In my last post, “Taking Life One Sidewalk Block At A Time” I had every intention of referencing a common scripture passage, “God will never give you more than you are able to bear.” I didn’t know exactly where to find it in the Bible so I did a search at biblegateway.com. No results were returned. I changed bible versions and tried the search again with the same results – nothing. How can that be? Curious, I went to Google and typed in the same search. Imagine my surprise and disbelief when Google told me...nope, not there, doesn’t exist, nothing, nada! A few hits sited 1 Corinthians 10:13, “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.” OK, that’s all well and good for temptation, but that verse doesn’t specifically speak to the struggles or burdens we experience in our everyday lives.
Everyone quotes the “God won’t give you more than you can bear” scripture at some point in their lives and I was still having trouble believing it didn’t exist. Since I’m a huge learning geek and tend to not necessarily believe everything I read on the internet (because we know that stuff is all true...NOT) I decided it was time to call in the expert. I headed down to the church to speak with a pastor and guess what – the scripture does not exist! He did mention 1 Corinthians 10:13, but confirmed my interpretation that this does in fact speak to temptation. He went on to explain that it could apply to the desire or temptation to curse God in the midst of our struggles, but does not actually deal with the struggles themselves. He then referenced a very interesting passage from Paul’s letter in 2 Corinthians 1:8-9, “We think you ought to know, dear brothers and sisters, about the trouble we went through in the province of Asia. We were crushed and overwhelmed beyond our ability to endure, and we thought we would never live through it. In fact, we expected to die...”
Wow, so much for “not more than you can bear”. They couldn’t bear it – they thought they were going to die! Where’s the reassuring scripture now? Where does that leave us? Does God abandon us to muddle through our struggles in our own strength as best we can? Does He care that we suffer in this life? These are all good questions and quite frankly hard questions to answer when you’re grieving the loss of a child, going bankrupt, dealing with a divorce, or experiencing other curve balls life throws at you. The good news is Paul doesn’t leave it there. He goes on to say, “...But as a result we stopped relying on ourselves and learned to rely only on God, who raises the dead. And he did rescue us from mortal danger, and he will rescue us again...” These two verses are prefaced by Paul praising God and telling the people of Corinth over and over again how God has comforted them through Christ’s presence in their lives. As you read through verses 3 to 7 (and I highly recommend you do) it seems as though Paul can’t say enough about the comforting presence of God. Paul isn’t the only one in the bible to do this. Many times throughout the Psalms David takes comfort from God’s presence and support...Psalm 145:14, “...The Lord helps the fallen and lifts those bent beneath their loads...”, the classic Psalm 23:3 “...He renews my strength...”, Psalm 46:1 “God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble...” You’ll find many more examples if you read through the Psalms. In Matthew, Jesus, Himself reassures us and tells us to bring our burdens to Him, “...Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest...” Matthew 11:28.
Does God abandon us in times of trouble? No! God is always with us in Christ and through the presence of the Holy Spirit. He is always ready to comfort us, strengthen us and come along side of us as we navigate the challenges and troubles of life. Can we trust Him? Absolutely! “Cast your cares on the Lord and He will sustain you; He will never let the righteous be shaken” Psalm 55:22
What are you struggling with today? Will you trust God to see you through?