God give us to strength to stand under Chevettes

God will never give us more than we can bear.

I heard this one a lot – especially as a chaplain. Sometimes it was uttered in a desperate search to find comfort in the midst of overwhelming tragedy. Sometimes people use it to console others. Most believe they are quoting Scripture, but it is hardly the time to correct someone after her husband of fifty years dies after a long bout with dementia. So before you use this phrase again, please consider what the Bible has to say about it.

The reason this phrase is so appealing is probably because it is lifted out of context from Scripture. It can be found in 1 Corinthians 10:13. “No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.” What a promise! For those who struggle with addiction and habitual sin, there is hope. One word is often overlooked, however. God does not promise that no overbearing tragedy, difficulty, or illness will be allowed into our lives; He only promises that we will not be tempted beyond what we can bear.

Great job, Jon. Please refute more sources of comfort for me.

Here’s something better. Though it seems overwhelming tragedy is inevitable in this life, there is a remedy. Paul writes later in 1 Corinthians 12:26, “If one member suffers, all suffer together,reminding us that we are not alone and that we are a community of believers rather than individual islands of isolation. Paul further encourages us to “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” (Galatians 6:2) Think of the ramifications for this! If something overbearing happens to us, we need not let it crush us under its weight. Instead others can enable us to stand under it by sharing our burdens with us. For example, if I tried to lift a Chevette over my head by its back bumper, I might be able to bounce it a little to give the illusion that I got it off the ground, but I could never get it over my head. But if I got four other guys to do it with me because we were bored and still waiting for our youth pastor to arrive to drive us to a Christian hip hop concert featuring rap artists wearing backpacks for no other reason than because it seemed like a good fashion statement at the time and they matched their tight-rolled stonewashed jeans…yes, this illustration really happened back when Chevettes still roamed the highways and every Christian artist thought they were the next DC Talk. So long story short, I was one of five guys to lift a Chevette over our heads before any adults could come along and tell us how stupid it was even though we knew it would be awesome sauce, dude.

This trip down memory lane is proof that no matter what burdens might be troubling you, if you share them with those you trust so that they may carry the burden with you, you will be able to stand under the weight of it all. It doesn’t stop there, however. David encourages us in Psalm 68:19 that God joins with us every day. “Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens. Selah.” In other words, if we all come together carrying our own burdens, then we cannot bear it all, but if we share our burdens with others, God comes empty-handed to help bear the whole load. Then our burdens will feel light as we lean on Him and each other. “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”


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