“So if you think you are standing, watch out that you do not fall. No testing has overtaken you that is not common to everyone. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tested beyond your strength, but with the testing he will also provide the way out so that you may be able to endure it.” – 1 Corinthians 10:12-13
So writes a man who suffered beatings, imprisonment, stoning, and who finally, the tradition has it, was beheaded in Rome. And to think that I sometimes imagine that I’ve got problems! Thank you, St. Paul. You’re giving us a good reality warning. It’s helpful to hear that the testing that overtakes me – well, there’s really nothing new here, it’s common to everyone. The truth is that, like St. Paul, the person reading this and I are among the beloved of God, yes, sure, but that doesn’t mean we’re living in our childhood happy-ending stories. Paul tells us that God “will not let us be tested beyond our strength.” How is that accomplished? Not by making the problems go away, but by providing us “the way out…so that you may be able to endure it.” “Endure it?” Not fix it? That’s it? That’s our happy outcome?
No, that’s not all there is to it. We’re human, and all the range of sorrows and joys and pains and glories of life are common to us, and to everyone we know. Thank God that, as we people are the way we are, it’s a very good thing that God is the way God is.
Good Lord, bless us with the awareness of your presence with us, through all the vicissitudes of the life with which you have gifted us. Amen.