It is so easy to trust in the Lord when times are good. It’s the hard times that test our resolve to trust in God’s loving generosity and care for us. It is in these times that our faith is tested. Indeed, these are our “Job moments.” Every one of Job’s trials would have been seemingly impossible to bear, that is, in human terms. His faith was tested to the breaking point, yet he endured and because of this, he was rewarded many times over.
In worldly terms, we often think of the trials that come our way as unjust, or unfair. Some of these trials come to us as a result of our failings. Those trials may very well be unfair, or unjust, but when they come they are real and we have to deal with them, or not. It is certainly painful to deal with such realities, but if we try to avoid dealing with them, the resulting pains are usually worse than we imagined. It really is a matter of taking life as it comes head-on. But as Paul tells us we do not have to do this alone.
We are challenged here, or amid our trials, to reflect on what Paul came to understand through his own experiences, through the Inspiration of the Holy Spirit, especially in the hard times. “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).
The first sentence is important to understand. It needs to be understood in a theological sense and in an experiential sense. Suffering and trials entered the human condition with Original Sin. The Fall of Adam and Eve reveals a truth; humanity fell away from being in relationship with God. As a result, sufferings and trials entered the human experience, and continue to do so to this day. But the second sentence reveals another truth that we are always challenged by, that is, that “God is faithful”. Even though we turn away from him, he is always there for us when we turn back to him. His love and his care for us is undiminished. He “will not let us be tried beyond our strength”.
But it is more than that, too. His concern for each one of us is intensely personal. He knows our strengths better than we do ourselves, and he promises to be with us in our trials, providing “a way out, so that we may be able to bear [our trials]”. In his Son, he knows the terrible weight of our human trials, and he has infinite compassion for us when we are in them. This really is a matter of faith, isn’t it. Here is the dynamic to be contemplated; God’s willingness and power to “show us a way out” of our trials works best in and through our faithful “yes” to his offer of unconditional love and support in our trials. When trials come, if we turn to the One alone who can give us the strength we need to fight the good fight and to endure to the end, his graces will be there for us generously. Like Job, we too will be rewarded for our faith.