12 So if you think you are standing, watch out that you do not fall. 13 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 10:12-13
You learn quickly at the gym that putting too much weight on your barbell does no good. You do not get stronger being crushed by the weight or stymied from being able to pick it up. Paul suggests in 1 Corinthians 10:13 that God uses the same principle in the testing of our faith. The promise is that the tests will not be beyond our strength…and that there is always a way out.
Each test endured then brings strength and new usability. Jesus said that faithfulness in small things lead to the opportunities for faithfulness in increasing responsibilities. If our responsibilities grow without the necessary character formation that comes from the Spirit’s work in us through the tests of life, we stand to flame out and hurt ourselves and others. I don’t need to name the names of well-known people whose reach grew wider than the depth of their character and it all crumbled. We have seen this truth about the need for character with our very eyes.
But on another note, I wonder what the testing of Covid has done positively for our faith? I wonder what the past few years of isolation and loss has done to shape our character? How are the people of God ready today because of the testing of yesterday?
A remnant is always the place where God starts. These are the people who, when faced with difficulties, remained steadfast in their faith. They are the ones whose character is formed sufficiently to be the foundation of God’s new work without breaking or failing. I believe God is already doing a new thing…I can’t identify what it is just yet but I can tell you who is involved. Look for the tested and true people in your community or church. Seek out the ones who know a thing or two because they have experienced a thing or two as one advertisement says. You want to find out what God is up to, find the ones remaining when others have slipped away. It always starts with them. And may they be us…the tested and endured.