No Trial Has Come To You But What is Human…

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“No trial has come to you but what is human. God is faithful and will not let you be tried beyond your strength; but with the trial he will also provide a way out, so that you may be able to bear it” (1 Cor. 10:13). This is one of the most comforting verses in scripture, yet it takes faith, real faith, to trust in what it is saying. We all know how scripture can make so much sense to us in the peace of our prayer life, but when some intense, unavoidable reality, some trial, comes home to roost in the form of mental or physical trials, we often feel overwhelmed and alone.

The first thought we are confronted with here is that trials are part of our experience as human beings. Because of The Fall of Adam and Eve, sin and death entered into our experience. This is the reality we all face together. Trials are endemic to our experience. They often come to us unbidden, for example a life threatening cancer, or by some accident outside of our control. often they come to us because of our own sinful choices, or the sinful choices of others. As human beings, we cannot avoid suffering. It is part of our reality. But it is how we choose to respond to our suffering, our trials, that makes the difference. It is in faith that we find the source of our strength in times of trial.

The key to this passage is in the second sentence when we are told that no matter the trial we find ourselves in, God, “will also provide a way out.” This does not necessarily mean that he takes the suffering away, but that he gives us the inner strength, yes, even the physical strength, to endure, and the wisdom to find meaning in our suffering. Maybe it is in the form of the grace-filled gift of courage that allows us to join our suffering to his on the cross for the good of others. Here we might remember the words the Spirit gave to Peter, “And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast” (1 Peter 5:10). And Paul’s comment: I have the strength for everything through him who empowers me” (Phil. 4:13).

Death is our reality too. But, because of Jesus, we know that what we experience as death now, is not final. Though death, in our finite human experience, remains our greatest source of suffering, through the gift of faith we need no longer fear it because Jesus has conquered sin and death, once and for all, through his Death and Resurrection. Yes, our trials are real and very difficult; of this there is no doubt. But with faith in God, in each of our trials he offers us a way out so that [we] may be able to bear [them]. And that “way out” will be unique to each of us and to our situation. We need only to give ourselves over to God’s strength, and not depend on our own.

Let this be our prayer then in times of trial:
“I sing as I rise today!/ I call on my Creator’s might:/ The will of God to be my guide,/ the eye of God to be my sight,/ The word of God to be my speech,/ The hand of God to be my stay,/ The shield of God to be my strength,/ The path of God to be my way.” We pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen!

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Dan Doyle is a husband, father, grandfather, Vietnam veteran, and retired professor of Humanities at Seattle University. He taught 13 years at the high school level and 22 years at the university level. He spends his time now babysitting his granddaughter. He is a poet and a blogger as well. Dan holds an AA degree in English Literature, a BA in Comparative Literature, and an MA in Theology, and writes regularly for The Veterans Site Blog.