Lesson #17: Times of Testing

Only Jesus can turn a MESS into a MESSAGE
Only Jesus can turn a MESS into a MESSAGE

I have been working through the book of Job in my quiet times, recently. What strikes me, as I dig deeper into the book, is that while Job briefly considered the possibility that God may have been testing his faith, he didn’t really ponder this option long enough to realise its truth. Aren’t we just like that, sometimes?

I know I am. When things aren’t rosy in my life (and we’ve had a fair amount of less-than-rosy in recent years), I always think it could be the result of one of three things:

  1. I am being punished for some sin. I fast and pray, read God’s Word and confess any and all sin that comes to mind.
  2. I am being tempted by the Devil and his team. I pray for protection and ask God for deliverance.
  3. I am being tried, purified and made stronger.

Unfortunately, I usually (like Job), gloss over number three. I spend so much time trying to work out whether the trial is a punishment or a temptation (or a purification) that I get wound up in knots. When I am sure that I am right with God, and I’ve prayed for protection, I become despondent that the trial hasn’t lifted. Unlike Job, I begin to doubt God’s grace, mercy, love, provision and justice. I begin to see Him as an arbitrary and cruel God who no longer cares for me – through no fault of my own, I might add! I become so downhearted and disillusioned that it becomes difficult to achieve anything at all. Sometimes I even mope around in my pyjamas for days on end.

What I am being taught at the moment, through the reading of God’s precious Word, is that sometimes we really have been justified and purified from sin and we really are protected from Satan, but we have something to learn or some new level of wisdom to reach, and then we just need to stay faithful and trust our good God for the outcome. Romans 8:28 reminds us that we know that all things work together for good to them that love God. And I do love Him.

So we can decide to pass the test. We can make a conscious choice that, no matter what the cause of our trial, no matter what the outcome or how scary it is in the midst of it all, we will never curse God. We will never stop trusting in His faithfulness or believing in His Word. He will be true and we will come through. As the saying goes, “If God brings you to it, He will bring you through it.”

Right now, and from this moment forward, I will proclaim the goodness and faithfulness of my Redeemer. He is good. He knows my needs and He meets them. He loads my life with blessings – new ones every day! I will pass the tests He sends my way and cling to Him for salvation. I thank Him for taking the time to mould and shape me, to grow me into the kind of person He can some day use. I am grateful that He shows me my weaknesses so that I can run to His loving arms and be made strong, filled and equipped with all I need to serve Him.

How gracious and merciful is our awesome God.

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