1 Corinthians 10:13
13 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)
This is what we say to others at times when they are struggling for encouragement. The problem is that this statement mischaracterizes Scripture. Today, we see the Scripture from where this statement comes. It is teaching us that God will not let us be tempted beyond what we can bear. This is about temptation, not a hardship. When it comes to hardship, the Lord often allows more than we can handle. This is the necessary process for increased faith.
Suffering and hardship do create temptation. We are tempted to escape through some mind-numbing activity such as getting drunk or high. We may be tempted to escape through deception. Somewhere we fall into the trap of believing we can lie our way out of difficult times. Our passage today reminds us the Holy Spirit is always with us and at any time we can call upon Him and reject any and every temptation. However, this does not alleviate the hardship that is creating the temptation.
Consider Job whose suffering pushed him way beyond his ability to cope. He might have been tempted to run away physically if not emotionally in one of the ways we mentioned above. Yet, he did not run away. Instead, he wrestled with it all wondering how God could allow such extreme suffering though he had lived a righteous life. The atrocities he experienced challenged his faith that God could restore joy after such agonizing heartache.
God was revealing in Himself more power than Job had attributed to Him though Job already esteemed God highly. However, to increase Job’s faith, God had to allow something that would challenge the level of faith he already had. God allowed more than Job could handle calling Job to have more faith. It is one thing to believe God is able to give us joy. It is a whole other thing to believe God can restore our joy after it has been severed from us in life’s guillotine. This requires more faith.
The greater our faith and trust in the Lord, the greater our reverence and obedience to the Lord. Then He can trust us with more because we have proven we will not squander His goodness. He is able to multiply His favor as our faith increases. And He is a good father who wants to give us every good and perfect gift.
Lord, help me respond to unbearable hardships with increased faith to endure and overcome. Amen.