Paul tells us: “God is faithful, and he will not let you be tested beyond your strength but with your testing he will also provide the way out so that you may be able to endure it” (1 Corinthians 10:13). Over time that promise has become abbreviated to “God will never give you more than you can handle.” Like many others, I’ve derived comfort from these words, though I know God does not “give” me loss, pain and grief.

Like most bumper-sticker theology, this promise appeals to my concerns about myself and my well-being. If I take Paul’s words and God’s faithfulness seriously, I must also look beyond my self-centeredness to the pain and severe testing others endure. What of the hungry, the abused, the victims of racism? What of the people of the world who have known no other life than a daily existence of war and terror? Could it be that God could use me to provide a “way out” for the hopeless? Could I help others handle life?

A better bumper sticker might be: “God is faithful.”

Terry L. Bowes
Bowes is a member of First Lutheran Church, Longmont, Colo.

Read more about: