Does God Give Us More Than We Can Handle?

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by Heather Bock

Does God give us more than we can handle?

I used to think the answer to this question was no. I had I Corinthians 10:13 in the back of my mind: “God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.”

However, unless I’ve missed something, this verse does not say God will not allow us to undergo difficulties more than we can stand. It says He will not allow us to have temptations more than we can stand. He will provide a way out of the temptation, but not necessarily out of the hardship.

Paul talks about in II Corinthians 4:8-9 that he and his fellow believers were “afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed.” We can probably gain from this that we won’t be destroyed by our hardships, but that still doesn’t mean we won’t be afflicted with hardships more than we can stand. Some of them may knock us to the ground.

Over the years, I’ve studied the Bible quite a bit. I know the difficulties faced by Moses, Joseph, and Paul, people following God’s will. I believe very strongly in the refining nature of suffering, citing Romans 5:3-5: “we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” I’ve gone through very difficult times in the past and after having gone through them and recognizing the closeness of my relationship with Jesus during those times, have prayed for more hard times.

In spite of all that, when I actually hit difficult times, my prayers still mostly revolve around God making it all better. Soon. Right now would be great.

Recently, He pointed this out in me. My daughter Little E has not been doing well emotionally the past few months. I don’t understand why she’s acting the way she is, but it’s obvious she needs help and despite the fact that I’ve tried many routes, I have not been able to help her. On top of that, I homeschool her, so her learning has been negatively affected. I have homeschooled her since she was in preschool; I have spent the past five years doing everything I can to teach her well in light of her unique personality. No one on earth should understand her better than I do, right? So why don’t I?

As I mentioned in my most recent post here, a few weeks ago, I started getting up early to pray. My biggest motivator was to know God more, but another part of the reason I started doing it was to beg God to help me understand and aid Little E. I read testimonies of people praying and God swooping in to make everything better for the family–or at least, that was my take-away. I thought that if I just fasted and prayed really hard, God would fix it all–as if anyone can manipulate God to do what we want, when we want Him to do it.

I started praying. I prayed in the morning and over my children every night. Result? My daughter grew worse.

I could chalk it up to spiritual warfare, and it could very well be that, but God is still sovereign, and I don’t believe anything could get past Him without His ok. If you can’t imagine Him doing that, read Job.

This very difficult time with my daughter is forcing me to get on my knees in prayer, it’s making me learn how to love her better (although I’m far from where I need to be), and it looks like it’s going to bring me to enrolling her in a school. All of it is a huge hit to my pride, a portion of me that has grown too big of late. He’s also been with me, showing up all over the place where I need Him most, strengthening me, dropping encouraging words along the path.

Maybe the continuance of the difficulty is the answer to the prayer.

Mothering my kids well is more than I can handle. Sometimes, or should I say often, God gives us more than we can handle. But if we were only given what we thought we could handle, would we turn to Him? Wouldn’t the temptation be too much to try to rely on ourselves? Maybe the difficulty too hard to handle is a way to keep the temptation to sin from being too much to handle.

What are your struggles? Are you going through a hard time? I would love to pray for you. Comment below with prayer requests or send me an email at heather.bock[at]

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0 thoughts on “Does God Give Us More Than We Can Handle?

  1. Heather, I can certainly empathize with you, and you are correct … God does give us more than we handle. If he didn’t, then we would never learn to lean on Him and trust Him in the manner He wants us to. I will certainly pray for you and your daughter. I have a 16-year-old daughter of my own and sometimes I wonder if I’ll ever come to an understanding of her. That’s where my wife and I simply trust God and lay it at His feet. He will take care of it. I believe I will have a great relationship with her. I received a prophecy years ago this would happen, but it’s taken me this long to put all of my trust and faith in Jesus instead of my own parenting skills. She is a wonderful girl, I just have to allow Christ to penetrate her heart and let her see just how wonderful she is. Again, all prayers for you and your daughter and for peace and harmony in your home.

    1. I will pray for your daughter and your relationship with her! Thank you for your prayers, too. I’m glad God gave you a prophecy to give you hope!

  2. Jennifer and I were just talking a bit about this yesterday. I agree that God does allow us to go through things that are more then we can bear. Although we cannot always see what is going on in the middle of our hardships, they leave an identifying mark on our life’s and in our hearts. In turn, when we give these times to God, they can be used to mold us into the person He wants us to be.Or we could choose to be angry and bitter. I can tell you that after 59 years, I know that God has used the most difficult times in my life to give me wisdom and grace in area’s where I would never had been able to extend it otherwise. I think the most important thing I have learned in these times is that I have a choice to trust God or not. Obviously the sooner I choose to trust, the sooner some peace and wisdom enters the situation. But then there are the times I choose to hang on to something until I am either exhausted with my efforts or have hit a wall. I can tell you with all the humility I can gather and with a thankfulness beyond measure that God has ALWAYS extended forgiveness, grace and healing. While there are still things I do not understand, I am learning to more quickly give Him the things I cannot handle and He is always faithful to meet me in that place, in that moment with open arms. In these times its critical to cling to what we know, not what we cannot see or comprehend.
    Praying for your sweet girl as you learn to walk with her in this place. I love you and miss the times of Bible studies we spent together. So blessed to see God using you in such an incredible way!

    1. Bonnie, I miss our times together, too! Those were such beautiful times.

      I have seen a few others choose bitterness in the hard times—it’s hard to see. I pray I don’t ever go that route. I want to choose always to trust God, too, and obtain wisdom along the way like you have.

      Thank you for your prayers! We need them as we navigate this—especially that she’ll understand my love and God’s love for her, and that she’ll recognize her value even as she misbehaves.

  3. Thank you Heather. I needed this reminder. While doing what is best for our child is difficult, moving aside what we had planned is the most painful part. Although school has been very positive for my daughter, she has needed cognitive behavioral therapy to manage her anxiety and OCD. Praying for you and your daughter.

    1. Thank you for your prayers. Especially as she doesn’t want to go to school, this decision has been heart-rending. When she has some moments when she’s doing well, it makes me so sad thinking about missing those moments with her during the day. I also know the school environment will probably be good for her, but it’s painful, as you say, to set aside my plans for her. I have to trust God knows best!

  4. Heather, your burden is my burden. All of our prayer circle feels the same. We are offering up a chorus of prayers with you, for you.

  5. When I first came to know Jesus, that phrase was very prevalent in my life with people telling me, “God won’t give you more than you can handle”. I found out very quickly afterwards that this statement is false. In my walk with the Lord, those seasons where I have way more than I can handle are some of the sweetest times with the Lord. I homeschool as well, and it has presented its own set of challenges, as with everything else. Lifting you and your daughter up in prayer for clarity and peace for school.

    1. Thank you for your prayer! It’s not a good misconception because when people come up against big difficulties, they could either blame themselves or God. I say, expect the hard times, and as Paul says, we can even rejoice in them because of the good we know God will bring out of them.

  6. Great post! The hardships I’ve been through lately have been the ones I’ve known that He was so very close beside me each step. It’s redefined me as a person and as a Christ-follower. It’s produced a level of perseverance that I didn’t even know I had in me.

    Praying for you as you decide on what to do about school. Your daughter can be a marvelous light in the halls of a public school.

    1. God has walked with me through this, too, and I’m very thankful for that. I know He’s helping me to grow through this! Thank you for your prayers!

  7. Thank you Heather for these wise words. Lately, some people I know have faced the unimaginable, and I can’t help but ask “really, God? This is Your will?” It is so hard to understand why He allows some things to happen–and why He answers our prayers differently than we’d like. But it is amazing how much He makes Himself known to us in the storm. Praying you continue to experience Him in powerful ways on this journey.

  8. Thanks for your post, Heather. I have been in that overwhelming place and it isn’t fun. Yet in the middle of it, I always seem to learn a little bit more about God in the process

  9. Heather, what a beautiful heartfelt post regarding your struggles with your daughter. Thank you. I soaked up every word, for, I too, needed the reminder from god’s word. I live to grow in Him and praise His live for us. Thank you.

  10. Heather, my husband gave me a t-shirt that says, “God gives us only what we can handle. Apparently, God thinks I’m a bad-ass.” I’m sure God knows you will stay close to him through this. Love you.

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