“All through my life, I have been tested. My will has been tested, my courage has been tested, my strength has been tested. Now my patience and endurance are being tested.” (Muhammad Ali)
A test is a deliberate, intentional procedure designed to critically evaluate and determine the quality, strength and capacity of something. Everything of value in life is tested, and this is especially true of Christian believers who are maturing into disciples of Christ. Being tested is a normal part of life.
My son, do not despise the LORD’s discipline or be weary of his reproof, for the LORD reproves him whom he loves, as a father the son in whom he delights. (Proverbs 3:11-12)
Don’t resent the test – do not despise the LORD’s discipline
The natural reaction to a test is to resent it. No one wants to do their best, only to be rewarded with hassle, hardship and suffering. Superficially, times of testing seem unfair. But it is shortsighted to despise something that is doing us good. “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.” (James 1:2-5) It is testing that makes us grow up to become better, stronger, more mature people. Don’t resent the test.
Don’t get weary of the test – or be weary of his reproof
If only we were tested occasionally and quickly. But the greater the task the more vigorous and robust the testing. For the Christian believer this means prolonged, intensive testing that turns us inside out and reforms us into the likeness of Christ. We can all identify with the psalmist, “How long, O LORD? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I take counsel in my soul and have sorrow in my heart all the day?” (Psalm 13:1-2) Passing the test requires endurance. “Let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” (Galatians 6:9) The test doesn’t last forever. Stick at it. Don’t get weary of the test.
Don’t misread the test – the LORD reproves him whom he loves
God’s motive behind every test is love. As a good Father he wants to develop us to our fullest potential so that we become everything He has predestined us to be. Hence the tests. Through being tested we grow and our capacity expands. Yet it is easy to misread a test as a sign of God’s disapproval. ‘If we are being tested, God must have abandoned us.’ Nothing could be further from the truth. “For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.” (Hebrews 12:11) Being tested is a sure sign that God loves us and has great plans for us. Don’t misread the test.
“Let the trials of life make you a giant, not a midget.” (Warren Wiersbe) Thank God that He doesn’t leave us as we are, but loves us enough to do something great in us. “But he knows the way that I take; when he has tried me, I shall come out as gold.” (Job 23:10)