Life’s Tests – Taught Lessons!
You know, life is funny and the older I get the funnier it gets!
In so many instances, we were taught ‘Study your lessons; get up your lessons, so you will be ready for the tests.’
Sometimes a test came in the form of a pop quiz, sometimes a semi-final test and finally a final test.
What you had studied and prepared for usually comprised the exams, so you were prepared, if you studied.
Not so with life! The tests come to teach life’s lessons!
Sometimes we expect a test due to an unwise choice we might have made; then again life’s tests just come—because it’s LIFE.
Many times we are totally taken aback as to the contents of the test.
We are not prepared; we have not given some tests any forethought. Much like a tsunami or a hurricane; these are most times considered an act of God.
Well, you know what? Life’s tests are an act of God also.
God is not bad, He does not do bad things, but His sovereign will allows all sorts of calamities and woes to come our way as a test…why? Granted, they are allowed for the sole purpose to teach a lesson.
Much like it is in school, if you fail because you are not prepared or did not study, you can sometimes retake a test to see if you can improve your grade.
With life’s tests we can do the same. We may fail, but we do not have to be failures; unless we so choose. We can go back to the cross, back to the mercy seat, the grace pool, (not the hot seat, not the cesspool). The God of heaven is always waiting to help us learn the lesson He knows is applicable from the tests He allows to come our way.
See, we are finite…God is infinite. He is from everlasting to everlasting.
God is omniscient, all knowing. He knows whether or not a test will make us or break us.
God is omnipresent, everywhere present. He is right there when the test comes, watching our reactions and our success or failure in approaching the test with faith or fear, fortitude or fretting.
And last but not least, God is omnipotent, all powerful.
He will never allow a test greater than we are able to bear. It may seem at times we can not stand the test any longer. Some don’t, sad to say, they end their life or thumb their nose at God, turn and walk away, never to be reconciled to His love, mercy and grace. But His power will rescue us if we do as David did on so many occasions—have a broken and contrite spirit, have a spirit of humiliation, have a submission to the test time rather than a rebellious, self-will attitude.
Just because you find yourself in the midst of testing doesn’t mean you are out of the will of God. Some seek recluse at testing times, hoping to escape the peer pressure of fellow believers and critics alike.
As were the friends of Job, they were skeptical and found fault with Job during his crisis stating that apparently he was out of the will of God, sinning big time, bringing all his calamities upon himself, actually as a favorite line states, “Well, so and so deserves what they are going through. They asked for it!”
No, many times the test is not sent to one simply because they deserve it.
Job certainly didn’t deserve what he went through (with one exception I must state that applies to us many times—Job 3:25: he said that thing which he greatly feared had come upon him). Yet God was very cognizant that Job would maintain his integrity and grit, even if it meant denying the words of his friends. He had to rise above the peer pressure, the accusations, the ridicule, every imaginable thing that his so-called friends could muster up to speak to him.
Somehow in the midst of his daily prayers for his family and his lifestyle he spoke of fear of loss---Prov.18:21 says, ‘death and life are in the power of the tongue…’so God allowed Him to experience that thing, fear of loss, that he no doubt had spoken of many times.
Throughout the book of Job we read the words of a desperate man, but he never failed in his absolute—the sovereignty of God and the faithfulness of God, amid his unfaithfulness.
We may sin intentionally, unintentionally, consistently, occasionally, but that doesn’t mean we are erased from the memory of God. NO! The blood that Jesus shed is continually available to cleanse us from all sin, and move us from the testing arena to a refreshing arena.
I will inject a couple of poems that seem befitting to this topic of life’s tests:
Once again the trials come to sway my faith and view,
Once again the doubts arise and life seems without clue
Even though the truth prevails and ultimately I know,
I'll walk the straight and narrow path, now which way do I go?
The night is dark and on this trail seems I am all alone,
Yet deep within my heart I know your presence's never gone
But once again it seems the load is more than I can bear,
And then within the darkness You say, 'Cast on me your care'.
Once again I'm reassured this too shall pass away,
If somehow I will not depend on flesh as arm of stay
For in the midst of trials, doubts and loneliness I find,
Your faithfulness will bring to me the needed peace of mind!
So once again I lay myself prostrate before you now,
Seeking your forgiveness, tender mercies shown somehow
For greater is the need of You than is the need of me,
I lay it all down at your feet again to be set free!
Once again let faith arise and bring about your peace,
For when your peace prevails all doubts & sorrows have to cease
You are the great I AM and with You all things can be done,
So once again I walk in light, the light of your dear Son!
You Can Make It!
Your life is in God’s hands each day,
He's shaping it just now-
And though He may seem far away,
He spins the wheel somehow!
For like the clay the Potter holds,
Your life is fragile still-
Hard knocks in life will crack the mold,
In hopes to mar your will!
But you can make it, this I'm sure,
The Potter will repair
Your life in time and make it pure,
So cast on Him your care!
He'll take away the guilt and pain,
And mend your broken heart-
That which seemed lost will be your gain,
You'll find a brand new start!
Yes, you can make it if you give,
The Potter all of you-
Make Him the reason that you live,
And share His love so true !
D. S. Mullis
I am convinced that our perspective is the key to how life’s tests are overcome. If we speak words negatively, the test will seem even harder than it is intended to be. If we speak words positively, being absolute of our faith that God will triumph in our lives in the end, then the test will seem easier.
So evaluate your life, just as I have mine. Make an assessment of the tests that you have had to endure…did you fail, or as I like to put it of myself so often, fall in the ditch? Or did you persevere and ride out the storm looking for the rainbow?
Face it, friend, life is full of tests, for there are lessons to be learned constantly in this walk with God toward eternity. Each time we pass a test, we are able to climb up on another rung of the ladder toward our eternal reward. Each time we fail, we have to go back to the cross for a second chance.
The story was told once, and again I cannot accredit it to anyone other than anonymous, because I don’t know who the author was, about a man who was a ventriloquist. His dummy’s name was Larry (for the sake of a name, I don’t remember the actual name used in the story). Larry told his friend, the ventriloquist, that he had a dream one night and was climbing a tall ladder that went up toward heaven. He said when he started to climb, St. Peter gave him a piece of chalk. He asked St. Peter what was the chalk for. As St. Peter smiled, he told Larry that each time he came upon a sin that he had committed on a rung of the ladder, he wanted him to mark it out with the chalk. So Larry said he started climbing and marking. In a few minutes this preacher friend of his passed Larry, climbing the ladder faster. Larry asked the preacher, Bro. Evans (again for the sake of a name, I don’t remember the actual name used in the story) how he was going so fast. He told Larry he didn’t have that many sins thus far to mark out. After a while, Larry tired from climbing and marking so he stopped for a breather. Then he saw Bro. Evans coming back down the ladder. Larry was bewildered and told Bro. Evans he was going in the wrong direction. Bro. Evans said in a whisper that he had to go back down; he had run out of chalk!
The analogy here is that we all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. No matter who we are or from whence we came, we all are in the same boat—we need a Savior who can rescue us from the tests of life…or else we will run out of chalk before we get to the top!
So, let’s keep climbing. The tests are an inevitable part of life; the outcome depends upon our willingness to continually strive for another rung of the ladder. The lessons that will be learned will outweigh the struggles that testing will afford. Plus, you will have a greater testimony to the overcoming power that can reside in your heart, if you will allow your perspective to never move you away from the cross.
As one person said, ‘You can’t have a testimony without a test and you can’t have a message without a mess!”
God help us to realize: Life’s Tests—Taught Lessons!