In an effort to encourage someone I often hear people quote from a scripture, “Well, He won’t put more on you than you can stand.” That is actually a partial scripture taken out of context. Here is the full context.
“No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.” – 1 Corinthians 10:13
The word “bear” in the above passage is the Greek word, “hypopherō,” which means; “to bear up under patiently and endure.”
The passage has nothing to do with affliction or another harsh trial, but with temptation that has the potential to overwhelms us and cause us to sin. It is actually referring to the fact that our flesh, Satan, and the world system, can overwhelm us with temptation except for the “way of escape.” That “way” often includes prayer, sometimes fasting, surrendering or yielding up something in our lives, et cetera. The reason is because the “way” of escape is often through a difficult trial. There are no verses that declare God will not allow us to be overwhelmed beyond what we can endure in a trial.
To believe that God will prevent a harsh trial to become more than we can stand is unbiblical and inconsistent with the history of Christianity, including the past and present history of martyrdom. In order to understand more clearly we should consider the examples of suffering in the Bible.
Consider the prophets Jeremiah and Elijah. Jeremiah was neck-deep in a filthy muddy dungeon. Elijah was so overwhelmed with depression that he despaired of life. Consider Job, and the Apostle Paul. Read Hebrews 11 about the suffering of individuals that were considered great examples of faith.
I can testify that in my own life I have been in extremely difficult trials that were more than I could bear up under and endure. I can remember that at least twice I despaired of life. To be clear, I genuinely wished to die and be free from the torment. In those and numerous other situations I was under a very harsh trial that I could not do anything about or endure by my own resources and abilities.
It was during those times that I learned the meaning of what God said to the Apostle Paul when he beseeched God for deliverance from his burdensome affliction.
“And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” – 2 Corinthians 12:9
In other words, we may reach the point—and if we are truly committed we will likely do so—to the point that our burden or affliction may be more than we can bear. Remember the old song,
“I must tell Jesus, I cannot bear these burdens alone.” (Songwriters: Composer & Author Trad / Travis Cottrell / Public Domain Unidentified.)
The author(s) obviously experienced the reality of a trial or trials that were beyond their means to endure. We must accept that truth lest we try to solve or exit a trial by our own resources, which can be devastating. Numerous individuals decided during a heavy trial that they had sinned and God was punishing them. Other ones have believed that their faith in God was a myth and became atheists. Even more individuals have dialed back their commitment to God and ran to the hirelings and heretics for relief from the fully surrendered life. Their foray into religious liberalism brought them under deception that many of them never recovered from.
The decision while under a harsh trial that God is unfair is a failure to understand the nature of a trial and the priceless benefit at its end.
The nature of a trial is to take us out of our comfort zones and into something beyond our ability to overcome. It circumvents the human nature to control our situations and associations in a way that provides the most comfort for us. We do not grow spiritually in those fleshly stimulating and comfy situations because the volume of our trust is in ourselves and the temporal realm. The trial purges our faith of dross and makes it as pure gold (1 Peter 1:6-9). However, we will experience that purging without reaching the desperation of helplessness. We will never reach out to God in the depth and purity of sincerity and hope as we will when under a trial that we cannot endure and overcome by our own strength and will power.
When you’ve been to the bank and they turned you down for a loan. When you went to the doctor and he or she declares that there is no cure. When you are attacked so unfairly and viciously that you are certain to lose your job, position, or may have lost it. When your children are suffering and there is no human power that can deliver them. When a loved one is suddenly taken away and your soul is in the deepest despair.
When you feel utterly worthless, faithless, and when your praying feels weak and insincere, when your spirit feels dry and shriveled, and the burdens of life are so crushing that you are so broken that you are certain that no one or no thing can put the pieces back together—then you are in a place where God can shower your valley with heavenly rain and makes its flowers of hope and joy to bloom. Please do not misunderstand—it does not mean that He caused the trial. But He is certainly the source of the indescribable blessing at the end!
The priceless benefit of such a trial is the burning away of dross that we did not know we had collected. That dross is mingle with our faith, corrupts and compromises its integrity. Praying before the trial can become formal and rote. Praying after the trial will be effectual and fervent. None of those benefits are possible until we concede during our “dark night of the soul” that we cannot endure and overcome the trial by our own devices, and consequently yield ourselves completely to God’s great love and grace.
A further benefit is that we learn things about God and understand His word deeper during a trial. Those blessed lessons can be written about and people may parrot what they hear or read as if they possess them without having gone through the fire that brought them forth. However, they cannot be applied in fullness from without—they must be birthed and applied from within.
The reason for trials is because in this temporal realm we are influenced by the flesh, Satan, and the world system. It is not just by temptation that we are lulled into a mechanical or habitual relationship with God. Our self-built comfort zones will lure us into taking His blessings and provisions, and even His presence, for granted. Instead of our hearts being fully set on Him, we may begin to dabble and focus on the offerings of the world system. Distractions and attractions will lure us into doldrums where Satan’s offerings appear to be more palatable than God’s presence and benefits.
Therefore, the way of escape that God makes for those temptations that are near unbearable and that threaten to overwhelm us is into an overwhelming fiery trial of our faith. Satan’s fiery darts have reached their mark and we are in jeopardy of compromise. The subsequent fiery trial is a controlled burn by God—not to destroy us, but to counter Satan’s fiery darts. It is to purge and cleanse us from the dregs of earthy, sensual, and demonic influences (James 3:13-18). Therefore, the way of escape is to reset our mind on things above where our view of the world system reveals it as it truly is, and not as Satan and the flesh would describe and convince us that it is (Colossians 3:1-17). God knows when our godliness is becoming mere form and seeks to restore the substance (2 Timothy 3:5).
When we long for entertainment more than time with God, for music of the world system rather than spiritual songs, for activities and hobbies more than being productive according to His will, and we gravitate toward “ministries” that never mention commitment, expose the works of darkness, sin, or the requirement to be faithful (1 Corinthians 4:2; Galatians 5:22; Matthew 25:21-23; Luke 16:10; Revelation 2:10; Revelation 17:14; Proverbs 22:12), we are in great danger.
Apostasy is not a vile stench to the flesh, but is only repulsive to one who is spiritual (1 Corinthians 2:15). When we become carnal and subject to the influences of the flesh, apostasy seems to be God’s path of liberty. Conversely, the restraint of godliness appears to be trivial, legalistic, or a concept of Christianity derived by ignorance. We will one day rejoice in the harsh and pressing trials that delivered us from such lies!
In conclusion, there has occurred an obvious increase of trials upon God’s Remnant in this time of great deception and apostasy. It would stand to reason that in such a time as the last days, when “because iniquity abounds the love of man will grow cold” ( Matthew 24:12), that God would purge His people deeper and more frequently. The dark storm that is coming upon us will be more severe than anything the Believers throughout history have endured. We will need a strong and purified faith to stand, overcome, and endure to the end.
Although it may seem that in our extreme anguish the harshness of our testings are unfair, we must put everything into His hands and leave it there. The we should focus our minds on the reward that awaits God’s faithful people. The Apostle Paul addressed this mindset directly in his letter to the Romans.
“The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together. For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God.” – Romans 8:16-19
Let us order our minds likewise and endure to the end. One day it will be worth whatever we suffered in this temporal realm to remain faithful to our great God and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!