June 5, 2011
How many moments in our lives could truly be labeled,
“Beloved, do not be amazed and bewildered at the fiery ordeal which is taking place to test your quality, as though something strange (unusual and alien to you and your position) were befalling you.” (Emphasis mine).
Sometimes it takes years before we even realize that we are being tested. We look at it as just another of life’s experiences and act according to our impulses. Then at some point we begin to realize that it is a test and that God does desire a specific reaction from us in any given situation. The tests are not for God’s benefit to see how we will react but for our own benefit; for our growth.
The awesome news is that being such a good God, a perfect father, He has given us the answer to every test, every encounter, and every crisis. And they are all open book tests!
In college there were rare instances when an instructor would allow us to take a test as an open book test. The only problem with that is, if I did not know the material ahead of time, having read and studied it previously, I would spend my time frantically searching, almost in a panic for the answers. Many times I was reading the material for the first time and there just wasn’t time to do that.
If I had at least read the material, then I had a vague idea where to find the answers, but still had to do quite a bit of reading and re-reading to be certain that I was finding the correct answer.
However, if I had done my job beforehand, reading and studying diligently the text material, I could many times just confidently answer the questions without even looking. Then, with leftover time, I would go to the text to confirm my answers. Oh my, what a wonderful feeling that was!
The same is true of life and God’s tests. Until we realize we are even in a test, we may not even open the text, the bible. When we realize we are being tested, but don’t know the text, we many times spend our time frantically searching and searching for the correct answers.
If, as we grow, we begin to spend time reading the text over and over when not in the middle of a test, we begin to know it. When a test comes, we have a vague idea where and what the answer is, but still spend time reading and re-reading to find it exactly.
One thing I know for sure, I have learned after a lifetime of growing from a ‘child’ of God into a mature ‘daughter’ of God, that we will be given the same tests over and over again until we certainly pass them. I have always hated to re-take tests.
I am very grateful that after years of reading and studying the life-giving Word, I have grown to the point where I not only readily recognize a test, but many times don’t have to search frantically for the answer, I just respond in the manner which is appropriate.
Ease of life is just simply operating by what the text has taught me. After years of reading, studying and praying, it has become part of me. It has changed me. It seems now that the tests have become fewer and fewer.
Or maybe it is just that my response time has quickened to the point that I no longer sense it as a test.
Or could it be, that through reading the text for so many years, I have come to know the author so well that I can simply respond as He intended?
But of one thing I am certain, the tests will never stop.
There will always be another test which I haven’t encountered. Oh but what a feeling to act confidently, and then go to the text to confirm my answer with time to spare!