Have you ever been going through a trial, feeling sorry for yourself and the circumstances you are dealing with, only to have someone tell you “God doesn’t give you more than you can handle.”
How does God know how much I can handle?
How does he not what my breaking point is so he can go right up to the line of what I can handle without crossing it?
Devin Miller (Mountain Green, Utah)
Father and Husband
Have you ever been going through a trial, feeling sorry for yourself and the circumstance you are dealing with only to have someone tell you “God doesn’t give you more than you can handle.” That kind of statement gives me very little comfort. Just because I can handle the trial does not help me deal with the trial, it does not lighten my trial or make my trial any easier. Besides not finding comfort in that statement, it also leads me to wonder, how does God know how much I can handle? How does he not what my breaking point is so he can go right up to the line of what I can handle without crossing it?
To understand this, we must first understand the origin of where this saying came from. It originates from a scripture in 1 Corinthians 10:13:
There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.
So we are promised by our Heavenly Father that he will not give us trials beyond what we can bear, but that still does not answer the question of how he knows how much we can bear. The answer comes from Dallin H. Oaks’ 1993 general conference talk where he discusses the plan of salvation. In his talk, Elder Oaks explains that before our mortal existence we lived with our Heavenly Father. During this time our Heavenly Father got to know us perfectly. Much as an earthly parent knows each of their children, their hopes and fears and their strengths and weaknesses our Heavenly Father got to know each of his children perfectly.With that knowledge, Heavenly Father learned what we are able to handle.
As proof, picture one of your children in your mind. Now place a big bowl of their favorite candy right in front of them and tell them that they cannot eat a single piece or they will have to go to time out for a day. Then leave the room. Will your child be able to withstand the temptation or will they eat some of the candy and hope you do not notice.
I can tell you which of my children would eat the candy and which ones would not without ever having to actually do this exercise because I know each of my children from birth. I know their strengths and their weaknesses. I know what may tempt one of my children will not tempt another one of my children. If I can gain this knowledge as an imperfect parent with an imperfect knowledge, how much greater is our Heavenly Father’s knowledge regarding each of us?
God knows Us
Our Heavenly Father’s perfect knowledge of each of his children enables his to know what trials each of his children can handle and what trials are beyond their capabilities to handle. As we understand that our Heavenly Father has a perfect understanding of his children, it provides us comfort.
It comforts us to know that as we face trials that our Heavenly Father knows us, know what we can handle, and know how to help us grow.
Beyond being comforted that our Heavenly Father knows how much we can handle, it is also comforting to know that our Heavenly Father perfectly knows how to comfort his children. He knows how to help each of his children when they face their trials so that they can grow without failure, to rise again after they stumble. Our Heavenly Father not only knows how much we can handle, He knows how to help each of us to become as He is. So take hope in our Heavenly Father. Take hope in his plan. He knows us, He loves us, and He cares for us. As we trust in our Heavenly Father, we will be able to come as He is, perfect.