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. (NIV)
No test or temptation that comes your way is beyond the course of what others have had to face. All you need to remember is that God will never let you down; he’ll never let you be pushed past your limit; he’ll always be there to help you come through it. (MSG)
No testing has overtaken you that is not common to everyone. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tested beyond your strength, but with the testing he will also provide the way out so that you may be able to endure it. (NRSV)
1 Corinthians 10:13
I love this verse. It has been such a source of strength and encouragement since I was dating my sweetheart in high school, all the way through our current journey with Samuel. However, I do believe that it is one of the most misquoted and misunderstood bits of scripture in the entire Bible.
Anyone who has endured a difficult trial can probably recount at least one instance when a fellow Christian has tried to encourage them by saying, “Well, God never gives us more than we can handle.” If you are like me, a few times I’ve wanted to say something really nasty back to that well-meaning person, trying so desperately to come up with something profound to encourage me. In fact, I have slung a few nasty words after statements like that. I always regret it.
We are often confused about where temptation and testing come from. I really, truly, in all of the reading I’ve done on why there is evil in the world do not think God is sitting up in heaven with a bowl full of nasty, meting it out to the do-gooders like Job who will bring him glory, and to the evil-doers who really deserve a taste of their own medicine.
Instead, we live in a fallen world. This beautiful gift of free will our Lord has given us comes at a price: we live in a natural world with tsunamis, mental illness, cancer, heart conditions, stillborn babies. He allows the natural world to be naturally unpredictable and cruel because it is also incredibly beautiful and generous. He gives us the opportunity to choose to cling to the things and people of this roller coaster life, or to choose to hold onto Him. I’ve found holding onto Him always keeps me better than the things of this world.
The word “temptation” in the original Greek is synonymous with “testing.” Paul was not just talking about the temptations of this life; he was also addressing the trials we endure. I think this is an important distinction to make because while we all must be tempted from the venial to the moral, those are battles we fight internally. Testings, or trials, on the other hand, are battles we have no control over. We endure the troubles of this life–death, sickness, infertility, job loss, natural disasters–without a modicum of control. It is not as simple as not eating the cupcake or not smoking the cigarette. We must just hold on and “bear up,” waiting out the storm until it passes.
The fantastic truth of 1 Corinthians 10:13 is that we are not alone. God does not just watch from afar to see how many things can be piled on our little heads until we crumble. Rather, He walks beside us and helps bear our load. He helps bear our load. No matter what the trial or testing, He will provide your “way out.”
I think of David’s Psalms when I am feeling overwhelmed by circumstance. Time and time again, David speaks of the Lord as a rock to stand on or hide in. He doesn’t stop the storms of David’s life, but He provides shelter for David to withstand it.
I know that God continually provides people and circumstances to encourage me when I feel that I am about to crumble under the load I am carrying. The more I talk to Him and ask Him for help, the more provision is provided. I have carried burdens that should have landed me back in the mental hospital time and time again. The only explanation I have is that God was right beside me, carrying that load with me.
Never forget that He is good. Hold onto Him in the storm. He is the “shield about [us], [our]glory, and the lifter of [our] heads” (Psalm 3:3).
For he will command his angels concerning you
to guard you in all your ways.
On their hands they will bear you up,
so that you will not dash your foot against a stone.
You will tread on the lion and the adder,
the young lion and the serpent you will trample under foot.
Those who love me, I will deliver;
I will protect those who know my name.
When they call to me, I will answer them;
I will be with them in trouble,
I will rescue them and honor them.
With long life I will satisfy them,
and show them my salvation.
God bless you all today,
If you need extra encouragement while going through a difficult time, I have started a new page with lists of verses concerning different needs: Verses of Comfort and Encouragement. I purposely didn’t write them out for you, because I think there is power and solace in opening the pages of your Bible and reading and writing down the scriptures for yourself. This has served me in many moments of desolation and fear. I hope it will help you as well.
I also found the blog by Joe Stowell on his website “Strength for the Journey” helpful: “Load Limits”