Sunday, 9 October 2016

Who's Testing Me?

Sometimes, life feels like a giant test - a test that you can't pass, a test that's designed to make you look and feel like a failure, that's designed to keep you down, to make you feel silly, to bring you down and keep you there.  

How much more work can someone pile on your plate before you run out of strength?   How much more pain can you endure before you can't take it any more?  How many more mental games can you navigate before you finally crack?   How many more times can you get it wrong?   How much can you keep giving before there's nothing left to give?    How often can you bounce back up when you're knocked down?    How much testing can one person endure before something is broken? 

Sounds like the enemy's work to me.   He comes to steal, kill and destroy.    His plan is to break us, to break our trust, break our strength, break our hearts.  

But, God is good, and I've learnt that believing anything else is a dangerous place to be when you're in a test of any kind.  Whether it's God-made, man-made, enemy-made, or, as is often the case, a combination of the afore-mentioned, mixed with consequences of my sin and/or someone else's, God is the only sure footing.   Sometimes, a determined belief in and experience of the goodness of God is the only comfort in the test, and should be added to a listening ear, to hear HIS perspective on the test and its source and its purpose. 

One of the hardest parts in the middle of the test is believing and knowing that God isn't out to break us, bring us down, keep us down, belittle us, make us feel or look small.   That's not what His tests are designed to do.    His tests are designed to make us shine!  

This little rose plant is the same as in the picture above!   Only God can make us shine like that! 

The Bible says God tests us and that the testing of our faith is good for us.   
Don't know about you, but severe and constant testing doesn't feel 'good' at all to me.  

Something I learned in the first round of homeschooling, that was a revelation to me, because of my schooling and my upbringing, is that tests should NOT be used to shame and belittle, but to help the student to learn something, see a weakness and work towards fixing it, build knowledge, make room for growth.  They also shouldn't be the main part of education - so foreign to how I'd been tested.   And testing to a high standard is good, because otherwise we never pass the test or move on to another one - we're stuck at that level of knowledge, maturity, growth and with it, frustration and apathy. 

I'm so glad that God's testing is always motivated by His mercy, in its many forms, and not by pride, superiority, insecurity, perfectionism or other traits that have been inherent in my human testers.
Did you know that the silversmith knows that the silver is at its purest when he can finally see his reflection in it?

And did you know that the gardener is never as close to his roses as when he's pruning them? 

God's testing is up close and personal, not like the tests handed out in big high school auditoriums,  or by an enemy who views us with disdain or someone who is insecure and needs us to be 'down there'.    And with God, we don't have to pull back when the results aren't great - the results don't surprise Him, though they often surprise us.   

So, note to self, once again, trust God's goodness in the test, don't assume it's all Him, and listen to His still, small voice in the storm - it's there.  

Psalm 51: 10- 12    Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.   Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me.   Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.

Linking up at Five Minute Friday, where we write for five minutes on a given prompt.   This week's prompt word is 'test'. 

Photos courtesy of our friend, Suzy.  

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