Dear Ministry Partner,
This is the season of school examinations which are very much part of a student’s life. While no student likes tests, these are necessary for the mastering and application of knowledge.
Even after leaving school, we continue to be tested in the area of faith and character. The psalmist writes, “For you, God, tested us; you refined us like silver. You brought us into prison and laid burdens on our backs. You let people ride over our heads; we went through fire and water, but you brought us to a place of abundance” (Psalm 66:10-12, NIV).
Yes, God tests us! God refines us to be conformed to His image through the trials in our lives.
Yes, God tests us! God refines us to be conformed to His image through the trials in our lives. These trials may include health issues, difficult relationships, job and financial uncertainties, and marital and parenting challenges. These drain us emotionally and mentally, causing our hearts to be heavy-laden as we seek solutions. We know we need to trust God but, being human, we struggle to understand why trials happen.
Here are some lessons that help us make sense of our lives’ trials:
FIRST, GOD’S TEST IS DESIGNED FOR OUR PERSONAL GROWTH AND CHARACTER BUILDING.
Like a good teacher, God knows our weaknesses and will not allow us to be tested beyond what we can bear (1 Corinthians 10:13). Like gold being purified in a fiery furnace, the trials of our lives help to sieve out the “impurities” in us.
The refining process in the furnace of fire is often painful, but necessary for development. Many godly leaders have been through painful trials not due to poor decisions, but because God wanted to teach them lessons of faith and demonstrate His sovereignty in their lives.
SECOND, THERE IS NO GRADE FOR GOD’S TEST – ONLY PASS/FAIL.
We pass the test when we emerge better – more faithful, more secure and less self-seeking. We will not be perfect but we continue to persevere in His goodness. We fail when we become bitter towards God and the people around us. Our response to God is as important as the test itself! However, even when we fail, God’s grace abounds and He will uphold us with His hand (Psalm 37:24).
FINALLY, THE DESIRED OUTCOME OF GOD’S TEST IS REFINED GOLD
God’s test finally results in a faith refined by gold, prepared and ready for the Master’s use (Job 23:10)
Like refined gold, we will reflect the glory of God in our lives. The refinement of our faith and character becomes the real blessing!
Lam Kok Hiang
Photo by AHMAD OSSAYLI