[hallucinations 4:32]

[hallucinations 4:32]

God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.

1 Corinthians 10:13, NLT

I am in the middle of reading Plan B and today I came across Pete Wilson’s thoughts regarding the “God will never give you more than you can handle.”

The problem is, nothing could be further from the truth.

Where in the world did we get such a whacked theology? Where’s that verse in the Bible? Hallucinations 4:32 maybe?

P.102, Plan B, Pete Wilson

To be honest, Pete’s comment threw me off a bit. Yes, I have heard that quote a lot of times (it seems to be one of those “correct answers” right next to “everything works for the good of those who believe in Him”). I have reminded myself of that idea. However, I don’t think I have ever told that to anyone because… because it just didn’t seem appropriate. I am more of a listener than a talker (I write instead of talking).

After thinking about it for a few hours I came to conclusion that I don’t agree with Pete (or perhaps I misunderstood his point), but also I do not agree with the standard interpretation of the verse from Corinthians. Or, I guess I can say that I agree with both Pete’s comment and Bible verse partially.

1. Pete is right in saying that God sometimes allows things in our lives that we cannot handle.

However, the operative word in this sentence above is WE (or YOU or I). There are situations in life when we think that we are failing miserably, when we don’t even see plan Z in view… call it a moment of weary blindness, when you don’t have any strength to go on and you don’t see the way.

The mistake we often do is to assume that the operative words are “will never give” – i.e. our lives are gonna be white and fluffy. Now THAT’s a promise right from Hallucinations 4:32.

2. But, the Bible (namely, 1 Cor. 10:13) says that God will provide “an outlet,” a guide who would take our weary hand in his, and lead us through the darkness. The darkness will still be there. The pain will still be there. Nonetheless, if we decide to get out, He would help.

That’s why I think Paul was able to write one of my all time favorite passages from 2 Corinthians 12:9-10, MSG:

[God] told me,ย My grace is enough; it’s all you need. My strength comes into its own in your weakness.ย Once I heard that, I was glad to let it happen. I quit focusing on the handicap and began appreciating the gift. It was a case of Christ’s strength moving in on my weakness. Now I take limitations in stride, and with good cheer, these limitations that cut me down to sizeโ€”abuse, accidents, opposition, bad breaks. I just let Christ take over! And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become.

There were tough times in my life, but I haven’t experienced even a tiny portion of the hurt a lot of people in this world are suffering. Because of that, I cannot say 100% that when my Plan A (whatever it is) falls apart, I will not fall apart together with it. But I am determined to see the cup half-full rather than half-empty.

And that is not because I am oh-so-holy-and-sanctified-optimist. I am an optimist most of the time, but there’s more to it. My God is the one who knows the path in the darkness and He will guide me out. (I did not mean for the last phrase to sound so cliche…)

What do you think? Do you agree with Pete?

  • I am curious why he has taken that stance. The verse is pretty plain. Did he quote the verse or does he not realize that it is actually in the Bible?
    My recent post superpowers.for.an.hour

    • Herb, i guess what Pete was aiming at was (like Bill mentions below) that we overuse and "under" understand that verse in the Bible.

      he [Pete] didn't quote the verse.

  • In fairness to Pete he does comment later and clarify what he does mean. On that same page he says, '"That (referring to jeff & Vicki) doesn't sound like something the average person can handle, even with God's presence….throughout life you will face one situation after another that will be completely beyond what you can handle." He then gives the illustration of Paul (using "your" Scripture). Then he says this: Situations forced them to make a choice-either abandon God or worship Him in the midst of Plan B. I understand what Pete is saying but also feel like the passage in I Cor.10 is overused and "under" understood. He will give us an escape route for temptation but when we are going through a trial that escape route is sometimes elusive. They are two separate items and not always is there an escape route for a trial. Like Job we have to go through it. Like Daniel we have to be put into the lion's den. Like S,M,A we have to go through the fire. By themselves they could not handle it but they had a choice of abandoning or worshiping. They chose the latter. I would like to think I would also. What I have said may not change a thing Zee but I do appreciate the fact that you are not blindly accepting what pete or anyone else will say.

    Now…on the case of misunderstanding: am I misunderstanding herbhalstead (the previous commenter or is he questioning Pete's knowledge of the Bible? Just asking. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Sorry to have gone on and to be a "pain" in you-know-where. ๐Ÿ˜‰
    My recent post Let Me Introduce You!

    • ah, you're far from being a pain, Bill. you basically paraphrased what i meant ๐Ÿ™‚ (guess i didn't write clearly… i wanted to write it yesterday, but i stayed a bit later than usual and half of my brain obviously decided to throw in the towel and call it a night) ๐Ÿ˜€

      yes, i did read Pete's comment about that later and i do agree with him… partially. i do not agree with his statement "That (referring to jeff & Vicki) doesn't sound like something the average person can handle, even with God's presence" – if we wouldn't be able to handle the situation with God there, then… well, the outlook is quite dramatic. there would be a lot more suicides that way – since people just won't be able to handle that.

      or maybe we should define what we mean when we say "handle the situation" – i admit that my knowledge of English isn't the ideal one and some bits of my mind still think in Russian (even though English stealthily takes over)….

      I do agree with Pete that we are given a choice. I just think of the choice as being "trust God to handle the situation" or "give up." Like i said above, the operative word in the phrase "We cannot handle the situation" is "WE" – 'cuz God can.

    • Bill, I am not real familiar with Pete, nor have I read that book, nor did I know what it was about. I wasn't really questioning his knowledge of the bible in a challenging sort of way, just posing an honest question because I've seen/heard some famous (and not so famous) people make Bible gaffs. I still find stuff I did not know was in there ๐Ÿ™‚ but not something so commonly referenced. Finding the context of his statements in the other user comments answered the question for me.

      My recent post superpowers.for.an.hour

  • Great discussion guys. Bill obviously added a little context the the quote. The point is the 1 Cor 10:13 is a verse referring to the temptations of life. We've taken that verse and used it to encourage Christians in crisis to pull themselves up by their own bootstraps. We've turned it in to a self help verse in many cases.

    The Bible is full of one example after another where God puts people in situations that are TOTALLY beyond what they can handle. It doesn't take long at all to figure out that strategically God is putting us in a place where we have to completely and utterly put our lives in His hands.

    Life will often feel like it's spinning out of control when the reality is that life was never in our control and we need to lean into the only one who has ever had control in the first place.

    The section of the book you quote above was written for this very reason. To get people to stop and think about what Scripture is really saying and not continue to rely on cliche phrases that often carry very little meaning.

    Love the post and the discussion that is following!
    My recent post Where Is God When Things Fall Apart?

    • thanks for coming by, Pete!

      yes, self-help is no help at all in most cases (i would even dare to say in "all" cases – albeit the fact that we turn to it WAY too often)…

      and yes, sometimes it takes effort to "forget" everything you knew / was told about a passage in Bible (especially the ones used often) and to see what the writer (and the Writer) TRULY wanted to say with it. that's one of the reasons i read Bible in English (instead of my native Russian / Ukrainian) – it helps me to refocus and by comparing the translations see what the passage truly means. it gets tough though afterward to share what i've learned with Russian-speaking folks because the "Christian" words in Russian seems really cliche (since they are almost all old Russian…)

  • Well, context is always good isn't it?

    I did not realize Pete was talking about trials. I haven't read the book. Sorry, Pete.

    As the verse states, there is no ***temptation*** we cannot bear and find a way to escape. I've never used that verse in any other context, so I suppose I am a bit surprised to hear people use it referring to trials.

    About trials, the peace of God defies understanding. I know some people deal with trials differently, but I really do not believe that the peace of God is elusive even in those situations. When I am facing tough times Jesus, Job, and I take a walk together.
    My recent post superpowers.for.an.hour

    • sorry, Herb, my fault. most of the "feedbackers" on my blog have read this book, that's why i didn't really think to explain it in details…

  • no worries ๐Ÿ™‚
    My recent post superpowers.for.an.hour

  • FeedBackers. Ha. That's a funny name. I think I'm more of a BackFeeder. Or maybe a BottomFeeder.

    ๐Ÿ™‚

    I basically agree with Pete 99.9%. The only caveat is that I DO believe that God puts WAY more on us than we can bear alone, but not more than He can help us endure. The use of the word "alone" is crucial.

    My wife didn't really agree with that line either, even though she doesn't mention that in her review… http://karmashuford.blogspot.com/2010/05/plan-b.h

    • *shrug* i love inventing words in English ๐Ÿ˜€ (one of the best features of the language!)

      right. we cannot get through the tough painful situations on our own.

      Thanks for stopping by, Bernard. and i don't think you're a BottomFeeder ๐Ÿ˜€

      off to Karma's blog to read her review…. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • A thought: If God gives a way out, why do so many Christians commit suicide? And if God is in control, why does he not prevent it? I don't get God anymore.
    My recent post Take that.

    • If God gives a way out, why do so many Christians commit suicide? – because they don't like the way out? i honestly don't know. the reasons why i felt that it's a pity suicide isn't a good thing to do was because i was tired of figuring PEOPLE out and i just wanted to go Home. God? i don't think i ever got Him…

      and re: second question and God's control… as much as i hate it sometimes, we all still are given freedom to choose which way to go. and i suspect that you're reading this right now and thinking "just a naive kid, wait until you see LIFE." maybe i am naive…. but…. as much as it sucks sometimes to have to choose, we got to choose.

      not sure if that answered your question or it was a rhetoric one.

  • MB77, i think the first question is playing into the misuse of the verse Pete addresses. God does not guarantee a way out of problems, he guarantees a way out of temptation.

    But, as Bernard says, we can endure anything with God's help and presence. It is not a promise of easy, but a promise of perseverance. The problem is that we are always trying to get through things on our own power. God's peace is incredible and defies the ability to quantify – if we would only rely on it more.

    The second question is different, and speaks of what I believe is a "heresy" of the reformation. God sovereignty only makes true sense when it is understood in congruence with free will. Yes, he has the power to do anything – but He gives us the ability and the dignity of making our own choices. He has great expectation and plans for us, predestining humanity and creation to great things – but our choices can thwart His desires for us – individually. His grand plan will come to fruition with or without our involvement. But, that does not mean we can't wreck our lives with our choices.

    Suicide, I think is giving up – a willful choice for the easier "now".

    My recent post the.middle.way

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