It had been a good, productive day, but it had also been a long day, one that was precipitated by an almost sleepless night. I was exhausted, a familiar ache had developed between my shoulder blades, and my lower back was hurting. To say that I was looking forward to sitting down for awhile was an understatement!
There were still several items on my to-do list, however, and as I began to dogmatically make my way through them, I noticed that the dishes weren’t being done to my standards. Help me to simply be happy they are being done at all, I prayed, and I successfully bit back the angry words. Then the stack of dishes that should have been put in the dishwasher began to crumble and slide–right towards the project I was struggling to finish. Help me, God! I prayed again, and the words that were already rushing out of my mouth lost their angry sting. Without complaint, my husband put the dishes in the dishwasher. Then, when the dishes were done, he left the kitchen.
As I stretched my aching back and turned to begin another task from my list, I noticed that he had forgotten to clean off the table. In fact, I noticed several things he had forgotten to do. The familiar sense of overwhelmingly-frustrated anger began bubbling up in my gut as my back screamed out in pain, and I no longer had the power to stop the rush of angry words. Just then my son appeared: “Let me do that, mom!” And he immediately lit into the various problems with the uncompleted dish-doing job.
As I later contemplated all of this, I was reminded of a promise:
“No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. 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 endure it.” (1Cor 10:13, NIV2)
Wow! That’s what God had done. Just when my anger was about to show its ferocious teeth, God made a way of escape: He sent my son!
God is faithful. He keeps all His promises, and when He promises that we will never be tempted beyond what we can bear, He means it. That’s His part of the deal.
So why is it that we so often fall into temptation?
When my son came down to help me, I had a choice to make. Either forgive the “dish-doer” for not completing his job, or I continue to be angry at him. Either way, God had done His part, He had sent me a way of escape. When we look back over the numerous times we have fallen into temptation, we realize that God has always provided that way of escape; it has simply been that we’ve chosen to ignore it.
We have all experienced times, however, when there is no apparent way of escape. What then? Is God breaking His promise?
Not at all. It is during those times, friends, that the level of temptation is simply not more than we can bear. All we need to do is reach out and allow God to give us the strength to stand firm. In those cases, God’s strength is our way of escape!
So how can we ensure we take God’s help? How can we ensure that we see the ways of escape that He provides?
The answer is simple: “Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed–that exhilarating finish in and with God…” (Heb 12:2, MSG)
Friends, I challenge you this day, in the face of temptation, to take keep your eyes on Jesus. He will provide you with the strength to get through your temptation, but when it becomes more than you can bear, He will provide a way of escape. It is simply our choice whether or not we take it.
Interestingly, the moment I decided to forgive, my back stopped hurting…
Lyn Chaffart , Mother of two teens, Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, and Scriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, Scriptural Nuggets , with Answers2Prayer Ministries.