Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil …
I love the way The New Zealand Book of Common Prayer translates this phrase from the Lord’s Prayer: “From trials too great to endure spare us.”
One of the good things about being a preacher is, because you don’t actually do any work, you get to sit around all day studying the Bible, so you know what it actually says. That is also one of the bad things. In fact, I’ve been fussing with God about I Corinthians 10.
It was written by the Apostle Paul. He and I have had a love/hate relationship ever since I was kicked out of the Methodist Church because of some of the things he wrote about homosexuality. Forty years later, the Methodists are beginning to think about thinking about reconsidering the issue, but, in the meantime, do you know what Paul has done to my retirement?!?
So, Paul is tormenting me once again in I Corinthians 10:13. He wrote, “No testing has overtaken you that is not common to everyone. God is faithful and will not let you be tested beyond your strength, but, with the testing, God will also provide the way out so that you may be able to endure it.”
As I read this passage, I have to agree with those who say, “The good Lord may not let me be tested beyond my strength, but I wish the Almighty didn’t have such a high opinion of me.” Jesus encouraged us to pray to avoid at least some of life’s tests, knowing that there are many that will come to us all.
The important thing is that when those tests wound our souls we must keep those wounds from becoming infected. Perhaps that is what Jesus meant when he told us to ask God to “deliver us from evil.”
The trials of life wound us all, even Jesus; the secret is living prayerfully in such a way that those wounds do not become infected with bitterness, hatred, resentment, self-pity, or other toxins that keep us from allowing God’s reign to come on earth/in us as it is in heaven.
Rev. Michael Piazza