"God will not give you more than you can bear." Have you ever heard that phrase? I bet you've heard it at least once or twice in your lifetime. I've heard it quite a few times, as well as using it myself to encourage others going through difficult times. Well, I've made a discovery that I would like to share with you.....God will/does give you more than you can handle. What??? Yep, keep reading and I will explain.
The above quote, taken from 1 Cor. 10:13, is only part of that passage of Scripture, and has been taken out of context many times. I decided to dig a little deeper and do some research on exactly where that phrase came from in the Bible. Here is the entire passage of Scripture from 1 Corinthians 10:13 (NLT)- "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."
If we look at the entire passage of Scripture we will see that Paul was not talking about suffering, he was talking about temptation. There isn't always a way out of the things we suffer in this life. I don't know about you, but when I found out that this passage of Scripture was talking about temptation instead of suffering, it felt like a huge weight had been lifted off my shoulders.
I found this definition, referring to this particular passage of Scripture, in a book I have, Sparkling Gems from the Greek by Rick Renner- "The word "temptation" in the Greek is peirasmos, which refers to any outside source that appeals to a weakness in your flesh. That appeal pulls you like a magnet; it lures you mentally, emotionally, and sensually; it fascinates the imagination; it entices the flesh to take a closer peek. If you don't stop this process, it will set its hooks in your soul and haul you right smack dab into the middle of some kind of sin. There are many different types of temptations we might struggle with; from being lazy or easily offended; to thinking too lowly or too highly of yourself; to having a problem with anger or sexual temptation. Whatever your flesh responds to is what this word peirasmos refers to."
Please hear me out, I'm not saying, by any means, that it's easy to stand up against temptations. Believe me, I have failed more times than I can tell you when it comes to resisting different temptations. What I am saying is that while we do have a choice in how we will respond to whatever temptation we are faced with, we don't always have a choice in the difficulties that come into our lives. The things we go through in this life, the things that leave us broken into a million pieces, we don't always have a choice in whether we want to go through them or not.
Here are just a few examples of some of the heartbreaking things in this life we don't choose: We did not choose for our loved one to die suddenly, we did not choose for our spouse to have an affair and leave us, we did not choose the heartache of infertility, we did not choose to be let go from our job of twenty years because they are downsizing, we did not choose for our child to develop a chronic illness, we did not choose to lose everything we own in a house fire, we did not choose for our parent to suffer with cancer and be taken away from us while we were a child, we did not choose for that drunk driver to run the red light and crash into a car our teenage son was driving.
We can't always choose the things we will go through, but we can choose how we will allow those things to affect us. Have I always made the best choices, as far as how I've allowed different situations to affect me. No, I haven't. I have, however, done what I felt was right at the time.
There are many, many difficulties we have to walk through in this life, and speaking for myself, it never made me feel any better about what I was going through to hear, "God will never give you more than you can bear." God never said He would not give us more than we could handle. If we were able to handle everything we go through on our own, then we wouldn't need Him. He is the One who gives us the strength and the ability to walk through those times when we feel like we just can't face another day of pain. He is the One who gives us the peace to continue putting one foot in front of the other when we feel like we don't know how we are even breathing anymore. Jesus said in John 16:33, "In this godless world you will continue to experience difficulties. But take heart! I’ve conquered the world.”
I know, without a doubt, if God were not helping me and giving me the strength to endure some of the painful things I've walked through over the last few years, I would not have been able to make it through. I don't, by any means, want you to think I understand why God allows certain things to happen or that I've got it all figured out, because I certainly don't. I just want you to know that He is there with you through the storms of life. You may not feel Him there beside you, and you may not see Him there, but He promised He would be there in times of trouble. It's been hard for me to trust Him, especially after some of the difficulties I've been through, but I am taking one day at a time and trying to work through all the junk I'm feeling. I also hope that through it all, I will one day be able to help someone else who may be struggling with some of the same things. Isn't that what we're called to do after all? Help one another by coming alongside each other in the hard times.
Stay tuned tomorrow for an important announcement! I'm going to be holding a Christmas giveaway right here! I've got some awesome goodies in my Christmas giveaway package! Be sure to come back to enter.
Until next time my friends, be blessed!
"If you're going through hell, keep going." ~Winston Churchill
"Strength does not come through winning. Your struggles develop your strength. When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength." ~Arnold Schwarzenegger