We learn about “tests” at an early age. When the teacher announces that there will be a test in today’s class, most of the students experience an increased heartbeat and a sweaty brow? Why? Because they fear they are not adequately prepared and incapable of earning a good grade.
I hated tests when I was in school. I mean, what’s the purpose? We should get a passing grade simply for showing up, right? Wrong. Tests are a tool that reveals how much if any of the material gone over in that section actually sunk in!
You are probably like me in that you hate it when, in the middle of watching a favorite television show, the screen goes black and you are audibly assaulted with an obnoxious alert sound emanating from the emergency broadcast system. We are told that if this was an actual emergency, we would have been instructed about what to do. But when you think about it, you don’t want them to discover that there is a problem with the system when there is an actual emergency, do you? So, the test makes sense.
Then there are medical tests that we are all familiar with. Bloodwork, x-rays, ultrasounds and a plethora of other diagnostic tools that our caregivers use to keep us healthy. I am scheduled for a nuclear stress test in January. I had one four years ago, but my vigilant cardiologist wants to make sure there are no reoccurring or emerging issues with my heart since having bypass surgery six and a half years ago. The test doesn’t hurt, but it sure is inconvenient. Nevertheless, they are important. They reveal things or rule them out. The old axiom rings true: an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
God often puts us to the test. A test is a difficult experience through which a person’s true values, commitments, and beliefs are revealed. Test is a very important word in the Old Testament. A test was to prove or demonstrate the character and faith of God’s people. Even though tests are painful and unwelcome, they are an act of love. Tests prove our faith.
While tests are not necessarily pleasant times, they are learning times. During our times of testing, our spiritual muscles are stretched, our faith strengthened, and our character forged. God’s tests are designed to develop us into men and women of strong spiritual resolve. Let’s face it, our spiritual roots grow deeper when the winds assault and the storms assail. Take away the tests, and we become spiritual wimps.
What do we do when we are put to the test?
Here’s our choice: grumble or go to God. Grumbling is our response to pain or problems in life — in other words, to our tests. We grumble because we think we should experience pleasure rather than pain, prosperity rather than adversity. The problem with grumbling is that it distorts the facts. It causes us to focus on what we don’t have, causing us to look at ourselves rather than God. And worst of all, grumbling repudiates God’s ability to provide.
Going to God recognizes his sovereignty and his power in our lives.
Often when we face a test, we have a tendency to go to everyone but God. God says we should come to him first.
Jeremiah 17:10, “I the LORD search the heart and examine the mind, to reward each person according to their conduct, according to what their deeds deserve.”