Everyone has a rough time. No one’s life is perfect and golden and immaculate all the time. It doesn’t matter what someone’s social media looks like. It doesn’t matter if they never volunteer a prayer request at Bible study. It doesn’t matter if someone is always happy and doesn’t stress out easily. Everyone faces difficulties.
I’ve been through things that people have said I was strong for handling well. And I’m sure there are people who wish their worst days were like mine, which are much milder in comparison. People face addiction, poverty, broken relationships, health problems, the passing of loved ones, depression, and so much more.
No matter where you’re at in your journey – be it a mountain top, a valley, or a plateau – the reason you are where you are is because you were given more than you could handle at one point.
Otherwise there wouldn’t be ups or downs, right? Everyone’s life story would be exactly the same. We’d all just float through life until the end. We’d never be overwhelmed by grief or sadness, but we’d never be overflowing with joy or peace either. In a sense, we’d all be stuck in ruts without knowing it or caring that we were.
But doesn’t the Bible say that God won’t give us more than we can handle?
It actually doesn’t. Out of all the twisted verses we’ve discussed, I think this twist is the one I understand the least. You don’t even have to read around the verse to see its full truth. You just have to read all of the one verse.
“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.” (1 Corinthians 10:13, NLT)
It’s very clear that Paul is talking about temptation, and when we use our twisted version of this verse, we talk about trials. These two are not the same.
I like a good theological discussion as much as the next Philosophy and Religion minor, but that’s not what I want to get into here. Let’s dog ear that conversation to save for some other time. Let’s operate under the Biblical ideas that God is omnipotent (meaning He is all-powerful), is omniscient (meaning He sees and knows everything), and gave us free will.
Some trials I go through are from my own doing. If I get paid once a month and spend all of my money frivolously in the first week, it’s my fault that I’m starving for the rest of the month. Or if a friend of mine stopped talking to me because I was mentally abusive and took advantage of them, that’d also be my fault. Those trials would be mine because of me.
But a hurricane sweeping through and destroying someone’s home is not that person’s fault. Nor is a family member dying of cancer or being a victim of rape or assault. Those awful circumstances are no fault of the person on the receiving end or who is left to deal with everything in the wake of the tragedy.
Temptations always leave us with choices. If I liked to steal stuff, I would be presented with a choice to steal or not every time I went into a store. It might be legitimately hard to resist. Maybe the only employee working hates his or her job and isn’t even around. Maybe there’s a pack of something already open, and who would buy or miss that anyway? Regardless of which way it goes, it’s up to me. It’s the same with every form of temptation.
Although this verse doesn’t mean what we so often say it does, it is a comfort. It’s encouraging to know that God wants us to draw close to Him, so much so that He’ll make a way for us to resist or escape temptation. It’s encouraging to know that whatever we’re facing is the same as what other people are facing. It’s nice to know that we are loved and not alone.
The next time you’re tempted, know that God empowers you, and because of that, you’re greater than what you face. And if you’re going through a hard time, a trial, know that it may be more than you can handle, but it isn’t more than you and God can handle together. No matter what temptation or trial is in front of you, rely on God because He is faithful.
By Carrie Prevette