1 Corinthians 10:1-13, Trials and Tests

Verse 1: “So far you have faced no trial beyond what man can bear. God keeps faith, and he will not allow you to be tested above your powers, but when the test comes he will at the same time provide a way out, by enabling you to sustain it.”

This Scripture is both disturbing and comforting. It can be confusing to imagine God as testing and putting us through trials while providing us the sustenance and wherewithal to move beyond them. The paradox is also present within our psyches. Carl Jung states, “The Self is both the harbinger of that which is helpful and that which is injurious to the self.”

Whatever manifests in our ego/body-mind is an expression of the Divine Within. We experience “trials and tests” where distortions of our energy or life force create blocks that result in circular, life-deadening patterns. For example, a circular physical block may manifest as chronic pain, body symptoms, and structural ailments. These often get labeled as “disease” in our culture.

The same is true of the circular emotional, mental, and spiritual patterns that block us. Normal, but stuck, emotions of grief, sadness, hurt, elation, and franticness get labeled as mental disorders. Mental states of worry, obsession, and fantasy may be called pathologies. Spiritual conditions of malaise and apathy or expansion and elation get labeled as depressive disorders, including Bipolar.

Once labeled, problematic conditions—our “trials and tests”—are most often related to as static and fixed. We do not look to see the origins within our psyche/soul. We do not look to see how our body-mind’s state, albeit distorted, is an attempt of the Divine Self to express something.

We need to see the seed of the Self that is cloaked in the problem. In the seed of the Self we find the Self’s ability to move the blocked energy. In this way, the Self “provide[s] a way out.” For example, the seed of a compulsion may be our unmet need. As we acknowledge, validate, and relate to the need, the energy block loosens. We can consciously choose to focus on the seed and relating to it in life-enhancing ways.

The path of Incarnation—our egos living in service to the Self/God Within—demands we learn to work with our reflexive, automatic consciousness (vital or animal soul) in a way that sees the Divine Within it.

Too often, we think we are what we do or what we feel! We get identified with the smallness of the singular, momentary sensations, emotions, thoughts, or feelings we have. We forget that the Self/God Within is bigger than any one situation or “trial or test.” Even though we may feel at the mercy of our whims, impulses, unbidden thoughts and feelings, or body sensations or conditions, the Self/God Within offers a different way. Our task is to seek this way.

By “building a conscious relationship to the unconscious,” we open to knowing the Self/God Within as our ego/self cultivates a line of communication to the Self. We realize we are not disconnected from God. Rather, we are an expression of God. The ego is the embodied Self. When we realize this, our “trials and tests” come into perspective as learning opportunities. We relate to our daily inner and outer situations as the laboratory in which we/our egos are experimenting to become the fullest and clearest expression of the Divine Within.

Inner Reflection
Take a few moments to acknowledge your current “trials and tests.” What are the energies behind them? How do your desires and intellect shape them? What are the emotions that yield your physical responses? Ask the Inner Divine Spirit to help you see and know the seed of the Self/God Within that is present within all your experiences. Reach for the essence of the Divine Within that can “provide a way out, by enabling you to sustain it.”