“So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted,he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.” 1 Corinthians 10:12-13
This morning, I came across these verses about God’s faithfulness in the midst of temptation. I still remember the first time I read them. I was sitting on my back porch, drinking my coffee, and watching my dogs sniff around the yard. As I read, a wave of hope came over me. It was as if the Apostle Paul’s words were speaking directly to me. At that time in my life, I was at the very beginning of the long road toward recovery from addiction.
I remember several different emotions hitting me at once when I read those words in 1 Corinthians.
First, I knew I wasn’t alone in my struggle. “No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind.” My struggle was not unique.
Second, I felt peace. “And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. ” My struggle with addiction was not where the story needed to end. These verses reassured me that God was true to His word. Every single temptation I would face, would have to go through God first. Every trial would either be a time of testing and refining of my faith or a temptation that God chooses to allow me to go through. Everything that would come my way would have to go through Him first. But the promise that brought me peace that day? No temptation would ever be more than I could bear…with His help.
Third, I felt hope. “But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can endure it” This was the part of the verse that hit me the hardest that morning. God was reassuring me that my situation was not hopeless. I was not on a dead-end street. It was not too late. I was not trapped.
I’ve shared this story before but it’s worth sharing again. That morning, after reading those verses, I took out my journal and sketched a picture of a house. The house didn’t have any doors or any windows and I was trapped inside. At that moment, the Truth sunk in and I knew what those verses were promising me: Even though sometimes there doesn’t appear to be any way out, there always is: God always provides a way out. I just needed to commit to taking a closer look. And when I did, I discovered this tiny little hole in the wall. In my journal, I named it “The mouse-hole to safety.”
That morning, God taught me a few lessons about temptation that I never want to forget.
I am not alone in my struggle.
My struggle is not unique.
God is bigger and stronger (and ultimately in control) over anything I will face.
I will never be put in a situation where there is no way out. Never.
Today, if you are struggling with a temptation, if you think there is no way out…look again. And keep looking until you find it. Remember those “you can take this to the bank” promises that I spoke about earlier this month? This is one of them. God will always provide a way out. Always.
What we need are the eyes to see it and a heart willing to accept it.