There is all sorts of wisdom and sayings out there that sound biblical but either are only partially biblical or not at all. Sayings such as “the root of all evil is money” or “God helps those who help themselves.” The first should be “the root of all evil is the love of money” and the second is from Ben Franklin.
Of these sayings, on of my least favorite is “God will not give you more than you can handle.” This is usually said to somebody going through a hard time. Not only is it only a partial interpretation of scripture, it implies that God is purposefully putting them through a difficult time, which could cause them to turn from God. The closest scripture comes to this assertion is from 1 Corinthians 10:13, “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.”
When people learn that I grew up in Tennessee, one of the most common responses is, “you don’t have an accent.” While I may not have much of a Southern accent, there are some words from the Southern dialect that I love. First among those is “y’all.” Y’all is the the abbreviated version of “you all” or plural for you. I wish this was more common throughout our use of the English language. Before you think I’ve gotten off track, I’m fixin’ to tell you how it relates to 1 Corinthians 10:13 (see what I did there?).
This week, I discovered something I had never caught about 1 Corinthians 10:13. The “you” in it is plural, it should be “y’all”. It should read “No testing has overtaken y’all that is not common to everyone. God is faithful, and he will not let y’all be tested beyond y’alls strength, but with the testing he will also provide the way out so that y’all may be able to endure it.” Changing “you” to “y’all” changes everything.
This verse isn’t about personal perseverance, but how we persevere as a community. It is about how when we are tested, when we are carrying a burden, we have a community to support us. We don’t go through anything by ourselves, but instead we go through things as part of a community. The Church is our community. The Church is also the body of Christ and remember what Christ said, “Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
This is especially important to remember this week. As we reflect on the 16th anniversary of 9-11, we remember how we went through it as a community. We remember how this country banded together as brothers and sisters to lift each other up through a difficult time. As we watch as Texas and Florida begin the painful process of rebuilding, we think of the community providing aid, helping survivors, and reaching out to those in need. As we think of the difficult times in our lives and the difficult times to come, we remember that we do not go through it alone. We go through it with the community of believers, we go through it with the body of Christ, and that is a community and a body that can bear all things.