No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it (1 Corinthians 10:13, ESV).
When you’re overwhelmed by a problem that isn’t going to get better in a couple days or even weeks, you might begin to falter. The pressure to falter is great—to slip down, go under, give in, lose the battle—and at times we would falter without an exceedingly great and precious promise from God. You need something larger and stronger than your problems. Serious days call for a serious promise: God is always watching; I will not falter.
God is watching, and He wants you to succeed at the Christian life. Considering His great love for you, do you honestly think He would let you go through more than you can handle? No. He won’t let the waters drown you. He will keep the fires from burning you (Isaiah 43:1–2). He won’t allow the temptation to become so strong it knocks you off your feet.
“God actively controls the severity of everything we face.”
In the original Greek of the New Testament, there is just one word for “temptation” and “trial.” It’s used interchangeably, based on the intent of the passage. A trial refers to an adversity allowed by God to transform your character. A temptation is a solicitation to do evil, which could never originate with God (see James 1:13).
In 1 Corinthians 10:13, both meanings are in view. God won’t allow a temptation or a trial into your life that you won’t be able to handle. Neither one will overtake your life or last forever. “God is faithful.”
Every trial and temptation you face is “common to man.” You might feel as if nobody has ever gone through what you’re going through, but that’s false. The enemy tries to paint your difficulties as unique in order to make you falter. Don’t fall for that! In the past, many people have gone through a trial just like yours, and more will in the future. You don’t get singled out for a customized set of temptations. You’re probably getting about average. God will not allow you to be tried beyond your ability to withstand.
He’s watching closely. God actively controls the severity of everything we face. He says, “This far—no further. That’s all. That’s My daughter; I know what she can handle.” God protects His own. He will not allow you to be tested beyond what you are able to handle.
You might argue, “I’m already being tried beyond what I can bear!” But the truth is that God knows you better than you know yourself. You’re not going to lose it. You will survive. You don’t know what you are capable of in God’s strength. You will get through this. The trial won’t last forever.
When the time comes that you really can’t take it anymore, 1 Corinthians 10:13 promises, “He will also provide the way of escape.” With practice you can learn to recognize exit ramps when you see them. “The way of escape” might look like . . .
•An instant end to the trial. When God moves, the mountains get leveled, the floods get lowered, and the sun suddenly breaks through. In my experience, trials end as quickly as they start.
•Encouragement to endure. Out of the blue, God may send another Christian to encourage you and remind you that you’re not alone.
•Wisdom and direction. God may show you a new angle on the problem. So many trials in life hinge for the good on one, simple, God-given piece of wisdom.
•Strength to persevere. There may be days when you don’t think you can face that difficult circumstance or person one more time. God may energize you for a new season of faithfulness.
•A friend to share the burden. Sometimes God dispels the darkness through the comforting assurance of friendship. The way of escape may be someone who has walked the same road before.
•A few days of relief. Sometimes God gives an oasis in the middle of the desert to replenish your reserves. Perhaps those tough circumstances will return for a season, but that temporary relief enables you to endure.
Of course, the variety of exit ramps is as endless as God’s creativity, but you can be confident He won’t let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. He doesn’t promise you eight options, or six, or even three—but you will find at least one exit ramp. When you see it, take it. Sometimes He gives us extra strength to endure our trials, but whether you’re enduring or exiting, you will not falter; God is always watching.
Chaplain Rob Dunbar