“God never gives us more than we can handle,” someone said to a father whose 5-year-old son had just lost his battle with cancer. These words, which were intended to encourage him, instead depressed him and caused him to wonder why he wasn’t “handling” the loss of his boy at all. The pain was so much to bear that he could hardly even breathe. He knew his grief was too much for him and that he desperately needed God to hold him tight.

The verse that some use to support the statement “God never gives us more than we can handle” is 1 Corinthians 10:13, “When you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it” (niv). But the context of these words is temptation, not suffering. We can choose the way out of temptation that God provides, but we can’t choose a way out of suffering.

Jesus Himself wanted a way out of His upcoming suffering when He prayed, “My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. . . . O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me” (Matt. 26:38-39). Yet He willingly went through this for our salvation.

When life seems too much to bear, that’s when we throw ourselves on God’s mercy, and He holds on to us.