"A WAY OF ESCAPE"
"There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it"-I Corinthians 10:13
If you have lived very long, you have faced some temptations in your life. Trials and tests they are, strewn along the pathway of life. Though there are more kinds of temptations and tests than man can number, they come in two basic categories.
One test comes from the desk of God. We read, "God did tempt Abraham"-Genesis 22:1. Abraham's faithfulness was tested in a request that we might think to be unreasonable: "Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest… and offer him there for a burnt offering". God saw the end, he would stay Abraham's hand. Yet, He tried or tested Abraham to see if he would do it. Dear Christian, many of our trials are the same. The request seems to be greater than we can bear yet the end is blessed. The purpose for such trials is obvious. They make us grow as our faith becomes stronger; they prove to our own selves what we are and that our love for the Lord is genuine; and they bear fruit unto our heavenly Father.
The other kind of temptation comes not from God though He can restrain the degree of it. They come from the devil, referred to in scripture as "The tempter". His method is different as well as his purpose. He tempts with evil, with sin and his purpose is to destroy lives, families, homes, churches and to divide God's people in general. God does not tempt His own people with evil(James 1:13). You can be sure that the devil was present when David cast his eyes on Bathsheba and when Eve ate of the forbidden fruit. Do you see the difference? Not only has the fool said in his heart, "There is no God". He has also said, "There is no devil." Temptation is his "worm on the hook". The frying pan is hot and he can't wait for the fish to bite.
Yet, in the midst of these temptations we find great promises. One is this: no matter what we face, it is "Common to man". Though we might sing "Nobody knows the trouble I've seen, Nobody knows my sorrow"……they have! Somewhere, at some other time, another weary worn pilgrim has faced the exact trial, test, temptation you are facing today. Surely, this must be a comfort. And it tells us something of the devil. He can not come up with any thing new. He is using the same techniques: anger, jealousy, hatred, pride, lust, fear, sloth, bitterness, wrath, idolatry, adultery, fornication, drunkenness and murder(Galatians 5:19-21) to divide and destroy. Now, if one of these come before us, we do not have to be as they say, "a rocket scientist", to figure out who is behind it. We must seek God's strength to avoid it which brings us to the next promise: "God is faithful". Surely He knows about it and He will not suffer his children to be tempted above the strength He gives them. Though the devil is allowed to tempt, he is also on a chain and the Lord can pull him in as He wishes. But let us be careful as we smile at God's greatness. We are reminded that the Lord will make 'A' "way to escape", not many ways. This way must be a way that will cause us to "seek His face" for our way of escape. If we find it, the trial will become sweet as we gain a victory over the tempter and draw closer to the Lord.
Yes, every Christian will look back and say, "I wish I had that to do over again". I remember a few basketball shots I would like to take again. The second putt is always the better and the scope is always adjusted a little after the miss. Yet, we learn even then. We may fail some important trials, yet, the battle is the Lord's. Redemption belongs to Christ.
Lord, help us to face our trials with this knowledge and when we come to the end of life's journey let us sweetly sing, "My latest sun is sinking fast, My race is nearly run, my strongest trials now are past, my triumph is begun"-Angel Band.