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More Than You Can Cope With?

There is a phrase which gets trotted out sometimes in Christian circles when someone is having a rough time:

“God won’t give you more than you can bear.”

Right now, if someone said that to me, I’d probably feel most like punching them. Nowhere in scripture does it say that, or even imply it. It’s not helpful when people say it, because it piles guilt on top of all the bad stuff which may be happening in someone’s life. The thinking which follows hearing that statement goes something along these lines...

‘I feel as though I can’t handle what’s being thrown at me, but if I’m a Christian, I’m not supposed to experience anything beyond what I can cope with. Ergo, I must not have enough faith/must not really be a Christian.’

The phrase is supposed to be a comfort, but it feels more like a stab to the heart. There are times in life when, faith or no faith, we feel as though we're drowning and there is no-one to help us. That phrase is apt to make us try to ignore, or at least belittle, what we’re suffering. It can lead us to continue to strive to ‘cope’ on our own, and not acknowledge that we can’t cope - so we struggle on, instead of reaching out and asking for help.

Copyright Phil Hendry, 2016