I went out for coffee the other day with a friend of mine. As we sipped our grande nonfat peppermint mochas (with whip, of course, to make up for that icky nonfat milk) and she told me about the latest in the long line of crises that had befallen her.
“But,” she said, pasting a pained smile on her face, “God said He’d never give us more than we can bear, right?”
Well. Wrong, actually.
In 1 Corinthians 10:13, God promises that we will never be tempted beyond what we can bear (but that when we are tempted, He’ll provide a way of escape for us).
Temptation and trials are two different things.
In this world, Jesus said, you will have tribulation. You will have trials. You will have trouble.1
In this world, people you love are going to get sick. Some of them will die.
Sometimes you’re the one who’s going to get sick.
There’ll be times when you look at your spouse and say to yourself, “Oops.”
Your children are going to turn your hair gray.
There will be people who tell lies about you. Stab you in the back. Hurt you in many ways.
And maybe all those things will happen at once.
I went through a year recently where I was diagnosed with cancer and had surgery, then a few months later lost my mom to cancer, followed by my husband having to have spinal surgery and one of my sons struggling to overcome some personal demons. Not what you’d call a banner year.
In this world, Jesus said (and I’m paraphrasing), sometimes life is really going to suck.
As grateful as we are that God provides a way of escape when we’re faced with temptation (although – I’ll confess to you if you’ll confess to me: we don’t always take it, do we?), don’t you wish He would have carried the concept a step farther and promised not to allow us to face trials beyond which we could bear?
Why didn’t He, anyway?
Maybe it’s so we’ll finally stop trying to bear all our troubles alone, and let Him do it. Maybe He lets the burdens pile up and pile up sometimes just so we can learn to fall into His arms and let Him carry us and our burdens. Because didn’t He also say, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest”?2
I think that’s it right there. He just wants us to come to Him.
So, yes, we’ll never be tempted beyond what we can bear (which means, of course, that we have no excuses, right?).
Sometimes, though, in this world, we will be tried beyond what we, alone, can bear.
But be of good cheer. We’re not alone. Jesus has overcome the world.
1 John 16:33
2 Matt. 11:28