"No testing has overtaken you, that is not common to everyone. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tested beyond your strength, but with the testing he will also provide the way out so that you may be able to endure it."
1 Corinthians 10:13 (NRSV)
Prodigal Thoughts: Oh, this is a wonderful verse. I’ve been waiting a couple of days to begin working on this one. The apostle Paul is writing to the church in Corinth as they have been having some issues, so he is helping to give them guidance (and a hefty dose of correction). He is acknowledging the struggles that they have been facing, but Paul lets them know that they are not the only ones that are fighting for their faith, for what they believe. In true Pauline fashion, he addresses this point, but then points us to God and/or Jesus for our hope and peace. There are a few things within this verse that are jumping out at me. First, Paul sets the standard that God is faithful no matter what we are going through. I know I have had plenty of times when I felt so overwhelmed and alone that I seriously questioned if God was even aware of what I was going through at the moment. What I learned over time? Of course He cares!!! Second (but it really ties together with the other two), God will not let us be tested beyond our strength. Notice the verse doesn’t say "God will test you." I don’t feel that He does. Why?!? With the fall of man (think back to Adam and Eve), we have been causing the majority of all of the chaos over the millenia just due to our human nature. Now, by no means, am I trying to say that we are the cause of ALL our own faith struggles. Please don’t hear that. My point is that God is neither the cause of, nor is He the source of our chaos. That leads me to the last thought. When my wife and I lost the three children due to miscarriage, God didn’t cause that, contrary to what we were told by some (mostly family). It wasn’t a result of a lack of faith that caused the miscarriages. I don’t think those times were a test of any kind. Only a sick and twisted person would cause traumatic death like that just so faith can be "tested." But I will say this. From those deaths, my wife and I had to learn to lean on one another for our strength and faith. Not only did we have to lean on each other, but we found ourselves turning to God for our strength because we were totally devastated and each miscarriage left a deeper and more soul-crushing wound on us both. When we turned to God for our strength, He did not disappoint. He held us up, comforted us, and I can honestly say that I could feel our heavenly Father grieving with and for us.
On the other side of those times, I can look back and see where God was there all along. In the book of James, we are given a challenge when we face trying times that we should consider being joyful because the testing of our faith develops maturity and perseverance. Another thing I have found is that the difficult things we face can also provide a common link to those who are either going through or have gone through similar situations. We can then know how to speak to and encourage those toward the love and hope of God.
Prayer for today: Today, I pray that we would be encouraged, especially during difficult times. Encouraged to reach out to those around us for prayer and support and to reach upwards to our heavenly Father for comfort, wisdom, and hope. I pray that each of us would come to know that God is truly for us and not against us. That our faith would be made mature through our relationship with the One who called us into being.
Need prayer? You can reply here or you can send me a facebook message through the Prodigal Thinker page. If this encourages you, feel free to share it. Feel free to reply with feedback as well. I’m always open to discussion.
God’s grace on you…