When you’re in a tough season, people struggle to know what to say. They want to comfort you, and they search for words that will bless you. Bless their hearts! They truly mean to help you . . . but sometimes miss the mark. Some have the gift of speaking loving truths into your life at just the right moment. But not all.
What’s wrong with being honest? Why not say “I don’t have a clue what you are going through, but I am praying God will fix it.” Or, “I’m praying for you in your pain and grief.” (Or, we could do like my friend in this post.)
Personally, I struggle when speaking with people one on one. A hand-written note allows time to arrange the wording for the intended meaning – or for the chance to tear it up and start over if it sounds wonky, weird, or insincere.
You can’t retract your words when speaking face to face. (I often wish I could!) I’ve made mental notes of things NOT to say . . . things that I remember others said to me . . . things that were completely off-base.
Quote Number 1: “God doesn’t give us more than we can handle.”
While that quote might give comfort, it’s not scripturally accurate. Read the verse and see the discrepancy.
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)
Paul is addressing temptation here in this verse, not suffering, tough seasons, or hardships. We have God’s strength to endure temptation, and He will provide a way to escape the pull of the temptation to sin, whatever it is. We must seek the Lord in dealing with our temptations, and He provides the way out of it for us.
James reminds us that God doesn’t tempt us.
And remember, when you are being tempted, do not say, “God is tempting me.” God is never tempted to do wrong, and he never temps anyone else. Temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us to and drag us away. (James 1:13-14)
James is often miss-represented with this next statement you may hear in your tough season.
Quote Number 2: “Everything happens for a reason.”
God says in His word that we are to expect trouble in this life. Life will not be rosie all the time. Sometimes, tough times are a consequence of our sin – or of the fact that we’re human (accidents, sickness, etc.). Other times, it comes as a result of following Jesus. Satan’s influence in this world creates times of battle for us. The world apposes us, does it not?
God allows certain things to happen in our lives for His good purposes. He is weaving us . . . pruning us . . . molding us into Christ’s likeness . . . shaping us . . . growing our faith . . . developing our character into a tapestry of His perfect design. James tells us how to further handle our testing.
For you know that when your faith is tested,
your endurance has a chance to grow.
So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed,
you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.
We certainly can get ourselves into all kinds of sin messes. We are weak and sometimes wretched. Our Good Shepherd guides us into green meadows for rest, beside peaceful streams to renew our strength, and along right paths to bring honor to His name. No, God never leads us into temptation, but He sometimes leads us through places where our faith might be tested.
Just as a shepherd leads his sheep through an area he might rather avoid whenever possible, the shepherd relies on the trust the animal has for him. Our Good Shepherd desires for His sheep to follow Him in trust and obedience for our complete safety.For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing. (James 1:3-4) Click To Tweet
Pass or fail, our Compassionate Shepherd cares for us and rescues us. When we draw near to Him, we learn more of His character, how He wants us to BE, how we should believe based on His Truths, and ways to better our BEing. Do you remember this quote from my post about How TO BE…?
Part of BEing who God wants us to BE is BEing at rest in Him.
BEing at peace. BEing content to simply BE who He calls us to BE.
Our job is so simple. Why do we complicate it so? Our Shepherd wants us to follow Him and be steered (by Him) away from sin – just as a shepherd steers the sheep away from dangerous cliffs. Often, we encounter life’s troubles because we didn’t heed God’s warnings. We are rebellious at times and want to do things our way. The “our way” is the source of our troubles, not His way. Do you test the limits and walk along the edge of cliffs? I think we all do, if we’re being truthful.
This next quote isn’t one I hear often, and I rejected the quote at that time even when it was intended, somehow, for my comfort.
Quote Number 3: “Well, you’re just going to have to accept it.”
Really? We’re expected to accept the unacceptable? Can you really accept so easily the fact that your child turned from everything you raised them to know about God and His love surrounding him or her? I’m sorry. Not happening. Yes, love your child. That’s a given. We can’t help but love our children! There is no directive in scripture for accepting their sin and acting like all is well. But, we are called to love. No matter what, love.
Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult.
On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this
you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.
(1 Peter 3:9)
We are called to pray for others entrapped by Satan’s lies. That is loving them. We have the power to loose them from Satan’s grip through faith in Jesus Christ and by His power. We discussed recently in this post about praying blessings upon others – not evil for them.Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing. (1 Peter 3:9) Click To Tweet
Quote Number 4: “Everything works together for your good.”
While that may sound nice, it is scripturally sideways. Let’s review the verse for full understanding.
And we know that God causes everything to work
together for the good of those who love God and
are called according to his purpose for them.
First Point: God does the working out. Everything doesn’t just work out on its own. God does it.
Second Point: Does God work everything out for the good of those who reject Him? The sinful? The evil-doers? The rebellious? Of course not. We must finish the sentence in that verse to get the full promise of God correctly. Based on this promise, we have faith that God will work everything out in the end for the good of those who love the Lord and follow Him. Because He will. Because He does.
When we draw near to God, we open ourselves to His solutions and possibilities. Whatever the reason for our trial, tribulation, or temptation, God is with us. It is also true that when God gives us an assignment, He is with us until completion of His calling on our life.And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. (Romans 8:28) Click To Tweet
I wouldn’t want to miss that! Would you?
Because He lives~