So I understand the idiom “That’s a hard pill to swallow.” It speaks to the difficulty of some situations. But fear not, whenever you have a “hard pill to swallow” there’s another idiom that will strength your bones, cause you to man-up (or woman-up), suck it up, and soldier on through the situation! Christians often say “God will never give you more than you can handle.”
See?! So if you’re out of money, your spouse has gone missing, your kids have disowned you and your parents just jacked your car . . . just remember that little idiom, suck it up, and um . . . keep living.
I didn’t think so. That saying is wrong, anti-biblical, unhelpful, hurtful, harmful and accursed. It basically is communicating, “if you find yourself in a tough situation, God obviously knows you can handle it, so try your hardest to make it through and stop your whining.” Yeah. That sounds like something in the Bible.
In fact, I remember this one story where Moses was leading the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt, but the Pharaoh decided to hunt him and his people down and slaughter them. As Pharaoh’s army forced the Israelites against the mighty Red Sea, God spoke to Moses and said, “I will never give you more than you can handle.” And so, filled with encouragement, Moses turned to the Israelite men, women, children and infants and shouted, “SWIM!”
What’s that? You don’t remember the story happening that way? Yeah, that’s because it didn’t. What really happened? God put the Israelites in an impossible situation! How did they respond? Well, first they freaked out: “as Pharaoh approached, the Israelites looked up and saw the Egyptians coming after them. Then the Israelites were terrified” but then they, “cried out to the Lord for help” (Exodus 14:10 HCSB).
You see, the message of the Bible is not one of self-sufficiency (like the idiom “God will never give you more than you can handle” implies). Instead, the message of the Bible is one of God-dependancy!
The world is too big, and life is too complicated to go it alone. I think God doesn’t just give us “difficult pills to swallow,” he gives us impossible pills to swallow! (Like the Terry-gerbil pill!) I think God glories in giving us more than we can handle so that we will cry out to him like the Israelites in Egypt and say “help me God, I can’t do this on my own!”
Here’s what happened when the apostle Paul asked the Lord to remove the mysterious (and impossible) “thorn” in his flesh: But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Therefore, I will most gladly boast all the more about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may reside in me. So I take pleasure in weaknesses, insults, catastrophes, persecutions, and in pressures, because of Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong (2 Corinthians 12:9-10 HCSB).
I think God always gives us more than we can handle so that we can rely on his strength, his power and see him do things far beyond our own abilities.