No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.
– 1 Corinthians 10:13
Yesterday my wife had a meeting with her manager after work. After that meeting she went home after almost 22 years of employment feeling unsure if she will have a job after a three month evaluation. This has brought some temptation into our lives. What kind of temptation? Well, the temptation to lash out, to run and hide, to fight for what we know as our status quo. We feel a temptation to doubt God. To be angry at Him for taking our plans away.
The verse mentions temptations being common, and this one is certainly not uncommon, even in our lives! Three years ago we were listening to the clock tick down on another three month period of evaluation. We are painfully aware of how that went. It ended hard, and it brough a lot of trials, struggles, and pain that still resonates with us today. We are reminded of it occassionally when we try to do something to get a little farther ahead, but the past mistakes we made are still there making the road hard.
So, even though we know how that went, there are some things that are different now. Back then we went into our trial with a load of debt that we had been carrying. God has been very good to us and we paid off the last of that this week, so we now only have a mortgage and have been living without credit cards for three years. God is VERY good!
Another diffference is that we can now look back and draw on past experience. It was very frightening to lose my job. There was a lot of things that we did not know, and it was paralyzing in some ways. We now know that we got through it with God’s help, and we can do it again if we need to.
The biggest thing I see that is different now is that we are much closer to God now than we were then. Through that experience God showed Himself to be so real to us and He worked in our lives and in those around us to care for us and to help us along. We saw the reality of God’s love in real life. I know that He will not leave me, and I know it not just in my head, but I have experienced it! That is a very good thing to know.
Does this mean I can’t wait for something bad to happen? Of course not! I’m in no hurry to set myself up like that! That would be foolish. What I amrady for is to see what God will do. He has a plan, and I want to see what that plan is.
The verse says that God will provide “the way of escape.” Escape sounds really good! “I’ll take the FastPass to peace and prosperity please, and can I get a window seat?” Escape brings us the thoughts of an easy way out. It is quick, painless, and nobody has to get hurt. Sounds good right? What does it say next though?
“That you will be able to endure it.” Wait a second. Endure? That does not give me a warm or fuzzy feeling. That sounds long, hard, and painful. That sounds like I will have no say in the matter. That sounds like something to avoid at all costs. Why would I want to endure that?
Well, when I think about this verse I see the way out as being the way of enduring. There might be a faster way to think I am getting out of something, but that will likely be one of those frying pan and fire kind of deals. Not something I want for myself or my family. So, the other option is to find “THE” way of escape and endure.
Let me paraphrase the verse:
“Nothing is going to happen in your life that has not happened to somebody else, but God is never going to leave you. He is not going to let anything happen to you that He has not checked first to be sure that you will be able to get through it, and He has given Himself to you so you can endure it.”
I see God’s presence in this trial as the way of escape. We may or may not see any change in my wife’s job. What I do know is that my only option (Remember it is “THE” way) is to stay close to God through this. He is my guarantee. He is faithful, and He wants me to grow and to learn how to trust Him in everything. That is why these things are allowed in our lives. He gives us the opportunity to draw strength from Him so we can give Him the glory for it.
Escape by enduring. Sounds tough, but I have read the Book, and shortcuts never seem to work out well for those foolish enough to to try.