By Robert Halsey Pine
“No testing has overtaken you that is not common to everyone. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tested beyond your strength, but with the testing he will also provide the way out so that you may be able to endure it.” (1 Corinthians 10:1-13 NRSV).
St. Paul recaps some of the history of the Hebrew ancestors with his brothers and sisters in Corinth. He talks about God’s favor given them in times like crossing the Red Sea with Moses.
Paul also reminds his brothers and sisters of the times when God’s people strayed from Him and engaged in sinful behavior. And although God favored them, their deeds did not go unchallenged by God. Paul says that those things happened to them to serve as an example for us in our age.
God is constantly testing us. Any perceived virtue of man does not go untested. How we react to being tested is another matter, but as Paul has told us through his letter to the Corinthians, “He will not let you be tested beyond your strength.”
Think about the times that you have felt like you were being tested. In such situations, didn’t something develop that was your strength in overcoming? Didn’t that also make you stronger in future life issues?
The comparison is often made between the tempering of steel with heat to bring it to its right strength and God’s testing or tempering of man to achieve the best in His creation. In man’s tempering there has to be recognition of God’s work by the subject in order for it to have the proper affect.
This is the point that we all have to get to. We must understand and participate in the heating and cooling process in us that God is using to temper us and make us to the right consistency.
We must always think of ourselves as a work in progress. Everything that happens to us in our natural life should take us one step closer to God and always one step stronger for God.
It is up to us how we perceive this process. We can view it as a curse or a blessing. We can fight it or be a willing participant, praising God all the way for His love and concern for us.
Robert Halsey Pine was born at Newark, Ohio in 1943. He is a graduate of Northeastern University and completed the program of Theological Education by Extension: Education for Ministry, School of Theology, the University of the South.