Thursday, April 30, 2015

The Tests of God

“Be careful to follow every command I am giving you today, so that you may live and increase and may enter and possess the land that the LORD promised on oath to your forefathers.  Remember how the LORD your God led you all the way in the desert these forty years, to humble you and to test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands.  He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your fathers had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD.” (Deuteronomy 8:1-3 NIV)

A student posted on Facebook that college would be great if it weren’t for the exams.  I don’t think any student likes tests, and, so, this time of year is just something to get through and move on to summer or, if you are graduating, to the “real” world.   I remember finishing my oral defense of my masters’ project and walking away ecstatic, knowing it would likely be my last academic test after some 25 years of taking them.  

But tests are necessary and, perhaps to our dismay, God is not above giving them.  In the academic world, ideally, tests are given to determine knowledge and comprehension of subject matter.  God tests us to determine what is truly in our hearts.  He is interested if our words are genuine and our motives are right.  

I was recalling to a friend recently about the depression I suffered years ago as a grad student when my girlfriend broke up with me.   It went on for months, but then God revealed to me that my girlfriend had become my idol.  I viewed her as having ultimate value in my life; in other words, I worshipped her.  Through the break-up, He tested me and through it revealed what was truly in my heart.  On the outside, I worshipped God, but in my heart, I worshipped her.  

Sometimes, God will test us through success.  He will bless us and then wait to see how we respond.  Will we give Him the honor or will we take the credit?  If it is wealth, will we keep it for ourselves or generously use it to bless and meet the needs of others?  Will we thank Him or just take His goodness to us for granted?

The greatest fear of students is failing their tests.  I can’t recall failing an academic exam, but I have failed, as I alluded to above, a number of tests from God.  However, with the Lord, we can flunk the test, but it is not the end.  We don’t necessarily get a “do-over,” but if we confess and repent, the failing grade will be expunged from our record.    The test, then, becomes more of a gauge of where our hearts truly are as opposed to where we think they are, and gives us the opportunity to make the changes necessary to become the person God created us to be.  

Today, embrace the tests God gives you in life.  They are opportunities for you to gain a deeper understanding of where your heart truly is.

© Jim Musser 2015  

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