A dear friend of mine recently sent me an email letter discussing the very famous saying, “God never gives you more than what you can handle.”
So the question is, “Does God give you more than what you can handle?”
My daughter and I had this very on topic discussion recently. As a young adult with PTSD, anxiety disorder, depression, mild mood disorder, and CAPD along with short term memory issues, every problem that surfaced was magnified. That is how teens and young adults view their problems too When difficult times come their way and they can’t handle it, they find that they failed God or God is punishing them as though they did not have enough faith to get through their circumstances.
Telling our child that God never gives them more than what they can handle, sets them up for disaster. How? When a teen is faced with insurmountable odds and they have tried everything in their mind to survive it, they come to the conclusion that they are too weak to conquer anything and will give up. This is especially true for a teen who struggles with deep depression and is suicidal.
In the midst of our conversation, my daughter then asked, “Then why does God give us more than what we can handle, because I can’t take it anymore?” This is a common question from a teen or young adult who is hurting. I believe even as adults, many of us ask that same question.
So again, “Why does God give us more than what we can handle?”
This was a fabulous question. We live in a broken down sinful world. There is no doubt about it. With this in mind, this sinful world affects everyone around them, including our kids. Yet, we have a wonderful and promising Savior who wants to be our answer, rescuer, and healer. He also leaves room for our hearts to be tested as well.
Do we rely on our own strength and belief to get us through any circumstance? Do we lean on God instead for our every need despite what our eyes see? Notice that if we go through life only dealing with simple aggravations, it does not lead us into a more intimate relationship with Christ. Even a teenager and young adult understands this concept. It is only when we are at the depths of despair do we cry out for help pushing our faith to another level.
Story after story you hear of how young people reach the bottom of the pit with nowhere else to go and want to give up. However, it is in that place that they often find God in their desperation in a more personal way. So it was for my daughter. She said she was tired of trying to fix her life her way. She was angry for a long time at God believing that He didn’t care about her suffering. Eventually she began to understand that it was her decision making that caused the chasm between her and God. As she looked at all of the events in her young life, she realized that God was clearly trying to reach out to her, but her unrepentant and rebellious heart kept her from hearing and following Him. How true this is for all of us, even as parents.
If we take a look at Joseph in the Bible, he was about 17 years old when he was thrown in a water well planned by his jealous and envious brothers who wanted to kill him at first. (Talk about family love!) He was then sold into slavery (not by choice), accused of wrongdoing (even when he was innocent), and sent to prison for years (in squalor, not like the jails of today). I could imagine the thoughts lingering in his mind of God abandoning him and even thoughts that it was too much for him to handle. Don’t forget, he was a teen/young adult.
His life was going nowhere, so it seemed. However, God had plans that included a ministry in jail, Joseph’s release into a high position of authority, and giving him back all that was taken from him at such a young age. This also caused his brothers that turned their backs on him so many years earlier, to ask for forgiveness, repent, and reunite with Joseph. Although our teens are not dealing with a situation like Joseph, they do have their own turmoils to go through.
While discussing many stories from the Bible and in her own personal story, my daughter concluded that God does allow more than what we can handle so that we can rely solely on Him in the midst of our storms. Because honestly, there is no hope outside of God. He is the ONLY ONE who can be our deliverer in times of trouble. Through these struggles, we learn how to stand firm in our faith and grow in the knowledge that yes, God is still there when it seems like we can handle no more. This goes for us parents as well as our teens and young adults.
So if your child laments of how they can’t handle what God has allowed or given to them, remind them of Joseph and all of the other Biblical men and women of God who were confronted with opposition, evil, torment, persecution, and more while standing the test of time. God was real for them back then as He is today. So pray for God to show your teen/young adult His mercy and love as well as help in their time of need as they navigate their way through life.