Time for a test

“Everyone loves a test!”

If that were a true or false question, the correct answer would be easy.

I’ve spent the last few days marking exams for the course on Revelation I’ve been teaching at seminary this summer. It was nice to be on the judging side, rather than the student side. I can’t remember how many hundreds of tests and exams I wrote, but I wish I’d had a party after the last one.

Unfortunately, God takes a different view. He loves testing. Testing is what takes the raw unfiltered mass of everything from stone to stubble in our faith, and puts it though his purifying fire. Out of the other end comes pure gold.

But oh man, does that hurt.

Let me give you some practical advice to get through your test with flying colours.

Don’t pout or complain. That’s going backwards into immaturity.

Don’t blame God for not being nice to you. The truth is he isn’t nice and never promised to be, but he is just and merciful, and he does see the best in you and will do what he has to do to make it happen.

Don’t play the victim. There is a reason for your testing. It relates to the amount of stuff in your life that needs to be changed.

Own your sin. God knows all about it anyway. Ask him for an open heart to respond to his correction.

Rejoice that you are a true son or daughter. They’re the ones the Bible says God disciplines.

Remember God is for you, not against you. Remind yourself that, whatever the circumstances, God still works everything out for good for those who love him. And that includes you.

Be assured there’s an end to every test. When the refining process is done and the gold comes forth, God is finished… until the next test.

And one last thing. When others are going through testing, don’t remind them of their faults or the possibility God is dealing with their sin. Chances are they already know that. Be there for them. Encourage them from your own experience that in the end, it is always for our good and his glory.

If you’ve got this easy advice down pat, you’ve passed this test at least!