Think back to your school days. It’s exam week. All those tests to take. You studied and prayed you’d pass every one. Maybe you did pass most or all of them. But what about the tests where the results weren’t so favorable? Did the grade you received cause you to work harder to bring the score up on the next one or did you just give up?
In our daily lives we are put to the test daily: you hope you won’t run into that person at work who stresses you; the car breaks down; you get a call from the principal at your child’s school stating there is an issue that must be dealt with.
And there are larger tests: you lose your job and don’t know how the bills will get paid; your spouse wants a divorce; a loved one suddenly dies.
How do you react to these tests? My initial reaction is always panic, worry, and confusion – the typical human responses to things that mess up our normal routine. Then I have to tell myself to calm down and think things through. I pray, telling God I can’t do this on my own and asking for a clear mind and a direction in how to proceed.
God will test our faith. I believe He doesn’t do this to see how we’ll react and if we’ll lean on Him. He already knows how we’ll respond. I think He brings these tests into our lives to make US aware of our need for Him and to grow the relationship we have with Him. These difficult times in our lives can break us or make us stronger. We say we have faith in God, but how is that faith during the tough times?
How we respond determines the final result of the test. We can choose to throw in the towel and give up completely, withdrawing from life or ending life. Letting the situation break us forever is not what God wants. The other option is to look at the circumstance and accept the challenge to see how we can grow through the experience and how much we are going to put our faith in God.
Everything that happens to us, good or bad, should be a learning experience. Maybe God is trying to make you aware of areas where your faith is lacking and spark the flame for growth. Possibly you’re on a downhill spiral. God has been giving you nudges along the way to change, but you’re not getting the message, so He needs to give you a swift kick in the pants to wake you up, hoping you’ll see where you’re heading in your current life style.
We are not going to have perfect lives. There will be tests and trials to deal with. However, these times could and should be times of growth and refinement.
The next time a test comes your way are you going to crash and burn or are you going to react as Job did, saying, “When He has tested me, I will come forth as gold”? Will you accept the test as an opportunity from God to grow?