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. – 1 Corinthians 10:13
How many times have I heard this…”God doesn’t give you more than you can handle.” I call bullshit. I even repeated that axiom over and over. I said it to other people. I prayed it. I thanked Him for not giving me more than I could handle, all the while not being able to handle all I experienced. Burying the pain and heartache and loneliness as deep as I could drive it. I couldn’t handle it. Well, I couldn’t handle it in a healthy and honest way.
I can point to so many instances in my life that were more than I could handle. The death of my best friend. The complete isolation and abandonment of being passed off to my aunt and uncle. The shame of being sexually abused. The unending self loathing that came with hiding my violations of our marriage vows. The impact on my wife of my disclosing my lifetime of manipulation and lying. I couldn’t handle or bear any of those. Not in any way that was honoring to God or myself or my marriage or my family.
I didn’t trust God. If he truly wasn’t going to give me more than I could handle, then why did He give me more than I could handle? What happened to that loving caring Savior that was supposed to take those things away from me? Why did I continually experience overwhelming hardships under which I would crumble over and over? I didn’t get it. I didn’t understand why…I claimed to be a Christian. Wasn’t He supposed to provide us special protection? The sin and shame and self loathing was supposed to be for those who didn’t believe.
After I entered into what I call recovery, I started working through a 12 step program through a men’s support and recovery group called Castimonia. I got a sponsor, someone I knew. I disclosed my sexual sin to my wife and somehow was still married. I wrote and read what’s called a first step to my recovery group. This was my entire history of isolation, shame, sexual sin, lying and manipulation. And yet, men told me that they could identify with my story. They had similar experiences and were thankful of the reminders and were there for support. I was thankful for the support, but I can honestly say I didn’t see God in my recovery. I saw the support of other people, I saw the community and relationships with other men through my recovery group. I just didn’t understand why God had allowed all this to continue. He was supposed to not let me experience more than I could bear.
I read step three, “We turned our life and will over to the care of God as we understood God.” And that’s when my real recovery began. That realization. I had not turned my will over to Him. Ever. I had given Him my salvation as I understood it. I figured I had the rest. I didn’t trust God. Not with anything more than after this life. This life was mine. And what I had always thought was true. I couldn’t bear all this myself. See, I missed that last part of 1 Corinthians. He will provide a way out of temptation. For me, I had to first trust that. Trust that He would provide a way. And depend on Him. How many times had I missed that way out?