Here is #6 of 31 Questions in 31 Days! To learn more about this 31 Day series, just search "31 Questions" in the search bar above or click here!
Q: I know it says God doesn't allow more to happen than we can handle. I know that we go through "seasons of life"! I am so tired and weary of fighting the good fight. How can I stay positive and strong? No light at the end of the tunnel. Just darkness.
A: Wow! There's so much in this question that is legitimate struggle! A number of assumptions are here that may set one up for heartache and disappointment and ultimately turning away from God. Let me try to dig into this multi-layered question.
The scripture the questioner refers to is found in 1 Corinthians 10:13, "The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure" (NLT).
If you read this passage carefully and read it across several translations, you'll see this does not refer directly to trials, but to temptations. It could apply to trials, as some trials are temptations to despair, like our questioner says here. Since the context is a warning from Paul to the Corinthians against falling into idolatry, I take his encouraging promise here to be about the nature of the temptation to sin--I need never imagine that I have no choice but to sin.
However, to expect that trials in your life will never be more than you can handle, you might be expecting something from God or from life that is neither true nor realistic. Sometimes we encounter trials that go way beyond our ability to endure. At times like that, I use a few different strategies to cope and get strong.
- The Word of God and Prayer. To stay strong under the weight of the things we face in life that seem more than we can take--we require the nourishment found in prayer and in God's Word. Just last week, I found myself feeling beaten by a number of things. Reading the Bible and calling out to God in prayer helped me regain the perspective I was losing.
- Accountable relationships. When I'm feeling overwhelmed, I need to reach out to some of closest friends for encouragement. So often, we let our troubles bury us and imagine that it would be more painful to tell someone about our troubles. Great help is found in brothers and sisters in Christ who will share their experiences and help us bear the burdens that are too much for us to handle alone.
- Limit your thought-life. One of the best things we can do when we're drowning in despair or depression or hurt or grief is to build some fences around the pain. Tell yourself and discipline yourself that you will only think about or talk about it between 6:00 and 6:30 in the evening. Outside of those 30 minutes, you're going to push off the tendency to talk and dwell on it.
- Gratitude. One of the quickest paths to joy in life is to express thanks to God for the countless blessings he has given you. One of the best books I've read in the last few years on the power of thanksgiving is Ann Voskamp's One Thousand Gifts.
- Reach out and help someone else. One of the surest cures for moving beyond the pain of life is to find a way to help someone else. As much trouble as you may face in life, someone else could use your help in the midst of their needs or crisis.
I am truly sympathetic with the despair expressed by our questioner in this question. Life is sometimes very difficult, but it seems in the way the question is written that perhaps there is a dissatisfaction with the answer that the writer has been given in the past. The seasons of life, God not giving more than we can bear, no light at the end of the tunnel.
Labels: 31 Days, discipleship, gratitude, optimism, Q Sunday, Question and Answer, temptations, trials, wisdom