed it.
    I am a minister’s child and was raised with the expectation that we never question and we never suffer and we never have problems. And if we do, we certainly don’t admit them to the rest of the world. How can that possibly help others by being that fake?
    Thank you for showing that we are all human, we all suffer and we all question. The important thing to take from this is that our faith will help us get through these things and by admitting that we are suffering, we allow ourselves to let our faith support us. Bless you for so honestly sharing this message.

  • Deirdre Hulihan

    It is a cop out to put it on god, & it is blasphemy. No one knows the mind of god. An increasing number of people are not Christian or not believers. In the Catholic faith, in which I was raised, I never heard statements like this & would not have been comforted. Know your audience.

  • Anthony

    I’m still not seeing how this is a lie.

    Your examples of the people that have suffered, Auschwitz, wife and kid died etc. are just things that would adjust how we live our daily lives. Yes there are things like mental illnesses and misses body parts that could affect how we get around or how we talk, but it is not more than you can handle.

    Your three weeks, while it is a really bad three weeks, is just everything coming together at once. First off your child going into the terrible-three’s stage is for you and your wife to work through. Your friend suffering the consequence of sin is not your consequence and while yes you should try and help it is not entirely up to you to fix it. A ministry you are a part of…. exactly, a part of, not all of it. You had a cancel a trip to celebrate your parents 60th birthdays, unfortunately we miss birthdays and even one’s we claim as special because of a certain number. Yes it is unfortunate that the pregnancy could have been life-threatening to your wife, but try to see the grace that God gave in saving your wife instead of possibly losing both your child and your wife and be thankful for her still being here. I don’t want to come off as mean but yes this is a lot of stuff to go through, yes you may have had a lot of sleepless nights or small amount of sleep at night. But the truth is that God does not schedule our lives around sleep or birthdays or terrible three’s.

    Obviously this was not too much for you to handle. You made it through, while yes there was a loss of baby there is still much to be thankful for. The way I see it, the only way you couldn’t make it through all of this is if you died, that is something you cannot handle therefore Jesus died to take you away from Hell and save you from death itself. Yes people say there are worse things than death, but I’m sorry dying and going to Hell is a lot worse than any other things of this world.

    • Christine Mattson Carlson

      The Auschwitz? Seriously?? Just things that would adjust how we live our daily lives??? Would you say these words of “comfort” to someone in Auschwitz “I’m sorry Hell is worse so be thankful, okay?” How selfish and inconsiderate.

      • Anthony

        Yes. There are things in this world that can change how we live, change our outlook on things and sometimes even make us stay away from a group of people. The point I’m trying to make is not to try and comfort these people with saying that Hell is worse, but be thankful for a loving God that pulled you out of Auschwitz and sent his Son that you may have eternal life without suffering and be with God.

        I’m not saying Auschwitz is something that someone should have to go through, but I’m saying that we all go through trials of tough times in life and they may go from having a divorce to surviving Auschwitz, but the Lord still saves you from these things.

        In my comparison of Hell, I would rather spend my entire lifetime in Auschwitz knowing that I would be saved and the Lord would spare me and I could have eternal life with them, rather than living a life without any tough times or huge problems in my life and spend eternity in Hell.

  • justjojo

    Nate, please think of giving up the illusion of a God. Rely on yourself for your comfort and on your loved ones.

  • Sherri Franklin

    Nate, as others have mentioned here, I, too, have found both pain AND
    comfort in reading the chapters of JOB, in the Bible – since I was
    saved, one miraculous night, in the midst of a life-threatening illness,
    as a teenager…

    For years now, I have – somewhat sarcastically, I guess – called
    myself ‘the Millennium Job’. It’s not that a terrible, cataclysmic event
    happened to me, but it’s the non-earth-shaking, random and
    almost-regular, ‘little’ crisis and debacles that seem to pound on me
    with such a consistency I almost speak aloud the phrase ‘Someone
    up-there has really got it in for me’.

    It’s the difference between a fullblown bonfire, and a series of
    endless pop-up fires… the amount, the regularity, like
    chinese-water-torture, has many of us believing we are truly the
    wretched, the forgotten, the forsaken… We never get the true sympathy
    from others that someone, say, who is dying of a terminal illness, or
    someone who lost their entire family to a housefire or bridge collapse -
    would receive in spades! Why? Because our particular ‘bad luck’ or current tragedy-of-the-month is NOT AS BIG or ”dire’ as the afore-mentioned?

    Not for the first time, do many of us wish SOMEONE could walk
    beside us – experience our lives and the tremendous weight of our
    multiple tragedies (albeit ‘smaller’, their numbers should COUNT), even
    for a week… they we could truly gain the UNDERSTANDING, from others,
    of our particular brand of pain. Second, that we – who seem to have
    lives comprised of ’70% tragedies/30% relative calm’ might be shown the
    sympathy – genuine sympathy and concern – that is usually reserved for
    those who have lives of the ’5% tragedy/95% calm/peace’ (HAPPINESS?)
    version….

    So we slog on, literally promising God we will make it through, ONE DAY AT A TIME…

    Your article, on the lies that so many cliched and pithy
    sentiments are, moved me to add one to the ‘God never gives you more
    than you can bear’ platitude…

    The similar sentiment, “It’s what doesn’t kill you that makes you
    stronger”, is one I also have found to be a lie, although that would be a
    little difficult to PROVE (I mean, I haven’t DIED, so I can’t vouch
    from the ‘other side’, can I?).

    Because I don;t FEEL any stronger, after the early and
    oh-so-unfair passing of my Mother to cancer when she was barely 60, the
    tragic loss of a friend to a freak household accident, the exquisite
    grief that still lingers after the unexpected loss of my beloved pet and
    companion to the brain tumor that finally caused him
    violent seizures and death…do these things make me ‘better able’ to
    face death and loss and tragedy later??

    If anything, all of the previous losses seem to accumulate in our
    hearts, and put us one straw – just one more loss – away from grieving
    ourselves ‘to death’. I know it was my mother who passed that little
    saying on to me (in better days of my youth, when she and I, both, were
    in good health and enjoying a modicum of happiness), but I truly hope
    to never hear it again. We wear our pain and broken hearts on our
    sleeves, like scars that never go away. And they do not combine to make
    us ‘stronger’ – they, in fact, seem to leave chinkholes for even more
    pain and heartache to get into, break us down to our knees more often,
    leaving us weak, even weaker,
    with every loss…

    The only consolation that comes from losing so much, so often, is
    that we grow to EXPECT more pain ahead of us. Is THAT the ‘stronger’
    part?

    Someday, perhaps, God will comfort us and explain these things that
    seem to make little or no sense to us, in the here and now….

  • Corinne Friesen

    Thank you for this post. I raised my children single handedly in poverty, under repeated court cases, after protecting them from domestic abuse. Whenever someone would say to me “God doesn’t give us more than we can bear,” I would feel it like a judgemental knife in my heart. It was bullshit, and their words felt like a way for them to feel good so they could then walk away. So I’ve been meaning to write on this one for a long time. Glad to see you did.

  • Revived

    A miracle happened this weekend.

    Two weeks ago I got to feel the excitement of a life growing inside my body. I got to imagine a life with a precious little baby all red hair, blue eyes and lashes like Jordan. A little child made up of all the goodness of my husband and I, innocence, sweetness and energy. I got to dream about names and clothes and nurseries and breastfeeding and bonding and loving and nurturing and protecting. We got to excitedly tell our families and close friends that we they were going to be grandparents, aunties, uncles… We were uplifted by their excitement for us and confidence in us that we would make great parents.

    I got to research exactly how big the little one inside of me was and how big it would grow to be. Would my body shape change? Would I just look fat or would I look pregnant? Will I get stretch marks? When do I tell work? When do I tell my friends? Don’t eat soft cheese, no more alcohol for me! I was conscious of every morsel that I put in my mouth. Very aware that I was sharing with someone that had no choice.

    I am so grateful for this time. It was the happiest time of my life. My husband became my protector – my confidant, my ally in the biggest secret ever kept. We had something physical that would bond us together forever. We had something we would be be proud of and ache for. We had the most exciting gift to unwrap in just 9 months time.

    But what I thought was Gods perfect plan for us, wasn’t to be – at least for now.

    And that’s ok. God is still Good. He is always Good. His plans are perfect and right and just.

    I was warned in my late teens that it would be very difficult for me to bear children, that most likely; I would not be able to conceive naturally. But they were wrong. My God is a God of miracles. I can conceive naturally. I am not too damaged. My body is not too broken. It is perfect. Made perfectly by the hands of God for his Glory. And my God has a plan for me and for my husband, and one day it will include a little one.

    I’m sorry that last week we were asked to give back our precious baby. I know that we would have loved to have been parents but it wasn’t the time for us just yet. Along with my baby – a part of what identifies me as a woman was taken as well. My ovary and tube were damaged, they were removed from my body – feeling as if torn away – the physical pain more than I’ve ever felt. With the regaining of consciousness came the news I didn’t expect to hear. Spoken to once again by Dr’s saying that my chances of conceiving are once again lessened. I rebuke it. I speak life. I believe that my God is a God of miracles.

    God is revealing his Grace to us in every way imaginable. He is placing all the right people around us for now. Gifting friends and family with the words to speak to bring comfort in those moments of fragility. Showing us that there is no end of love for us and there was no end of love for our baby.

    And this is the miracle, this is our testimony. That all hope is not lost. We didn’t break. We as a couple are stronger than ever. We didn’t turn away from each other, we clung to each other and to the Master of perfect plans and timing and the one in charge of our lives. We have experienced the highest of highs and the lowest of lows and we are ok. Bruised and grazed and exhausted and drained – But more than all of those combined – we are hopeful.

    And THAT more than anything – is a miracle. I pray it be yours.

  • Joyful Jewel

    Amen I’ve always said it was a lie, I was abused in all ways as a child, I am right now stuck in the midst of depression. However I know Our Daddy God gives us more than we can handle because if HE didn’t we would never learn to fully rely upon and depend on HIM. We wouldn’t come to Trust HIM to see us through the storm. And it makes us stronger for it in the end. Gives us more compassion for others, helps us help others through the same type of situation and helps us love that much stronger. God bless and thank-you

  • Amber Wright Matthews

    I hate reading comments. I have learned by being schooled in the hard-knock life of watching so many women around me miscarry in 4 months and listening to one vent – “there is nothing you can say that will make this right. No, God doesnt need another angel, he has plenty. No, there is no reason. No, there was nothing wrong with that baby. Bad things happen, so unless you have a message from God or something smart to say – shut the hell up.”
    Luckily, I was the ventee not the poor sap that opened her yap. But my friend was right, unless you’re going to say I love you – don’t speak.

    Even to correct someone else who might have offered the platitude.

    Just hug them, love them, pray for them, cook them dinner, take their other babies to the park, wash their car. Do, don’t say.

  • Anita

    I have often been thru a lot more than I can handle. Starting with my childhood, that was poverty stricken and the consequence of not being aware of the awfulness of this world. I have lost people in my life and I have never and will never know how I deal with all the pain on a daily basis. I try not to let all of my various problems control me. I only wish I did not have to live with all the disorder that has been in my life. I do, however mange to get thru day to day and sometimes minit to minit. Some my fault, some not. I live for the day when God can yell us how and why, if we still want to know. I have seen a few people suffer so much and it could not possibly be their own fault. The older I get, The less I understand!!

  • Victor John Martinez

    Thanks for writing this. I am a statistical anomaly. I am Hispanic. I was a victim of satanic ritual abuse for 9 years of my childhood. I moved from the Caribbean to the Deep South, and became a target of some very known Skinhead hate-groups, and was on 2 separate occasions in a trauma center after being attacked on the streets. The second time the police report said that the mob was 50 people. I was left for dead, and my best friend thought I was dead for several minutes until I started breathing again. I made it through that, only to become depressed, start partying (was always a good kid before this), and became a very, very hardcore drug addict. Was addicted to benzodiazepines and nearly died withdrawing from them due to the seizures. After this I was hit in my car 3 different times just sitting at a red light, once by a drunk driver going 75 miles an hour.

    I lost my girlfriend of 2 years when she crashed her car into a retaining wall.

    I was diagnosed with PTSD. I began treatment, and via memories of my childhood have suffered immeasurably. I was also diagnosed an insomniac. I get about 8 hours of sleep some weeks, for weeks on end.

    Last year, I lost my Grandmother, and my Aunt. Before I had a chance to grieve, my father died of complications of chemo-therapy, because all this while he had cancer. Then my therapist, mentor, and best friend died 2 months later of a sudden heart attack.

    I had to bury all these people. In a depression, my brother recently engaged in a relationship with a clinical sociopath, survived it, and has had to come to terms with our childhood. I am the only one who can contribute to his story.

    Then, at Christmas time last year, my second son was born profoundly deaf. As a musician of 24 years I cannot express what a kick in the nuts this is.

    So hell yes God will give you way, way, way more than anyone can handle. We see Jesus himself begging the Father to deviate from the plan.

    Again, thanks.

    • Christine Mattson Carlson

      Praying for your healing, sometimes God does not give us this stuff, it is the evil one doing this to us, especially the child abuse, that is not God giving us stuff, that is evil, but I am praying for your healing. I was victim of betrayal and rejection from my mother several years ago, it does get better over time, one day at a time. Sorry you had to go throughout all this. Prayers for healing and comfort for you.

  • Ken Pavy

    That was a very open and truthful article Nate. Thankyou for sharing with us. It’s refreshing to hear a Pastor speaking the truth, without silver tongued words of encouragement which ultimately lead to disappointment, delusion and backsliding. May God help you through this terrible time and may you and your family come out the other side of it stronger in your faith.
    My wife and I lost our 17 year old son in 1991 after he was brain damaged in a car crash 3 years earlier. Guys at work asked me “Do you still believe in God now Ken?”
    I told them that I sure do and that it was not God who was trying to destroy my family.
    We trusted God right through those terrible years and when our son passed away, through all the pain of that great loss, our faithful God gave me His peace.
    God gave me the faith to keep trusting in Him. We Christians get battered and bruised like anyone else and sometimes worse. However, our God is with us. When our emotions, our minds and bodies are screaming for deliverance from our hour of terror. Even when we can’t see how God can possibly get us through, or reach in and pull us up out of a pit of darkness who’s sides press in ever harder and threaten to squeeze the life or worse, squeeze the last dregs our our faith from us… it is our Father who supplies the faith. We don’t have to conjure it up.
    It is during these times that we find out if we are really who we claim to be. Christians. It is during these times that we will either grow strong, or curl up in a corner, cringing and trembling our way through the crisis.
    You will come through this a better Pastor. And by the way you have written your article I would say, a no B. S. Pastor as well!

  • Cal

    Oh dear Lord, Will thee remove this shite from my facebook? Amen.

  • Jodi C

    I appreciate the honesty. I wish you had addressed that God also does not give us the bad things in life. The illnesses, the deaths, the lost jobs, the evictions, the homelessness. etc. I do not believe we ‘earned’ them nor that God is ‘trying to teach us something’. Please address this as well. I have a lot of Christian friends who think the above, and it–quite frankly–pisses me off. Don’t tell me that my mother’s mental illnesses or my sister’s mental illnesses that have hospitalized them in and out, back and forth for YEARS are ‘a life lesson’. Shit happens. God and His Son are hurting just as much as we are. Sometimes shit happens just because. Not everything happens for a reason and I am very very tired of that phrase as well. I reference When Bad Things Happen to Good People. It changed my perspective and my life. In realizing that horrible random things happen, w