God will not put you in circumstances you cannot bear
It seems well and good. It feels well and good. And perhaps the intentions are good. But there is a very big problem with these meme's and this statement:
It simply is not true.
I get it. We know that "with God" we can endure anything, and I realize that is probably the intent behind the memes. However, when we say it like that, we are being dangerously misleading. Nowhere in the Bible does God teach us that we will never experience circumstances that we cannot endure or bear. In fact, the Bible teaches us exactly the opposite of that. Consider this statement made by the Apostle Paul concerning his own circumstances:
As Christians, we need to understand what Paul is saying here and know how to apply these truths to our lives.
First. Paul's circumstances were bad. Really bad. Listen to what he said later in 2 Corinthians 11:25-27.
25 Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I was adrift at sea; 26 on frequent journeys, in danger from rivers, danger from robbers, danger from my own people, danger from Gentiles, danger in the city, danger in the wilderness, danger at sea, danger from false brothers; 27 in toil and hardship, through many a sleepless night, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure.
By his own admission, Paul's circumstances were such that he was "burdened beyond [his] strength". Paul's circumstances and his testimony are evidence to us that we also need to be prepared to handle circumstances that burden us beyond our strength. When we claim we will never see such circumstances, and then they come, it blind sides us and can cause us to falter - which brings me to the second point.
Second. Paul despaired of life as a result. Do not misunderstand what that means. Paul's circumstances were so terrible that he wanted to die. Suicide is a major cultural problem, but it is not a new one. How terrible it is for us as believers to make the claim that God will never give us anything we cannot endure when all around us people - yes, even Christians - and yes, even pastors (have you read the news lately) - are committing suicide. Do not get me wrong. Mental health issues are *very* real. It is highly likely that you will face circumstances that cause you to despair of life, and there are many Christians who will seriously contemplate suicide as a viable option to their pain and suffering. You may know one contemplating it right now. You may be contemplating it yourself. How horribly insensitive for us to say God will never give us circumstances we cannot bear when so many are facing those circumstances every day. When we believe God will never allow us to face these circumstances, and then we do face those circumstances, it rocks our faith to the core and actually makes us *more* susceptible to suicidal thoughts. Suicide is *never* the answer to these circumstances. Which brings me to the last point from that passage.
Third. Paul was put in those impossible circumstances so that he would trust in God. In his words, "to make us rely not on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead." Do you get that? He wanted to die, but through faith in God, God raised him up from that pit of despair and for all practical purposes raised him from the dead as well.
When we say that God will never give us anything we cannot bear, we are saying that we are strong enough to deal with anything. We are saying we can rely on our own strength. We are saying we can deal with everything by ourselves. We are saying we do not need God. That kind of thinking is not mature thinking. Rather, it is more like the three year old child who defiantly proclaims "I can do it myself!"
We are not meant to do it ourselves. Trust me, I cannot deal with the things life has thrown at me - at least not without God. The reason God allows us to face such dire and unbearable circumstances is so that we will trust wholly and completely on Him. Be sure, these are not the actions of a narcissistic, megalomaniac god. Rather, this is a Good, Good, Father who cares enough for his children to do what is best for them and grow them in their faith. We were created to live in fellowship and dependence upon Him and these circumstances grow us in our ability to do both of those things. By nature, we really are the rebellious, three year old child who ignorantly believes in her own independence, and these memes just reinforce that childish mentality. If you really want to make sure you survive those unbearable circumstances, then consider one of the most well-known Proverbs.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Proverbs 3:5-6
Maybe someone should create this meme...
You will face difficult circumstances. You might not be able to bear it. You may even despair of life. But take heart. Trust in God who raises the dead. He will carry you through it.