You know how people sometimes say things that they “think” are in the Bible, but they are really not? A couple of them that really annoy me are “God helps those who help themselves” (where is the dependence on God in that statement?) and the one that really bothers me is “God won’t give you more than you can bear.”
I recently finished a book by Nancy Ortberg called Looking For God . One of the chapters is titled “Could We Please Stop Talking Like This?” and basically she’s reflecting on things that Christians say that are either offensive to non-believers or things that we say that are not theologically or biblically correct.
I love what she says about “God won’t give you more than you can handle.” She says “For starters, the verse that is derived from, 1 Corinthians 10:13 is talking about temptations, not trials or suffering. Beyond that, the idea implies that as followers of Christ, we are protected from heavy doses of difficulty. That is simply not true. This idea gives the impression that people going through rough circumstances have missed the protective shield. Please protect me from that kind of love. Of course we are going to face hard things in life. Unbearable, unthinkable, inexplicable things. And the power and the presence of God will meet us in those things. Difficult circumstances require from us enormous amounts of courage and faith that often come only after we’ve pleaded, searched, wrestled, and waited. Not as the result of a mindless and inaccurate phrase. The way we talk matters. We need to think deeply about the theological implications of what we are saying and remember that God is not simply a useful tool to support our politics or our beliefs. He is not a pawn in our hands. He is not the parking lot fairy. He does not comfort grieving parents by telling them He knew they could handle it. God is the powerful center. For our soul and the souls of others, it is worth thinking before we speak. Talk matters. The way we speak and what we say paint a picture of God in our hearts and minds.”