Tests … they make my blood pressure rise and my palms sweaty. My mind begins to fill with racing thoughts of instant failure before the activity commences. I envision myself defeated and the clock has yet to signal the onset.
Jog back with me in time when you took your first driving exam behind the wheel at your local DMV. And if you notice, I specifically said ‘first’ because there are some of us that had to repeat to be a success.
My dad surprised me one day after school when he picked me up and casually declared, “We’re going to go get your driver’s license today.” Stunned, I said, “Today … today? Like after I go home to change my clothes?” He shook his head and said, “No, right now … we’re going now.” No turning back and with no debate, I could feel my palms sliding up and down my denim overalls as I sat in that passenger seat.
Next to disliking tests, I also have disdain for pop quizzes.
I was surprised, however, to see him traveling on a different route. The previous DMV that we went to (where I didn’t pass), was in the opposite direction. The luxury of living in the suburbs, we had access to more than one DMV location. And of course, the one he takes me to this time has steep hills in town. Wonderful. I’m doomed again.
The road test examiner took me through a course that I felt only experienced drivers could pass successfully. When was the last time you parallel parked on an incline in a narrow busy street? Today, applicants aren’t required to even parallel park. Using arm signals to prove my proficiency at manual designations. Watching me adjust the rearview mirror and actually turning my head to check for traffic while changing lanes, I could feel his scrutinizing eyes and could see his pen write all over the clipboard form. These habits and practices we were required to master are now passé. Nonetheless, they were skills that were required to be demonstrated without error.
Why must there be a test to prove my proficiency at something?
2-4 Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way. James 1:3 The Message
When I first came to Jesus, my expectations for life changes were far from what I have learned and know to be true today. I had some crazy notion in my head that because I know Jesus, the Son of GOD, everything would be smooth sailing and my testing days were over. Not.
Just as the road test required that I perform acts that I had not perfected and forced me to travel on terrain that was completely unfamiliar, I had to step out in faith and do my best with what I did know and with the confidence of knowing what I knew to be true.
In fact in the Book of James, the Lord’s half-brother says the opposite. He reminds us that not only will we still have the trials and difficulties in our lives, that to be happy when they come into our path because they’re going to make us a better follower of Jesus. Seriously, James?! He was beyond serious — he was resolute.
Many years later, I’m finally agreeing with brother James. However, this thing called maturity came at a price. The price was learning how to trust GOD for all my needs in every situation, without knowing what to even call the situation. This has been a real process.
As humans, we have this nature that deems it necessary for us to live out the situations that GOD has prepared for us in order to experience His Presence in every moment of our circumstances. Otherwise, we’re inclined to not live in a manner acceptable to Him. And we will repeat the mistakes of yesterday and stunt our spiritual growth because we haven’t been persuaded enough to do the right thing on our own.
After all this, God tested Abraham. God said, “Abraham!” “Yes?” answered Abraham. “I’m listening.” Genesis 22:1 The Message
That’s the place where God set up rules and procedures; that’s where he started testing them.
God said, “If you listen, listen obediently to how God tells you to live in his presence, obeying his commandments and keeping all his laws, then I won’t strike you with all the diseases that I inflicted on the Egyptians; I am God your healer.” Genesis 15:26 The Message
Why have you despised discipline?
You can’t get around it.
Decree of God, the Master.’ Ezekiel 21:13 The Message
All throughout Scripture GOD’s people are tested according to His purpose. But when you stop to consider that when we hold on and remain true to what GOD’s Word says (that He is faithful, compassionate, merciful, trustworthy), we start to realize that digging our heels into the soil of our faith will actually yield the testimony that declares the glory of GOD.
8 I begged the Lord three times to take this problem away from me. 9 But he said to me, “My grace is enough for you. When you are weak, my power is made perfect in you.” So I am very happy to brag about my weaknesses. Then Christ’s power can live in me. 2 Corinthians 12:8-9 NCV
I don’t know what you are facing right now, Sweet Friend, but I do know Who does and He is willing to go the distance with you no matter where it leads. He’s already done the hard work of laying down His life for yours. The testing of your faith in Him will not only bring out the best that was deposited in you before you were born, but it will allow for you to live out a life that is completely fulfilling in Him. You will come to a place where you can exhale — like you do after a really big test — and be able to tell others all about it. How He remained with you to strengthen you and empower you to be victorious, how He encouraged you to keep going and learning that He loves you more than you’ll ever comprehend.
While I will likely never proclaim that I enjoy taking a test or being tested, I can confidently say that Jesus will always be with me throughout each one and will give me the strength to persevere to the end. And so will you.
I can do all things [which He has called me to do] through Him who strengthens and empowers me [to fulfill His purpose—I am self-sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency; I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him who infuses me with inner strength and confident peace.] Philippians 4:13 Amplified
I love you to Heaven and Back, Girlfriend ~~
LindaRJohnson, TitusTwo Visionary