BY-PRODUCT OF TESTING
Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. James 1:2-3
Testing brings endurance, according to James. How?
1.) The nature of a test is to face a challenge that takes me beyond my proficiency level. I must stretch to achieve it. It will appear too hard at first glance and require that I find some new muscles. God knows me well enough to know how to present a test that is perfectly shaped for my area of weakness. When I face it head on, then rely on His grace to dig deeply and give it everything I have, my strength increases. Endurance is the result. I am closer to becoming a spiritual champion.
2.) I am only in my fifties and, at this point, I can testify that the tests I have faced have involved my view of God. Each time something happens to me that seems unfair, I am tempted to malign God’s character. On the tip of my tongue is the accusation that He is unfair. When circumstances seem to accuse Him of things He says He is not, and I choose to believe the voice of the liar as he interprets the event, I fail the test.
I remember when my father died of lung of cancer some years back. I was sure that God had made some personal promises to my sister and me about his illness. God didn’t answer the way I expected. In fact, His ultimate answer was in direct opposition to what I felt He had promised. I momentarily felt tricked. After a few days of fierce inner battle however, I realized that this was a test. God’s righteous character was under the threat of assassination. Would I call Him good, faithful, loving and compassionate even though the evidence at hand tempted me to believe otherwise? Fortunately, I recognized what was happening and chose embrace truth. Truth gave freedom from torment.
May God heighten our spiritual senses today. Chances are, the very place we suffer today presents a perfectly molded test – tailor made to some area where we need greater proficiency. May we discern it, point at it in recognition, and ask God for the grace to pass. The result will be new strength and the reward of His favor.
I don’t’ want to be an anemic child, panting over the slightest challenge. I want to be your champion. Amen