Monday, September 20, 2010

way of escape

Here's a pleasant thought for a Monday morning... (hee hee)

You know how we always hear the encouraging words "God won't give you more than you can handle..."? Did you know they are about as much a quote from the Bible as "cleanliness is next to godliness" and the good 'ol "God helps those who help themselves". (In case you are missing the drift, none of those adages are actually found in the pages of scripture.)

Now, not to be a downer, certainly God does give us plenty of other promises that should secure our peace of mind, like promising that he will never leave us or forsake us (Heb. 13:5...which, by the way in the very same verse we are exhorted to stay free from the love of money and just be content in the fact that God will not leave us). He also promises that nothing can separate us from his love and that if he is for us, who can be against us? (Both in Romans chapter 8). However, throughout the New Testament we are also reminded not to love our lives here, and that even the prospect of death itself, for the follower of Jesus, is actually a gain! And of course, we are encouraged to turn over our burdens to God, because he cares for us. But that doesn't mean that we won't experience problems, trials, even persecution that could lead to death. We are told to expect that!! That surely seems like 'more than we can bear' to me! The good news is that we don't walk through these things alone, but that he gives us the strength, peace and assurance we need to keep pressing on through the trials.

So, what DOES the Bible say that has led us to believe that we won't experience more than what we can 'handle'? Well, here's the thing... It says in 1 Corinthians 10:13 that God won't allow us to be TEMPTED beyond what we can bear, but that rather he will always provide a way out so that we can "stand up under it" (meaning, he will provide the grace, strength and escape route so that we do not have to give in to sin!). However, it's still up to us to take him up on the provision. Sadly, quite often, we don't.

In my own life, I have been thinking of how often the problems I deal with are a result of poor choices, and giving in to my fleshly sin nature instead of taking that escape route. I can tell you, after almost 18 years of marriage, I am still trying to change or undo many sinful attitudes that I let reign in me for many years, that have caused tension in our family life, all because I didn't look for, or take, the way of escape. (Not keeping my tongue bridled or my anger or selfishness in check would certainly be prime examples!) So many of my frustrations are really quite often due to my own sin. But I am thankful that even now, as I try to make better choices and learn to correct wrongful attitudes and thought patterns, when I am tempted to take the 'low road', the grace and escape is still made available to me.

So, when I'm in the midst of a situation of my own doing, rather than whine about why God's letting me experience pain, or hardship, or challenges, I am trying to retrain my brain to look for God in the situation, and look for the way to stand up in the circumstances without giving in to sin.

Funny, it totally makes me think of the part in 'Finding Nemo' where they are trying to get away from the sharks and Dory is trying to read the sign 'escape' hatch, but not recognizing it because she is pronouncing it 'escapay'....yeah, sometimes I'm a little like Dory...need to be a little quicker to recognize the escape!! :)

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