“God is faithful and will not let you be tried beyond your strength; but with the trial he will also provide a way out, so that you may be able to bear it.”– 1 Corinthians 10:13
This Scripture passage has become a mantra to me in a world turned on its head—children without school, parents without work, stores and businesses without a profit, and an economy in crisis. I can choose either to lose hope completely or find myself completely in God’s faithfulness. The assurance that he will never let us be “tried beyond [our] strength” can be almost impossible to accept as loved ones die, dreams fall to dust, and livelihoods look as if they will never be the same again. But then comes the statement “[God] will provide a way out” and “you may be able to bear it.”
Is there a way out? Is there a way to bear the weight of our world?
I do not have the answer to these questions, but I do have the memory of an evening, walking downstairs to make myself something small for dinner. My steps are somber; it has been a long day with little to do but watch one dismal news report after another. I enter the kitchen, looking across the way to the dining room table. There, my sister is painting on a canvas. She has pulled old, partially dried up paint bottles from storage. I did not even remember we had paints. I watch as she paints the sky, with light and dark blues and sprinkles of gold for the sun. I continue into the living room and see my boyfriend sitting at the piano. He doesn’t know how to play but is trying to learn.
“How about I play a piano recording on my phone and you can pretend to play!” I joke. I scroll through my playlist. “Yes, here’s a perfect one!”
Pachelbel’s Canon in D plays through my phone. My parents had their first dance to this beautiful piece at their wedding. As the music begins, and my boyfriend pretends to elegantly play the keys, I close my eyes and begin to dance. I lift up my arms, spinning around the room, pretending that I am wearing a flowing gown. I imagine that I am not isolated, but in a room surrounded by others. I can feel the swish of fabric and the warmth of bodies around me; we are all dancing. This is my memory. My sister painting the blues of the sky, my boyfriend sitting at the piano, and me, twirling around the room and pretending that I am dancing. I open my eyes and there is a shared look between us all: a smile of love and gratitude that amidst so much pain, there can still be moments like this.
God Shows Up
Is there a way out?
Will you be able to bear it?
In the Old Testament, Job asks these things of God when everything he loves is taken from him; when his world is broken beyond repair, he cries out for death. Then God shows up. But not with miracles and perfect answers that soothe the mind of Job and fix all his problems right away.
Instead, God shows up and says to Job:
“Where were you when I founded the earth? … Have you ever in a lifetime commanded the morning and shown the dawn its place?”Job 38:4, 12
God’s response to Job’s sufferings is that his ways are beyond our ability to see, hear, and understand fully. We can catch glimpses, but we can never truly fathom the depths of God’s will, at least not in this life. This might not be the comforting or encouraging words many of us would like to hear, but the Scriptures reveal that, “God is faithful and will not let you be tried beyond your strength; but with the trial he will also provide a way out, so that you may be able to bear it” (1 Corinthians 10:13).
Indeed, even in the midst of great loss for Job, “The Lord blessed the latter days of Job more than his earlier ones” (Job 42:12). God made all things new for Job and I believe that though we do not have all the answers now, we can trust that God is faithful. He is here in all of our moments, the big and the seemingly insignificant: painting the skies, playing the piano, dancing. God shows up and God brings strength, hope, love, and yes: restoration.
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Allison DeBoer is a Washington native and longtime parishioner at St. Vincent De Paul Parish in Federal Way where she serves as a lector and extraordinary minister of Holy Communion at Mass. She worked in her college writing center for four years and graduated from Seattle Pacific University in 2019, where she received a bachelor’s degree in English creative writing. She works as the benefits assistant for the Catholic Archdiocese of Seattle. Her work has been published in Our Sunday Visitor and Radiant Magazine. She is an avid Catholic writer and reader, devoted to her faith, family, and friends. In her free time, Allison loves caring for animals, training dogs, watching old-fashioned films, and dancing. Her favorite Catholic voices are Flannery O’Connor and St. Teresa of Avila.