READ THE SCRIPTURE: 1 CORINTHIANS 9:24-10:13
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.
1 Corinthians 10:13
Oh what an encouragement this is! This is written down that we might understand three specific things about our testings: First, they are common to all. I do not know anything that is harder to believe, when we are under testing, than that. We all think, Why isn’t this happening to others? They deserve it so much more than me. Why is it happening to me? Well, it is just your turn, that is all. Everybody goes through it. You are not permitted to witness their martyrdom, but you will not be allowed to miss yours. You do not see what they go through most of the time, but no one is left out. Trials are common to all. Their time is coming, if it has not already, so do not ever allow yourself to think that what is happening to you is unique. It is not at all. It is very common, and the minute you start inquiring around, you will find a dozen that have gone through it too.
Second, though they are common trials, they are also controlled pressures — God is faithful, he will not allow you to be tempted above your strength. Again, that is hard to believe, is it not? We say, Well, it has already happened. I am already beyond my strength. No, you are not. You just think you are. God knows your strength greater than you do. He knows how much you can handle, and how much you cannot. One of the basic principles of training in an athletic contest is to develop things you do not think you can do right now, to put more pressure on you than you think you can handle, is it not? And you discover you can handle it. This is what God does with us. He puts the pressure on, but it is controlled pressure. It will never be more than you can handle as long as you understand the third thing.
The third thing is the conquering grace that he provides, the way out that is always present, never failing. What is that way of escape? It is dependence. Discipline is necessary, but so is dependence. All through the Old Testament the heroes and heroines of faith have taught us that in the hour of testing God strips away all human support so that we may learn that he is enough. God is our refuge and our strength, a very present help in time of trouble (Ps.46:1), and we will never discover that until everything else has been taken away. Then we begin to discover that God can hold us steady. He himself is the way of escape, and that is why he puts us through pressures and testings.
Lord, I pray that this may be my experience in the days that lie ahead in this troubled world.
What three aspects of our trials and temptations are assured to us as God’s people? How does this address our complaints, as well as our confidence in God’s purposeful ending?