If you need to catch up, I left off here.
This morning, I was reading in 1 Corinthians 10. It’s a place I have been many times before but something new stuck out today.
Whenever folks go through trials like what my sister and bro-in-law are facing, there is a phrase that I hear a lot. I may have even said it once or twice myself.
“Just remember, God never gives us more than we can handle.”
Wait. Is that true?
It sounds nice, but I think in this case, maybe God’s word was spoken…much like a childhood game of operator…and the meaning was changed and morphed over time. God’s word is true, so that is where I went.
So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. 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 endure it.
1 Corinthians 10:12-13
Temptation. That’s what this phrase is referring to. Not trial.
James 1:14-15 goes on to explain…
But each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.
So if I am the fish…temptation is the wiggling worm on the hook. The worm itself is not the issue- I can swim away from that. The sin occurs when I make the choice to take the bait. No matter how the worm tastes initially, the hook disguised by that wiggling worm can do quite a bit of damage. It’s never a pleasant experience.
James says that God doesn’t tempt, but allows us to be tempted.
So, let me back up here. When my bro-in-law is suffering from another health trial in a line of many- is that a temptation? No. It’s a trial.
I love the Oxford Dictionary’s definition of trial:
NOUN1 A formal examination of evidence before a judge, and typically before a jury, in order to decide guilt in a case of criminal or civil proceedings:the newspaper accounts of the trial the editor was summoned to stand trial for libel2 A test of the performance, qualities, or suitability of someone or something:clinical trials must establish whether the new hip replacements are working
2.1An athletic contest to test the ability of players eligible for selection to a team.
2.2(trials) An event in which horses, dogs, or other animals compete or perform:horse trials
3A person, thing, or situation that tests a person’s endurance or forbearance:the trials and tribulations of married life
Back to that phrase that we offer to people during their trials…”Remember, God never gives us more than we can handle.”
I want to challenge that today.
When we are tried, He ALWAYS gives us more than we can handle.
But, God never gives us more than HE can handle.
These are the moments, when we are in over our head…when the situation is infinitely more than we can handle…when we are overwhelmed and powerless; These are the moments when we acknowledge our need for God and surrender all things to Him. Because, there is nothing that HE cannot handle. Blessed moments of overwhelming trial. God wants us live out our faith and trust that He has everything under His feet. It means we have to pry our white-knuckled little fingers off of the steering wheel. But, that wheel was never ours to grip anyways…after all, we are in the passenger seat.
So I offer this to you. Next time you have a trial or if you encounter someone who is struggling, consider this…
Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”
As far as our trials go…I believe that God wants them to be more than we can handle, so He can show us exactly what He CAN handle.
An update on my bro-in-law: After days in ICU and a week total in the hospital, he arrived home on Saturday. He is still recovering, but is doing to comfortably at home. Please continue to pray for them as their faith walk continues.