I was talking to a friend last week who was really in distress, having a truly difficult time, and she was holding on to a passage of scripture that promised that God would never give us more than we can handle. Trouble is, when you’re feeling completely at the end of yourself, how do you know how much more you can handle? How much longer you can hold out, hold on? And how do you trust a God who gives you this kind of trouble anyway? If he’s the one giving you the grief, can you really trust him not to give too much?
Does your faith life make you feel like this?
Does God do this to us? Give us hardships to test us, watching us like a white-coated scientist with a clipboard, making notes… Paraphrased as my friend did above, as we do on bumper stickers and refrigerator magnets, inverts the point of I Corinthians 10:13, which reads, “No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. 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 stand up under it.”
Reading carefully, God isn’t in the business of handing out hardship–the test, all trials are only what are common to all of us as human beings–they come with the skin suit. But the trials that life brings, that we bring to ourselves and each other, aren’t beyond what we can bear because God is always waiting in the midst to show the way out, over, under, through, around… In those most difficult times, if we can keep just enough spiritual balance to remember to lean into the moment–not run from it–God’s steadying hand can and will come from the most unexpected places.