“Remember how the Lord your God led you all the way in the wilderness these forty years, to humble and test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands,” Deuteronomy 8: 2
I HATE tests!! As much as I dislike tests I’ve realised that they are a necessary part of life and an essential part of our growth. We go to church week after week and hear the word of God. At some point the biblical truths that we’ve been taught will be tested. None of us like to go through tests and trials that challenge our faith in God or show us our imperfections. God presents us with tests that are designed to humble us, increase our faith, help us grow and refine our character without them there is no way of knowing what we really believe and what is in our heart.
The annoying thing about tests and trials is that they always come when we’re not expecting it. I went through a test last month when I went to Italy. The holiday was amazing and the weather was perfect but on the last day of the holiday, I found out that the return flight to London was CANCELLED due to an IT issue at the airline which caused 720 flights globally to be grounded.
Before leaving the hotel, I was aware of the situation and was prepared for it but when I arrived at the airport I was not expecting the blatant rudeness from the Italian woman at the check-in desk. Not only was I severely inconvenienced by the cancelled flight but I had to deal with her rudeness and refusal to help. My parents were both in the hospital the day before and there was a friends party that I was looking forward to going to so I was extremely anxious to get back to London and was stranded in Venice. Let’s just say the frustration at the situation and anger at the way I was treated meant things didn’t turn out well for the check in lady!!!!!!!! ALL my bible studies on love, kindness and forgiveness went out the window at that point.
The test was to see how I reacted when a situation was completely out of my control and my reaction to a person who treated me unfairly. When I eventually made it back to London at first, I thought: “YAY, I passed the test” and I told friends that I graded myself an A- , I thought I dealt with the situation well. But I reflected on what happened days later and the Holy Spirit said: “What standard are you using to grade the test?” In the natural, I may have passed the test but in the realm of the spirit I FAILED. In hindsight, I should’ve stayed calm and not reacted to her rudeness. Sometimes people do things as a test to see your reaction. What would Jesus do? In Peter 2: 23 its says: “When they heaped abuse on him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no treats, but entrusted himself to him who judges justly,” WOW!! That is powerful. We can’t control how people treat us but we can control how we respond. I didn’t respond in the correct way which Is why I failed the test.
It’s easy to study the fruits of the spirit which are love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23) but it’s another thing to SHOW them when we go through tests and trials. The stress and the pressure of the test is supposed to bring out the fruits of the spirit not subdue them. Anyone can hear sermons and study scriptures on love and highlight their bible in a variety of colours but that doesn’t mean that its been engrained in your heart and spirit (See the blog I wrote The Love Test).
I was reminded that we shouldn’t have the Word of God just as “head knowledge” or written in a cute journal, it needs to be ingrained in our hearts. This is why David said: “Your word I have hidden in my heart, That I may not sin against you,” Psalm 119:11. When the word of God is in our hearts and mouth its easier to do it. When the tests and trials come we don’t have the chance to excuse ourselves from the situation and look over last months Bible Study notes and find scriptures, the word of God should be in our heart.
My test humbled me and showed me my weaknesses and imperfections. It was like a mirror that showed me myself and highlighted the areas in my life where I need to work on with the help of the Holy Spirit. This Christian walk is not easy!! We can not do it in our own strength. I’ve been busy and distracted and was reminded that EVERYDAY I have to make a conscious decision to sit at the feet of Jesus by studying his word and spending time in prayer and allowing him to mould and shape me. Thank God for GRACE which covers our imperfections.
“Consider it pure joy, my brother, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its worth so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything,” James:2-4.
I failed the test but the good news is that there will be loads more opportunities to take it again until I pass. It’s all part of the process of being moulded and shaped into the way God wants us to be which is more like him. From the pulpit to the pews we are ALL a work in progress!!
You may be going through challenges right now where everything has gone wrong and expectations have not been met, DON’T PANIC, it’s a TEST that is designed to strengthen you and perfect your character.
Please stop praying for God to remove the tests when they are designed for you to grow, surrender, trust him and ultimately draw closer to him.
As difficult as they are we NEED the tests to have a testimony!! God gets all the glory!!! If we want to move forward and move to the next level in our education, relationships, career or whatever we need to pass a few tests.
God is faithful!!