By: Cat Wood
Everyone reacts differently when they hear or see the word ‘test’. For some, it may bring excitement at the opportunity to prove oneself. On the flip side, it may bring anxiety for whatever reason. Life at any point is full of tests. We begin as very young children being tested by standards without even knowing, for instance, milestones reached at a baby’s checkout, fun games at preschool regarding the alphabet, a parent wanting to hear their sweet child read. As adults, we are tested every day as well, often without even realizing it.
What is a test? It’s defined as: “A procedure intended to establish the quality, performance, or reliability of something, especially before it is taken into widespread use.” For those on the academia side of life, this definition is a noun, but a test can also be a verb - an action which measures the description of the noun definition. How are we tested? And what do we do with the results? Make note here again - we are tested every single day.
I wish I could tell you exactly how you are tested, but then the results would be skewed in your favor. A new follower of Jesus typically has a hard time as he/she is continuously under attack and is given the opportunity to grow up rather quickly in his/her faith. As we mature in our faith, no matter our physical age, trials and tribulations are continuous, never ceasing. It’s in these trials and tribulations true faith is built, strengthened, and restored. If we didn’t have any tests as followers of Jesus, then the world would not be able to see the Kingdom of God through us. We would all be the same.
Sometimes this testing feels like ‘whack-a-mole’, because it’s something you constantly struggle with, but yet never goes away even though you think you’ve dealt with it. It just keeps coming back with a vengeance. My struggle is control and perfectionism. I love my calendar, I love my plans, and I love having everything set in order just the way I like it, nice and perfect. However, we all know that life does not always go the way we plan. I have had to learn how to go with the flow, including letting others help me do certain things. At first, I really struggled and had to do it myself, in fact, some people were scared to help me. But once I saw what I was doing, I learned to accept help and to go with the flow. You see, Jesus was always concerned about people and building relationships, never about being the ‘boss man’. Though I still struggle with wanting things my way, I have learned to trust Him even more!
A sweet friend of mine once drew out a verse and mailed it to me. The verse is common, you may even know it by heart, James 1:2-4: “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” (ESV). So essentially, a test produces a testimony, which allows our trust in our Lord and Savior to flourish and evolve into something we never even dreamed of.
What do you need to lay down at His feet? Where is He testing you to create a testimony, my friend? Once surrendered, the steadfastness of His enduring love and provisions will never cease. You will have tests, but when you give your obedience to Him, He will walk you through them all.