Flights of Faith

Monday, August 18, 2008

Creator of the Universe, Hand Holder of the Godly

1 Corinthians 10:13 13No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. 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 stand up under it.

Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ[a] who strengthens me.

2 Corinthians 12: 9 9But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me.

Psalm 37:23-24
The LORD directs the steps of the godly.
He delights in every detail of their lives.
Though they stumble, they will never fail,
for the LORD holds them by the hand.

I was talking to someone yesterday about how "God doesn't give you more than you can handle." Nothing bad had happened, really. I was more talking about the awesome confidence we can gain from that. When we've got God, we have more than enough. I told him I was badly paraphrasing and that I'd look up the verse when I got home. I did. Google, however, had some other plans for me. Instead of just popping the verse(1 Corinth 10: 13) up, Google found a few sites that were talking about that phrase as a cliche and not necessarily Biblical. Once I read the verse, I realized where they were coming from. The sites mainly stressed the language of temptation rather than trial (though other translations use trial and some footnotes say the Greek for temptation/tempted can also mean testing/tested) and then said, of course, humans can be overburdened and feel like they have been given more than they can handle and that makes this cliche wrong...BUT we have God.

In that moment, I was really glad to have googled the verse. One because it made me search for some other verses that are really helpful, but it made something a bit clearer in the way Christians interact with the Bible and the world. I think the most important part of 1 Corinthians 10:13 is that God is the one who provides a "way out" and that we "stand" in God's strength. Paul repeats Christ's power in Phillipians 4:13. Paul, again, boasts in his weakness knowing that Christ's power covers them. If given to God, confessing weaknesses only makes one stronger because they now become a testimony to God's strength. Lastly, Psalm 37 provides a beautiful image of the Lord directing the godly (might seem very regal at first) by eventually saying the Lord holds us by the hand, a very parental image. When holding Christ's hand we may stumble, but we will never fall. After doing the Biblical research, I look back at the Christian cliche. I think I understand its danger, but I also recognize the truth that might come in the silent phrase that follows it. "God doesn't give you more than you can handle (because you have God)! While I think it's important to adjust how we use this expression, especially since Psalm 37 gives a much clearer picture, it was interesting to see people trying to disown it based on the failures of human instead of the awesomeness of God.

I was drawn a bit into thinking about a child-like faith. I just imagine the confidence of a young person with faith experiencing something sad and saying, "But God is here. Why would this all mighty all loving all knowing God abandon me just because I'm crying and just because I'm sad?" I just envision a child not being completely depleted spiritually before saying, "Oh. And I can use God." I think the strength of the verses I typed out along with the cliche (in its best moments) is that they allow you to have confidence, at all times, that God is supporting you as long as you see Christ as your Solution and the Strength you stand on.

In ways, I recognize the "BUT we have God" as a strange statement. It might be semantic; however, I found power in "We have God so..." to be indicative of a different sort of relationship with God, one that's actualized in good times and bad times. What if we could always remember God was holding our hand? What if instead of feeling like we're laying flat on the ground we recognized that Christ doesn't let us fall that far if we submit to Him and call on His Power? I wonder. Thankfully, we have verses like Psalm 37 to confirm we do not go it alone.

Christ holds our hands.
Guide us.
Show us the way.
Help us walk.
Never let us forget the Hands that we hold.

We pray this in Your name, Jesus Christ.


Blogger Danielle said...

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7:17 AM  

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