“God will not give you more than you can bear."
We frequently hear this phrase and often see it written on beautiful, inspirational graphics shared on social media. Perhaps, during a difficult time in your own life, a well-meaning friend shared this nugget of wisdom with you. Or maybe you’ve said this to someone else in an effort to comfort and encourage them.
The problem is that this quasi-theology is not rooted in Scripture, and it leads us to the false belief that our lives, though maybe sprinkled with difficulty here and there, will thankfully always be just short of unbearable.
In reality though, it is when life’s burdens are more than we can bear on our own strength that Christ is glorified. When we, like Paul, can say that God’s grace is sufficient for us, and His power is made perfect in our weakness, we are casting aside the vain, self-sufficient mindset that says we are capable of handling anything thrown our way, and instead relying on Christ our Savior, who is our Bread of Life. When we cry out to God through prayer, it is an opportunity for Him to bring glory to Himself as He restores and redeems the broken parts of our lives.
Henri* understands what it’s like when life’s burdens are beyond bearable; however, his life is a testimony to the power of prayer. Two years ago, his wife and the mother of their three boys, lost her mind. Sometimes she would leave the house and disappear for several days. Henri would often find her aimlessly wandering the streets naked, confusion saturating her eyes. Her condition worsened to the point that Henri could not keep a job, as he was always having to look after his wife. Without a job, he had no way to pay school fees for his three boys, and he struggled to put food on the table.
Local doctors did not know how to help Henri’s wife, and he quickly became overwhelmed and exhausted. This woman was the wife that God had given him. He did not want to abandon her, but he didn’t know what to do with her either. So, he did the only thing he could do . . .
Henri fervently prayed that God would heal his wife and provide for his family, so they would have food and the boys could attend school. Not long after he began praying, the pastor of a local church, Eglise Baptiste de Canaan, heard about this family’s situation, and one of Henri’s sons, Steven, was taken into the World Orphans OVC (Orphan and Vulnerable Child) program. As part of this church-led program, Steven was able to attend school and receive a meal each day, while remaining with his family.
Henri was overjoyed that Steven would be receiving an education and food! He knew that this was an answer to prayer! Still, he continued to pray for his wife’s healing. Though many advised him to leave her, he refused, trusting in the Lord to bring his wife back to him. Little by little, the Lord started to change his wife’s behavior. She began to care for her children again and stopped disappearing in the streets. Slowly, she started to regain her right mind.
This father trusted that God would not abandon his family, and he remained steadfast in prayer. God healed his wife, restored his family, and provided a means for his children to get an education. Today Henri has found another job, all of the children are enrolled in school, and their mother takes care of them. Though at times his situation was more than he could bear on his own, Henri leaned in to Jesus, casting his cares on Him. Now this grateful husband and father is continually thanking the Lord and testifying about what He has done, giving all glory to God.
*identity changed for protection