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 (NIV)
The above verse is on how we can face the challenges in our daily lives on earth. The theme is “temptation”. What is that? It refers to external factors that force us to do things that we will regret later. I prefer to call it “trouble”. It sounds more natural. In this article, I shall use the term “trouble” instead of “temptation” but the meaning is the same.
If you have been living in the real world long enough, you would have realized that nothing always works according to plan. Things will invariably get wrong. You can get into trouble by your own mistakes or somebody else’s mistakes. Do you think this is unfair to suffer for somebody else’s mistakes? Let me give you some comfort. Somebody else can also suffer from your mistakes.
Based on my experience from the troubles I have been through, I did not always have a positive mindset when I went through them. I used to think I was the most unfortunate person on earth. I wished I were somebody else. (I suspect many had also thought the same.)
The first part of the above verse seems to have read my mind. If you are to think logically, you should have realized that no matter what trouble you are in right now, you cannot be the only one suffering from it. Many others throughout the world and at all times have the same experience. You are not that special after all. So, stop that self pity routine.
The second part of the verse tells us that God he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. Can you bear the troubles that you are facing right now? If you cannot do it, God would have made sure that this trouble would not have come to you in the first place. However, if you are in it right now, it must mean one thing: In God’s personal opinion, you have what it takes to overcome it.
In other words, God has given you all the power you need to overcome the problems you are facing right now. So, if you choose to give up, you are basically making a declaration saying that God is incapable of doing his job. I don’t think he will feel very honored by that.
However, should you choose to fight on and refuse to give up, you are effectively making a declaration to the whole world that your God is the true God who is faithful, a person of integrity and fully capable of doing his job. Do I have to convince you that you will get more blessings this way?
The last part of the above verse tells us what happen when we are already tempted, meaning we are already deep in trouble. It gives us the assurance that God will provide a way out. If you are with God, you will never be in any situation where there is no way out. There is always a way out no matter how impossible it appears to be. Why? God guarantees it? I choose to trust in him.
Unfortunately, here is some bad news. The last portion says, “so that you can endure it”. Why do we have to endure anything? The only answer is, the the way out will not appear immediately the moment we need it. There will be some waiting time between the time we get into trouble and the time we get out of it. This is the period we have to endure.
How do we endure? The above verse tells us that when we truly believes our God will provide a way out from our troubles, we will have the strength to endure it. Enduring does not mean giving up and surrendering to the present situation. Just because you are poor now, it does not mean you have to be poor forever. Just because you are sick now, it does not mean you must be sick forever. Just because you have failed now, it does not mean you must be failing forever. Just because you are in sin now, it does not mean you must be in sin forever.
God has promised you a way out. Can you believe him? If you can, you will be able to live through the present troubles with joy in your spirit and hope in your heart. You will live with confident expectation that you will see your dreams coming true even if the present situation tells you the opposite. You choose to believe in God rather than circumstances.
This is the true meaning of endurance. This is the life of faith.