“In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 (NIV)
These are indeed testing times in and out of school settings. During this season, the young people are stressed–everything they have learned since the beginning of the school year will decide their next move. Even the brightest students seem concerned. On this day, the building is eerily quiet as the students complete their examinations. Shortly after, they learn their grades. One group of students asks a young man his grade. He replies, “a 70” and they laugh. He immediately responds, “at least I passed.” Isn’t that really what’s important? That you make the grade. That you recall everything you have learned and have done your best?
Admittedly, these are difficult times for everyone everywhere, but why are we surprised? Jesus warned His Disciples that times would be hard and that their faith would be tested. Tests, even for Christian believers are hard, but they are necessary to check and assess our spiritual growth and to measure our faith. In essence, to prove whether we truly believe what we profess or simply profess that we believe.
Through the years, I have discovered that God works best in difficult times. I have found too, that no matter what I am going through, God has already made a way for me. I have no doubt that I have been anointed to finish my course and I will never quit. In fact, I have been through too much to give up now. Friends, storms will come, so you might as well prepare. I am sure we would prefer they didn’t, but it is not our destiny for God to remove obstacles from our lives. That’s our desire. Grace is our destiny. The One who allows our tests also proctors and grades them. And one thing I can tell you with assurance is that not only is our God fair but is faithful!
Tests, trials, and especially storms, are to strengthen our faith in the One who controls all things. Strangely enough, there are lessons in every painful circumstance, situation, and trying moment. Life is a grand classroom of learning experiences. We must be attentive and study, study, study because there will be no makeup exams or “do overs.”
Once we know something, we become accountable for what we know and at various points in life we will be tested on that knowledge. The grade will not matter. What will matter is that we have done our best on the test. “Testing times” are times to realize that the God who brought us through one test, if God wills, can bring us through the next and the next. And if we have faithfully done our very best, then we can look for the greatest passing grade — Well done!!
The “enemy of our souls” told Job (one of God’s great men of faith), “I am going to break you with your test,” but God said, “No, I’m going to make you with it.” Job excelled to the end, graduated with Honors, and assures us with his enduring testimony, “He knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold.” Job 23:10 (NIV)
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