Thursday, November 8, 2012

Promises, Promises

When College Kid was younger, he's 22 now, I quickly learned that, with him, a "yes" was synonymous with "promise to." A "no" was synonymous with "promise not to." And "maybe" and "we'll see" were synonymous with "I promise on my life." His older sister had a much better command of the English language and understood "maybe" and "we'll see" were just that: gray areas where we would if we could and wouldn't if we couldn't.

College Kid is also the one that I still have to watch what I say and listen carefully when he "quotes" me because he rarely quotes me correctly. He "quotes" what he wants to hear. But I do love the Kid. Both of them; the one who fudges and the one who doesn't.

While God loves both the fudger and the non-fudger when it comes to His children, it's really not a good idea to make up God's Word as we go along. And it's really not a good idea to ascribe to God promises He didn't make. There's one promise, in particular, that I'm seeing over-and-over misquoted and because it's misquoted, there are people whose faith is hurting.

The promise that's circulating: God never gives us more than we can handle.

Please find that in the Bible. Anywhere. Any translation. It is not in there. God never, ever promises not to give us more than we can handle. Oh, He promises to be there in it with us and to walk with us through it, but He never promises not to give to us more than we can handle.

Here's the promise, as it really is, and it's 1 Corinthians 10: 12-13 " If you think you are standing strong, be careful not to fall. The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And 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."

That's the promise. God will not allow us to be tempted more than we can handle. And He will provide a way of escape, but we have to take the escape and get out of the situation. 

See the difference between the real promise and the promise as some people want to claim it is? There are lives that see tsunami on top of tornado after drought and famine. One thing after another; some, maybe many, cannot handle it. There are people who snap, they break. Prayerfully they find God during it or shortly afterwards. Even people with strong faith can break for a while before God puts them back together. God definitely uses stormy lives and seasons. The promise regarding "storms" is that we'll all have them. Experience bears this out. History testifies to it. So does reason. 

While I'm sure there are other promises we can get wrong, and others we may interpret not as God intended, the promise mentioned above isn't one we's one we can get flat out wrong.

When troubles pour on top of each other there are often, from what I've seen, two reactions based on this "promise". One is along the lines of "God must think I'm strong to give me all this." And, two, "They say 'God never gives us more than we can handle' and I've had enough. God, will You stop it now, please?"

Though the first reaction tends to give a semblance of hope, the other reaction can bring on despair. Neither reaction is based on a real promise.

The real promise, as it is, is awesome though!  And I'm grateful for it!

And I'll be even more grateful when we get this right and check Scripture out for ourselves instead of accepting what other people say. Seriously. If you don't own a Bible, use the link above to several translations. Get to know the Word on your own.

And be grateful!