When you were a student in school, how did you feel about tests? Some of you were the super smart students weren’t you? “Bring ‘em on!” you would say. But for those of you who are wired like I am, you probably didn’t like tests. Did you ever not study and then when the prof handed out the exam say a little prayer that evoked the supernatural: “God, I know I didn’t study for this, but please, guide my pencil. I need a miracle today. In Jesus name, Amen.”
What about now? How do you deal with tests? I’m referring now to tests of faith. I’m guessing that you have something on your heart today where you need God to show up? To the believer, I would say we all do. Everyday. Don’t you need God everyday? Especially today.
It could be you’re facing a medical challenge. Or an occupational challenge? Or a family challenge? How do you deal with the crisis de’jour? We’re going to face them. Sometimes daily, all day everyday. Sometimes seasonally, for a period of weeks or months until there is a resolution of some sort.
Do you know why we face tests and trials? Because just like those tests in school that made you “better educated,” tests of faith make you stronger. Just like an athlete has to break down the muscle through exercise in order to bulk up, how you respond to a test of faith will either strengthen you spiritually, or wipe you out.
Our prayer, is that it will strengthen you… that you will lean into God and receive great comfort and great strength from Him. We’re here so that you will face your trials in community, where we can lean on each other and pray for one another.
From Paul in 2 Corinthians (Chapter 1:16-18, The Message):
So we’re not giving up. How could we? Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace. These hard times are small potatoes compared to the coming good times, the lavish celebration prepared for us. There’s far more here than meets the eye. The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow. But the things we can’t see now will last forever.
Smith Wigglesworth, the great man of faith of the early 1900’s, used to say “from great fights will come great faith.” Are you having a great fight or a challenging test today? May I encourage you to focus on the things that will last forever? It will make the testing more tolerable and your faith so much stronger. So that you can then say with James that you are counting it all joy to face your next test (James 1:2).
(c) 2011 Rich Ronald