More Than You Can Handle

John the Baptist was dead. Beheaded. It was unjust, brutal, and senseless. On hearing the news, Jesus left what he was doing and went with his disciples to a solitary place. He must have wanted to mourn, and pray, away from the crowds. But when he arrived, there was no solitude: somehow, word had spread about where he was going, and now a large crowd was waiting for him. Matthew records that Jesus didn’t send them away or throw himself a pity party—“he had compassion on them and healed their sick.” They were suffering, too. 

As the day wore on, Jesus’ disciples began to be concerned: what would these people eat for dinner, out there in the middle of nowhere? No one had planned logistics for a gathering like this. Taking stock of the situation, they made a practical suggestion that Jesus send the crowd away so that they could get to the villages and buy food for themselves. Jesus replied: “They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat.”

I’ve heard people say that “God will never give you more than you can handle.” I don’t think that’s true. Look at the job he gave his disciples: “you give them something to eat.” 


The disciples found five loaves and two fish between them. That’s it. The crowd was more than 5,000 people—probably a lot more. There were no restaurants or shops nearby. “You give them something to eat” was an impossible command. Jesus knew that. So did the disciples. But he commanded them to do it anyway. 

And they did.

No one left that solitary place hungry. In fact, the disciples gathered twelve baskets full of leftover food after everyone was satisfied. How did it happen? It happened when the disciples gave Jesus the little that they had, and his power turned their insufficiency into provision for everyone.

Later, Jesus gave one of his disciples another command to provide for others. “Feed my sheep,” he said to Peter. He was commanding Peter to give provision to spiritually hungry humans. Once again, Peter’s resources were laughably insufficient—as he had recently proven when he denied Christ three times. What did Peter have to feed God’s people with? Not enough to sustain them. Not even enough to sustain himself. The command was impossible. Everyone knew that. But for the rest of his life, Peter kept it. Not in his own strength, not out of his own resources, but out of the strength and provision of the one who gave him the command. 

If you belong to Jesus, you can rest assured that he will absolutely give you tasks that are far beyond what you can handle. An honest look at his commands will show you that he already has. Don’t worry about that. The size of your lunch, or your ability, or your strength, is never the point. Bring your insufficiency to Jesus, and take the next step into impossible obedience. He will do the providing. He can handle it.

8 thoughts on “More Than You Can Handle”

  1. I am 41 and caregiver to my husband, who lives in a powerchair starting a year and a half ago or so. He was born with a rare disease that grows tumors in his brain and spine. If he has children, they have a 50/50 chance inheriting this. When we married we decided to let God have control over this and moved forward with children. God gave us 6 and now the door has closed. Five boys and a girl, ages 3-14. I grew up an only child. My husband the middle of three. We just found out our fifth born seems to have the same disease. We question if we should allow the kids to decide if they want to do genetic testing to determine if they have it too or not. The life of seeing many different doctors have begun for our son, similar to my husband. The medical needs, caregiving my husband, being a mother and bearing the responsibility to drive and cook and manage on top of raising children who are all born sinners like me. I FEEL SO INADEQUATE. I know God is in control and I know God is good I know God is carrying us. It is just hard. I remind myself this hard is really nothing in comparison to eternity in hell. God is pulling me closer to Him and my inadequacies sometimes has me pulling back against His reigns. God is faithful. He cares for me, and wants me to cast my cares onto him. My friend sent this to me this morning and it was what I needed to read. And be reminded of. God is talking to me, I need to let Him through.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. 2 Corinthians 1:8-9 Paul was burdened beyond his strength (given far more than he could handle) and the reason was so he would rely on God. My life everyday is far more than I can handle, but I can do all things only through Christ who strengthens me!

    Liked by 1 person

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