II Corinthians 10:13a
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.
If God said that He wouldn’t allow me to be tempted (the Greek word also means tested) more than I can bear, then why does it feel like it’s more than I can bear?
I’m not playing. I remember when the pain in my life was so bad, I had to fight every day to not kill myself. How was that not more than I could bear?
I know people who are dealing with this today. How can God say that what they’re going through is not more than they can bear?
When in doubt, read the next sentence.
II Corinthians 10:13b
But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.
The King James Version says He will make “a way to escape.”
The reason He says I can bear whatever test or temptation life throws at me is because He always provides a way for me to escape.
“Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
He’s not saying the flesh is weak, so we just need to resign ourselves to falling into temptation. “Too bad, so sad.” “It was bound to happen.” “See, I told you so.” “Even God said I’m weak and I’m going to fall into temptation.”
No – it’s because the flesh is weak that He tells us to watch and pray. He knows our weakness, so He tells us how to get strong. He knows our weakness, so He tells us what to do to overcome that weakness.
This is how we escape the temptation.
I need to open my eyes.
If my soul is aching from despair or my mind is racked with fear, I want to close my eyes and retreat from the world. And that’s a natural reaction.
But if I believe God’s Word, then I have to believe that He knows what I’m going through and He has provided a way out from under what’s crushing me. It’s my job to open my eyes and look for it.
I need to recognize that despair and fear are symptoms of my mental illness and treat them as such. Modern medicine is one avenue God has provided for me to escape from despair and anxiety. He provided medical professionals to examine and diagnose me, medicines to help correct the illnesses, and therapists to teach me ways to cope with the remaining symptoms.
Plans fail for lack of counsel,
but with many advisers they succeed.
He also provided friends and family members for support. I have to make the effort to seek out that support, to find the people who are safe to share my struggles with. But I can trust that God has provided those people.
II Corinthians 7:6-7
But God, who comforts the downcast, comforted us by the coming of Titus, and not only by his coming but also by the comfort you had given him. He told us about your longing for me, your deep sorrow, your ardent concern for me, so that my joy was greater than ever.
He knows our weaknesses, so He told us to come to Him to get the mercy and grace we need to help us not give in to our weaknesses.
For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
His mercy and grace don’t just help us not give in to the temptation to sin, they help us not give in to the temptation to doubt.
Like I said, when we’re being crushed by the world – or our own minds – it feels like God is not holding up His end of the bargain. It feels like it’s more than we can bear.
And it may be more than we can bear. But that’s exactly why He provided mercy and grace – “to help us in our time of need.”
Plus, it’s not just our own prayers that He uses.
I urge you, brothers and sisters, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to join me in my struggle by praying to God for me.
God tells us in His Word, over and over, to pray for one another. So, when I am well, I build relationships with people and we pray for each other.
Therefore, when I am unwell – when I’m having a hard time praying for myself – I know that others are praying for me.
I may not have the strength to bear the despair and anxiety crashing in on me, but God is faithful to His Word and He has provided an escape. It’s my job to look around and see where that is and then pray that He helps me take advantage of it.
How has God helped you escape when you were faced with more than you could bear?
Photo credit: Kat Smith