GOD NEVER GIVES MORE THAN WE CAN HANDLE
When our friends or acquaintances are going through a hard time, most of us struggle to know what to say. Too often, we fall back on well-meaning clichés to try to cheer them up, but they often do more harm than good. For example, a common phrase we’ll offer is “God will never give you more than you can handle.” While we probably mean for that phrase to encourage others to trust God, is this old saying even true?
Work through the following questions and Scriptures on your own, and get together with your running partner, life group, or friends and family to talk through what you are learning.
1. Can you share about a time someone offered a common saying to try to cheer you up?
2. Read 1 Corinthians 10:13. What’s the difference between this verse and the a cliché which we repeat in the face of difficult circumstances?
3. If you could always handle your circumstances easily, would you ever ask your community for help? Why do you think it matters whether we experience painful trials and need our community?
4. Read John 16:33. Jesus promised we will experience suffering in this world but then emphasized that He has overcome everything that comes against us. If He always gave us what we could handle, we would never ask for or learn to rely upon His grace and love. What is most encouraging or challenging to you about this two-part promise?
5. Read Psalm 73:26. We can’t rely on ourselves to physically and mentally be able to handle everything that life brings, so we must learn what it means to rely on God as our source of strength. Can you share what relying on God in difficult times looks like for you?
6. Read 2 Corinthians 1:4. Sometimes we have painful experiences so that we can be a source of light and hope in someone else’s suffering, perhaps being their only encouragement. Can you share how someone has comforted and given you hope because of something they went through? What is a trial you’ve endured that you can use to encourage someone else in the coming days and weeks?
Proverbs 3:5-6 – Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6
1 Corinthians 10:13 – The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And 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.
John 16:33 – “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”
Psalm 73:26 – Maybe my mind and body will become weak, but God is my source of strength. He is mine forever!
2 Corinthians 1:4 – He comes alongside us when we go through hard times, and before you know it, he brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so that we can be there for that person just as God was there for us.
As you’re beginning to apply this week’s message, dig deeper by working through the “Trust God” outcome on Gateway’s Spiritual Growth Path at gatewaychurch.com/path. As we learned in the message, when we’re faced with difficulties, it can sometimes be challenging to have faith that God will see us through. The spiritual outcome addresses how we can trust God and not idols (e.g., money, relationships, career) as our source of security, joy, and purpose. Here’s an excerpt from the outcome:
…[there is a] critical distinction between belief and trust. A person might believe an airplane can fly but not be willing to trust in the airplane by actually boarding it and experiencing flight. Scripture not only calls us to a belief in the existence of God, but we are exhorted to entrust our lives and well-being to God through Christ. James wrote, “You believe there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that —and shudder” (James 2:29). Or put another way, even enemies of God believe God exists and that he sent his son. Abraham was called a friend of God, not because he believed God exists, but because he entrusted his life to God. Humanity looks to many things other than God for security, purpose, and well-being, effectively making these things their god.
To complete the spiritual outcome study in its entirety, visit gatewaychurch.com/spiritual_outcomes/ trust-god