“God is faithful and will not let you be tested beyond your strength” (1 Cor. 10:13). This is an idea we have been taught throughout our faith lives. But do we understand it in the way it is intended?

It is a truth worthy of us to grasp and believe, for God is merciful and faithful to us, his beloved children. He is our Father and his love is incomparable to anything of human origin. Jesus Christ is our proof of this statement. Though we were sinners, he loved us more than we could have hoped for, or deserved. His love was so complete that he gave up everything in order to free us from the chains of sin and death, forever. We can be assured that God knows us better than our parents, our spouses, indeed, even our selves. He knows our strengths and our weaknesses. He will not test us beyond our strength. We can be assured that he will be with us in our times of trial and tribulation. He will never abandon us.

Now, we have all had times when we thought we could bear no more pain, frustration, or stress, when we felt ourselves on the edge of failure, or loss, maybe even on the verge of losing our faith. But, if in those circumstances, we turned humbly to God for help were we not surprised when, he “provided a way out, so that we [were] able to bear it” (verse 13). We may have been on the verge of panic, but something happened, a sudden, unexpected clarity of insight, or the surprising aid of another person, or a turning point of some kind occurred, and we found ourselves on the other side of the trouble, suddenly able to breathe, to recover. And did we not feel our hearts swell with joy when that happened? Were not our hearts then moved to give great praise and thanksgiving to God for his faithfulness toward us?

But Paul gives us this message after warning us against overconfidence as well. Prior to this verse he has given several examples from the Old Testament of Israel’s overconfidence, its complacency concerning God’s love and his justice. They took God for granted and became overindulgent in the things of the flesh. In doing so they tested God’s love and his patience. They became arrogant and, as a result, they suffered death. “Therefore, whoever thinks he is standing secure should take care not to fall” (verse 12). He is speaking of the balance that we must find in faith. Yes, God will be faithful and never test us beyond our strength, if we remain humble, and obedient to his law of love. We must not take his love for granted. Rather, we must return that love humbly recognizing the truth that we are nothing, we have no strength, there is no salvation, without God. He is our strength at all times, good and bad.

Lord, you are the source of all that is good in and for us. You are the foundation and the strength of our life and our happiness. In those times when struggle, temptation, and injustice come to us, help us to always turn to you in our need with humble faith. It is in you alone that we find the strength to endure all things in faith, hope, and love. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen!

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