Too Much to Bear…

more than you can handle

I often hear the phrase “God won’t give you more than you can handle.” I call BULL. Every time I hear the phrase.  Some things in life are just flat out more than any person could bear. And as my friend Beth pointed out this morning, this is one of those things.

Our extended community has been shaken by an unthinkable tragedy. It has received national news coverage, so I know a lot of you have probably heard about it.

Watson Family

The Watson family of 11 suffered a tragic house fire. 8 of their 9 children perished in the fire, along with their mother. The only survivors were the father and 11 year old Kylie (in the back row of the photo, in the blue dress). They are both in the hospital right now with severe burns and in critical condition with a long road to recovery for them.


This man has lost his wife and 8 of his 9 children. The latest from the investigation says that the fire was caused by a baseboard heater, and that the bodies were recovered in the master bedroom, possibly indicating they were trying to escape through a window.  A family friend who was on the scene said that Chad Watson tried 3 times to save the remaining members of his family, yet they perished.

This tragedy is too much for a person to bear.

The ONLY hope we have in this world is Christ. That’s it.

I am reminded of Paul’s words, so fitting,

We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about the troubles we experienced in the province of Asia.We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt we had received the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us again. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us. (2 Corinthians 1:8-10)

Paul says they were under great pressure. It was beyond their ability to endure. It was more than they could bear. It was more than they could handle. They despaired of life itself.

But it wasn’t more than the Lord could bear for them. We are told in Psalm 55:22, “Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you.” Paul knew the truth, and clung to it when life was more than He could bear.  “On him we have set our hope that He will continue to deliver us.”

Can you please join me in praying for Chad Watson, and his little girl Kylie, along with their family and friends and community?

If you would like to make a monetary donation, a fund has been set up through their church and you can mail donations to this address. A facebook page has also been set up.

Calvary Baptist Fund for Chad Watson
Old National Bank,
PO Box 549,
Central City KY 42330

I am praying for them, that the Lord will be their strength and comfort at a time when this world is more than they can bear.

A family friend who was there said the following: ” After trying three times to save his family, Chad said “I’ve done everything I can. They are safe in the arms of a loving God.” That statement is illustrative of the strong abiding faith in Jesus Chad has always exhibited.”

I pray that He will be able to cling to that faith in the dark days to come.

His grace is sufficient. 


 (2/1/2014), Kylie and Chad are still in critical condition with Chad’s condition being most severe. Please continue to pray for his life to be spared. (taken from family member’s update)


  1. says

    Crystal, thank you for writing this post and reminding us that our ONLY hope is in our eternal life through Christ! I can't imagine the grief that has stricken your community, but as you remind us, only God will be able to heal and continue His good work through those who survive and those who will be reached for Christ through their testimony of enduring faith.

  2. Karen Graham says

    Thank you my friend! Our hearts are broken at our Earthly loss. But as Chad so wonderfully said, "they are in the arms of our Loving God". And right now that's our comfort. Chad is a fighter. He has a big hill in front of him but he has a daughter to raise. They will have a very long road. They have lots of love and prayers. Kylie is in better condition but still critical. Thank you for all your prayers and love.

  3. says

    First, I am so sincerely grieved at this tragedy. I can’t really say much other than it is truly awful and I will commit myself to prayer for this man and daughter.

    Crystal, you are so right. There are so many things in life that are too much to bear on our own. If we could bear things, why would we need God? People get confused with the scripture that says God won’t let us be tempted beyond what we can bear, but He would provide a way out. It is sad that this has been confused because when suffering comes, how hard will it be to trust God.

    I know it is very early days yet, but in devastating times in my life, Jerry Bridges’ Trusting God: Even When Life Hurts has been a source of encouragement to keep my eyes on God’s sovereignty and love. His use of God’s Word was like living and healing balm to my hurting soul.

    Thank you for sharing this story, I hadn’t heard as I live in New Zealand. But I will be praying.

  4. says

    This family is most definitely in my prayers. I cannot even fathom…

    My lifeline is often this teaching from St. Francis deSales:

    Do not look forward in fear to the changes in life;
    rather, look to them with full hope that as they arise,
    God, whose very own you are,
    will lead you safely through all things;
    and when you cannot stand it,
    God will carry you in His arms.

    Do not fear what may happen tomorrow;
    the same understanding Father who cares for
    you today will take care of you then and every day.

    He will either shield you from suffering
    or will give you unfailing strength to bear it.
    Be at peace,
    and put aside all anxious thoughts and imaginations.

  5. says

    God has promised not to give us more than we can bear. This seems like much to me, but we serve a big God who sees the beginning and the end. May God provide all of the needs of this family and give them peace and assurance that He cares and loves them and they can trust Him.

    • Crystal Brothers says

      As I said in my post, I have to respectfully disagree. I believe that God promises in 1 Cor. 10:13, that He will be faithful to provide a way out of temptation. But, I believe there are a lot of things past what we can bear. It is only through HIM that we can get through those things. Not our own strength. Thank you for your prayers of comfort for this family.

  6. Caprice Vandekop Mann says

    Praying for God's amazing grace to carry them, His peace to envelope them, His love to surround thwm, and His people to minister to them.

  7. Carolyn Ken says

    My heart is just absolutely broken over this… Of course our household will join you in prayer and help. I am so struck by how much comfort we receive from Chad’s words of trust. I will keep that prayer before me for Chad and Kylie that they can come back to their Father again and again with their loss and pain and find that truth and take comfort and strength to carry on until all are together again.
    The statement often quoted about no more than we can bear is usually misused- that scripture in context is a promise to us that we will not be tempted by sin beyond what we can bear. It’s about Jesus helping us in times of temptation. As for being broken beyond what we can bear Jesus was broken in that way for us. So if we are to be sanctified and made like Jesus (as Paul is showing us in the scripture presented here) we too will be broken beyond what we can bear. God will in His perfection, his absolute loving kindness will hold us, rescue us, comfort us, rebuild us — he will weep when we weep and rejoice when we rejoice. He will shepherd us home.

    Even to your old age and gray hairs
    I am he, I am he who will sustain you.
    I have made you and I will carry you;
    I will sustain you and I will rescue you.
    Isaiah 46:4

  8. David Mabe says

    You are correct. That is never promised. He does promise to go with us through the hard things. I always cringe when I hear people utter that phrase. It's a bad use of 1 Corinthians 10:13, where it is promised that God will not let us be TEMPTED more than we can bear. He will always provide a way to avoid the temptation.

    • Crystal Brothers says

      Thank you so much for catching that! Yes, it is 2nd Corinthians and not 1st Corinthians. I will correct that right away.

  9. Anonymous says

    Very profound article regarding an absolutely mind-numbing tragedy. The surviving husband/father is Job-like regarding the devastation of his loss, and his daughter too. Prayers and peace. God is big enough to heal and help. God bless them!

  10. says

    That great anthem of faith "IT IS WELL WITH MY SOUL" was written by a man who also suffered the tragic loss of his whole family – wife & children – to ship wreck ! & thank u to Kathy Mixell Ganoe for correcting the reference used from FIRST Corinthians 1:8-10 to SECOND Corinthians 1:8-10 – thanks for clearing up my confusion!

    • Crystal Brothers says

      Yes, Debra, I have always loved that hymn, and even more so when I found out the story behind it. Such an inspiration. I have corrected the verse and apologize for my mistake before and any confusion it caused.

  11. Diana Kapity says

    I truly believe that if you have God with you, you can get through anything that happens. It won't be easy, but you can get through it if you trust and believe in God. We were never promised an easy life but we were promised that we won't have to go through the trials and bad things alone. It doesn't help the grief and pain but it helps to know that there is light at the end. I have been through things that I could never have survived without God so I know that there is hope. Prayers for this father and daughter and all the rest of the family to stay strong and be there for each other.

    • Crystal Brothers says

      Yes, Diane, I completely agree. We can’t get through such devastating loss alone. It is only through God that we can.

  12. Patrice McCarty says

    Actually, all four of his daughters perished, but his wife was saved. She wired the news of their daughters' tragic deaths to him with the two words "Saved alone." "It is Well" is one of my favorite hymns.

    • Crystal Brothers says

      Yes, I didn’t read that closely enough before. You are right that his wife was saved and on another continent when he penned the words.

  13. says

    Diana Kapity -you defined that phrase about not being given more than we can handle very well. We handle things and cope, and grieve through and with God's help. He is who makes us stronger.

  14. says

    Lord Jesus be with Chad and his daughter and extended family and friends. May they find comfort and peace. Words can not express how sorry I am for them even though I do not know Chad or his family. All I can say is I am sorry.

  15. Emily Edwards Ha says

    You should read this article. That phrase is no where in th bible and is in face unbiblical to even say–

  16. Gail Hartsfield McKinney says

    If God didn't give us more than we can handle we would have no need for Him….He will give us more than we can handle so that we will cling to Him. Praying for Chad & Kylie……

  17. Anonymous says

    Wow, that gave me goose bumps. I couldn’t imagine what they must be going through, but I pray his strength and trust in the Lord continues to grow and grow.

  18. says

    I have done an extensive study on this subject and can't find anywhere in the Bible where "God promises not to give us more than we can bear". He did tell us there is no "temptation" that will come that He doesn't provide a way out of, but that's totally different than difficulties we can bear. He does give us more than we can bear so we will turn in humility to Him for the grace necessary to serve him. I believe it is a terrible injustice for people to tell others "God has promised he will not put on us more than we can bear". Please, Please, quit telling people that.

  19. David Mabe says

    Emmanuel Baptist Church Mead Exactly. To say that 1 Cor. 10:13 is saying that God will never give us more than we can handle is a misrepresentation of scripture, and we never want to be guilty of doing that.

  20. Anonymous says

    I just lost my husband at age 43 from a massive heart attack while he was playing basketball with our 17 yr old son. I have felt like it is way too much to bear and I am constantly using the atonement of Christ to take it from me as I watch our 3 other children with intense emotional and physical pain. I now have an understanding and a knowledge of empathy for others that I would never has received without this trial. I can not fathom going through what this family is going through, but I cannot deny that God has not left me alone or forsaken me throughout the last 5 months. This family will be in my prayers constantly that they may find some way to have comfort and peace.

  21. says

    David Mabe, Emily Edwards Ha, Emmanuel Baptist Church Mead It is quite possible that in difficult times, people will turn away from God and use other means to cope and pacify. Just because it is not in the Bible, doesn't mean people can not use the phrase. It is a phrase used to remind people that yes, there are other ways to cope but that doesn't mean it's right. And since everyone is spouting so much about what the rights and wrongs of the Bible, I'm curious to know if you spare the rod with your children and if you "accept" homosexuality and all of the other "wrongs" that God did list in the Bible. Of course, on here, you'll say anything to justify yourselves. Why don't you just leave the phrases people use alone and allow others to comfort in the best way they know how, instead of starting an argument?

    • says

      I believe the best thing we can do for Chad and his daughter is give them comfort and show empathy and cry with them. We should also pray for them. I will not claim to know why God aloud shut a tragedy to happen but he did. When an only we get to heaven we will truly understand why things happen down here. All I know is I am praying for them.

  22. says

    You really got me thinking…you are right. God does give us more than we can handle but He is always right beside us to help us. My thoughts on that phrase "God doesn't give us more than we can handle" have been forever changed. I Pray the Watsons hang on to their faith through this difficult time.

  23. Anonymous says

    I cried at reading Chad’s comments that night. Oh that I would have a faith so strong when faced with something so painful and impossible to bear alone. Praying over them. Thank you for a well written and biblically accurate message.

  24. Peter Svochak says

    Can I be the one who asks, "If God doesn't give us more than he can handle, why does he need our money to accomplish his goals?"

  25. Crystal Brothers says

    Peter, I'm not a theologian, just a simple girl who loves the Lord. My answer? He doesn't. We should give to Him out of obedience and recognition that everything is His anyway. He blesses us and others through our giving, but He doesn't *need* it for His purposes. My God is sovereign and I believe that He can accomplish His goals without my money. I give as an offering to Him because I choose to. I give because I want to bless others, and in doing so I am blessed. Not because He needs my money to accomplish His goals.

    Thank you for taking the time to read and respond.

  26. Peter Thies says

    It is a privilege to give back to the One Who owns all and provides all. He is our Dad and He is good enough to let His kids come along side Him as helpers.

    • Crystal Brothers says

      Peter, I don’t understand your reference to a mixed message. People have heard about the tragedy, and they want to help in the only way they can. I included the donation information for that reason. I am sorry if I implied that the Lord needs someone’s money. My mention of donations was not meant to try and guilt or force anyone into donating. It was merely added as a resource for those who wanted to help and didn’t know how.

  27. Marrene Franich says

    You should have stopped at “too much to bear”– that’s all there is to say here. The rest is of this is an outright obscenity in light of this tragedy and no favor to the two survivors It is simply you saying that “Really, it’s OK because god must have had a reason for allowing such a thing to happen. And that reason must be that god wanted to get closer to the two surviving members of this family.” You are so in need of believing that your god is real that you’re willing to accept that he would allow (even create ) a tragedy of this scale for the purpose of getting “closer” to two people. Your omniscient, omnipotent, loving god can only make a connection by killing off 90% of a family. For shame. Your god is a masochist.

  28. Pamela Sylvain says

    And maybe it isn't that God gives us tragedies to bear, maybe He allows those tragedies to occur (even though he could divert them). In my humble opinion, God has infinite knowledge of what is going to happen and He sees us through when the going gets tough. He wants us to rely on Him for everything. Sometimes we won't rely on Him until push comes to shove. I don't think God necessarily causes things to happen because that would make Him an unlikely Father figure – what Father would intentionally hurt their child? God is pure love and love seeks love. I could be far off the mark but it comforts me …

    I lost my entire family on May 12 2002. They were in a car accident and no one survived. As I look back at the MOST horrific event that could happen to me, others have it far worse. Look at this poor man and his daughter who have lost much more than I as they fight for their lives.

    Remember we weren't supposed to have to bear anything. Unfortunately Adam and Eve through their sinful nature became corruptible. Humanities sinful nature has caused us grief ever since. God meant for us to love Him and be with Him forever, yet it was their choice (Adam and Eve) and it continues to be our choice to do things our way. Sometimes possibly causing the very tragedies that we hold Him responsible for….????? Just some thoughts.

  29. Crystal Brothers says

    Yes! I do agree, Pam! Sometimes it's hard to some up everything in a few short words. Thank you for adding your thoughts. I am so sorry for your loss, but thank you for sharing your faith in the midst of it.

  30. Claudette Duprez Rodrigue says

    If anyone knows that God is there to support them, it is you Pam. I love your faith it is so refreshing . Love you Hon

    • Crystal Brothers says

      Thanks, Patti. I am familiar with that verse–it is a challenge and encouragement to me when it comes to resisting temptation. It promises that God will provide a way out that we wouldn’t sin :)

  31. Merinda Nagel says

    Dear Crystal
    How is Chad and Kylie’s condition now? Thinking of them in South Africa. Still Praying!

    • Crystal Brothers says

      Merinda, thank you for asking and praying for them. I have been posting occasional updates on my facebook page. They were both released from the hospital this weekend. Their physical bodies are on the mend. However, now that they are out of the hospital and back to the real world, the grief of losing the rest of their family is setting in stronger than ever, so they definitely still need continued prayers.

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