Temptation and God

Today our Sunday school class topic was Job, the first two chapters. The whole scenario of Satan’s taunting God and God’s response has always been a puzzle to me. It says way more about heavenly and hellish beings than I’ll ever understand.

And then the teacher connected the story to I Corinthians 10:13, where Paul says “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 stand up under it.” He made the point that that scripture has been misinterpreted, such as using it to comfort a parent at the death of a child. He waxed quite eloquently on all the situations where it had been misinterpreted.

So, though I was a visitor and knew no one in the class except Steve, of course I had to speak up. It seems to me that such tragic circumstances are the times we are most likely to, as Job’s wife prompted him, “curse God and die.” These are the times we cannot pray; we cannot hold up under the weight of our grief, and who is there to blame but God? That is the temptation we need help to resist. I’ve noticed that Job did not curse God, but neither did he take his problems without protest. He complained and bitterly so! He questioned why God would do this to him, a righteous man.

And so can we. It’s not as though God doesn’t know we feel that way. He just wants us to talk to him about it. He yearns for us to confide in him, to talk to him until our trust in him is restored. As Mother Teresa said, “I know God won’t give me anything I can’t bear; I just wish he didn’t trust me so much.”

So trust is a mutual arrangement between God and man. That’s where our closeness to God grows and develops so that we can withstand the storms that come our way. It’s OK to complain, to doubt. Just don’t give in to doubt. As the father said to Jesus when he wanted his son healed, “I do believe! Help me overcome my unbelief!”

When tough times come, God will help us to overcome our unbelief. That’s my opinion of the meaning of I Corinthians 10:13.