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Exhausted from Making Lemonade

Will Santino’s drawing poignantly captures a universal human experience: a person, head bowed in exhaustion, bombarded by an endless stream of lemons from life’s relentless pipe, while jars of lemonade surround them. This famous drawing circulation social media reflects the “unattractiveness” of the all too familiar saying, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” For we all can grow overwhelmed and weary from constantly making lemonade out of the sour moments, life hands us. So what do or where can we find relief as Christians when we or someone close to us faces this relentless lemon pipe?  


The sentiment that "God won’t give you more than you can handle" is often cited in times of struggle. This comforting phrase, though well-intentioned, is commonly misunderstood. Its origins are frequently linked to 1 Corinthians 10:13, where Paul writes:


“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 (NLT)


At first glance, this verse seems to support the notion that God will not give us more than we can handle. However, today, I wish to invite you to consider this element of scripture a deep more deeply, and I pray that God reveals to you the following message.  


Contextual Understanding


To fully grasp Paul’s message, it’s crucial to consider the context. In the preceding verses, Paul recounts the history of the Hebrews, who, despite witnessing miracles, chose to live sinfully. He uses their example as a warning to the Corinthians:


“If you think you are standing strong, be careful not to fall.” - 1 Corinthians 10:12 (NLT)


Paul’s admonition underscores the importance of vigilance and humility. Even those who experience divine wonders are not immune to temptation and failure because we fall into the trap of temptation… at this point, I would like to remind you that being tempted is not the sin, for even Jesus was tempted, the sin that leads us to death is not resisting the temptation and fall in the hole of the flesh.


Temptation vs. Suffering


In 1 Corinthians 10:13, Paul focuses on temptation, not suffering. He assures the Corinthians that they will not face temptations beyond their ability to resist and that God will provide a way to endure them. This fundamentally differs from the broader experiences of suffering and hardship, which are often overwhelming.


Temptation involves choices and actions we can control. Suffering, on the other hand, frequently comes from external circumstances beyond our control. Paul distinguishes between the two: while we have the power to resist temptation with God’s help, we may not have the same control over suffering, which is where we must reach out to our faith community who might be better prepared to sustain us while there is suffering.


Endurance and Community Support


Life often presents us with more than we can handle alone—that’s why we are never meant to be alone. This is where the support of others and our faith in God become crucial—when suffering, we must pay attention to the bigger picture. Paul emphasizes that God provides a way out during temptation, a means to endure—Jesus used scripture and prayer. In the face of suffering, the path may not always be clear, but God’s presence and the strength of our community help us navigate these trials, for we will walk through the valley of death, not above and not below but through. (Psalm 23)


Every day, life may give us more than we can handle on our own. It’s in these moments that we lean on Christ and our community. We must recognize the difference between temptation and suffering, seeking God’s guidance to resist the former and find support through the latter. May we have the clarity to identify and flee from our idols, trusting that God’s presence and the love of those around us will help us endure whatever challenges come our way.

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