A few of my regular readers have thanked me for being so “real” on this blog. I guess I don’t view it was being “real” but just as being a sinner who lives in a fallen world who shares her life with others like me. Life happens and sometimes in ways that hurt, disorient or tempt us. Your thanks to me shows you find comfort in the truth that, “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it” (1 Cor 10:13.). Our struggles are common, and knowing that others deal with similar difficulties can bring comfort and hope. I hope that happens for some of you again today.
I love the first half of that verse. But, honestly, the “that you may be able to endure it” is disturbing to me sometimes. I want it to end with “that you may be able to escape it.”
I was recently interacting with a friend that is going through tough times with some close family members. Like me, she would like to escape the situation because enduring it is uncertain. Will these loved ones make right decisions? Will they reach to God for help? What could be the longterm outcome of unwise or sinful choices? How long might she have to wait and pray and trust God with these weighty situations that are understandably testing her faith, keeping her awake at night, and producing heart wrenching temptations to fear and anxiety?
I sent the following words to her this weekend that encouraged her soul and mine. The comfort wasn’t in my words, but in the gospel truths that lie in them. These are truths I’ve been taught for years by dead authors, wise preachers and caring friends. If you are going through some tough times with someone you love, I hope they will feed your soul today, too.
The story ISN’T over!! It wasn’t over when you and I were young adults. It wasn’t over when we sinned and did things that could have had incredibly damaging and longterm consequences in our lives. It wasn’t over for my mom, who become an alcoholic in her 30’s and nearly destroyed her life, but who lived her last 25 years free from her addiction and fully devoted to God. It’s never over when God is involved. Grace really ISN’T resistible for long. Our loved ones cannot run out of the reach of grace. The gospel and it’s clutching power is not dependent on their (or our) desire or ability to hang on. Because Jesus died and rose again, there is no hole they can dig or cave they can run into that allows them to remain hardened to the love and pursuit of a God whose strength and power is utterly unmatched by any person or idol or lust or sin. But, oh the pain that waiting means!
The truth is this: God will get us through, my friend. He will be faithful. He has proven Himself good and strong. We will look back in years to come, whatever happens with those we love and whatever choices they make (good or bad) and however long it all takes and we WILL say “It is well with my soul.” Whether we have to go through many more dangers, toils and snares the grace that has brought us safe thus far WILL lead us home. It will. And on That Day we will see the wisdom, goodness and love of God in it all. Until then, we will struggle and hurt and cry. But this will end. Whether on this earth or in heaven (and we never know when we’ll get there — tomorrow or 30 years from now) it will all be over.
He is faithful. He just doesn’t usually work on our time table.
So, Lord, help us to trust You, especially with delays that test our faith. You really are in control. And You really are good. Always.