Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Why God May Give You More Trials Than You Can Bear

Having memorized so much of the Bible, I cringe when I hear it misquoted.  I was in Bible quizzing in high school as I mentioned in my post about memorizing Scripture.

God will never give you anything you can't handle.

It's in the Bible, right?  Actually it isn't.  Most people think that is what I Corinthians 10:13 says, but let's take a look at that verse in a few different versions.

 13 No temptation[a] has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted[b] beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted,[c] he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.  (NIV)

13 No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it. (NASB)

13 There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it. (KJV)

13 The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure. (NLT)

13 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.  (The Message)

What do each of these translations (and in the case of The Message, a paraphrase) have in common?   It says no TEMPTATION.   Temptation is different than trials.  

Now, think about how this verse is used. To mothers who have lost babies, to rape victims, to those who have gone through horrible things.  To use this verse the way it is often used is to say that a child dying is a temptation.  To compare temptation to circumstances is comparing apples to oranges.  Two totally different things.

There is a promise in this verse.  That we can hold firm under temptation.  The temptation to sin in whatever way you can imagine, there's a way out.  There's a way out of the temptation to deny our faith (even if it means death in some parts of the world.)  But there is no promise that God won't be able to give us more than we can handle.  If there was, there would be no counselors because we'd be living in an almost perfect world.  I have had things happen in my life I don't know how I made it through.  Yes, God's grace did sustain me, but I remember telling a friend in college about a situation in their life and saying, "I don't know how you do it."  I was told, "You do what you need to do."  There have been times in my life I would think I couldn't make it through the day.  Then I would think "Can I just make it through this hour?"  The answer was sometimes no.  I would then think, "Can I make it through the next five minutes?"  I would decide I could an watch the clock until five minutes passed.  Then I would think "I can get through these five minutes."  

The story of Job in the Old Testament is one I like to think of when I hear that God won't give us more than we can handle.  He relied on God, but had just lost everyone and everything to him except three friends who told him to curse God.  I sometimes feel like I have lost everyone around me, but I know that is not the case.  I had no blood relatives at my wedding even though I sent them wedding invitations -- and all live nearby.  But I had friends there.  I have a place to live, clothes to wear, so I'm not as bad off as Job was.  I hate living where I am because I have been told off at a church we used to attend because of lies that were spread about me -- the person didn't care about learning the truth.  I am afraid to go outside.  I want to move, desperately.  Yet, I know my pain is nothing compared to that of losing a child, spouse, or even my country due to civil war.  

I know people who say God doesn't give you more than you can handle mean well.  But instead of misquoting Scripture a simple, "I'll be praying" is much better response, plus it doesn't blame God for the evil that happens in the world.

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