I often enjoy the posts on the satirical website BabylonBee.com. Many times the BabylonBee satire relates to Christian faith, and that is true of the one posted on October 8, 2022. It tells the fictional story of two friends named Brad and Vince. Brad was suffering after losing his job and being diagnosed with lupus. Vince tried to “comfort” him by saying, “God will never give you more than you can handle in life.” Brad was suspicious that “Vince isn’t real accurate with these Bible quotes.” I agree with Brad that we can misuse the Bible when trying to comfort someone.
Vince was apparently using I Corinthians 10:13: “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.” (ESV) First, let me point out that the verse does not say that God gives you these trials and temptations. James 1:13 tells us, “Let no one say when he is tempted, ‘I am being tempted by God,’ for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one.” In other words, God does not “give” us “more than we can handle in life.”
With that clarified, we can agree that the tempter, Satan, certainly tries to give us more trials and temptations than we can stand. In the BabylonBee satire, Brad decided to check the Bible for himself. His reaction was, “Wow. Like half the characters in here just lay down and beg to die at some point…Moses, Elijah, Jonah, Jeremiah, Job – all tell God they wish they could just cash it in. Then you have the Psalms of David – the man apparently lived half his life in total despair.”
As Brad realized, even though God doesn’t give us the bad things in life, He doesn’t always protect us from them. God gives us the good things. James 1:17 says, “Every good give and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights…” The problem comes when we blame God for the bad things and then try to face them on our own. Again, James 1:12 says, “Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall.”
I like the way the BabylonBee satire ends. “Brad was sharing with Vince the good news that sometimes, the place where you are completely crushed and defeated is the easiest place to hear God speak.” That’s it! God doesn’t cause bad things to happen, but if we allow it, those things can bring us closer to Him as we realize we can’t handle them by ourselves.
— Roland Earnst © 2023