God’s unique expression of love for us includes tests that will bring out our true nature, to then expose it to Him and to ourselves, so we can realize that without Him we are nothing, that we need a Savior and that we need to surrender it all to Him. Regardless of their purpose, tests, however, are usually not easy to take. Some of us have high levels of test-taking-anxiety and the sole mention of the word “test” gives us the jitters.
As a teacher, I know that I have to assess my students’ progress somehow. One of the main ways I use to evaluate them is by giving them lots of tests. The process is a bit different, though. I generally teach the lesson first and then give a test to see how much my students have still to learn (as every teacher knows most students hardly ever come fully prepared to a test; therefore, the test result is an indication or a measure of how much they have yet to study).
God is the Great Teacher. As such, He is constantly presenting lessons that we need to master. The only thing is that most of God’s assessment comes to us before we truly understand the lesson. In my case, I almost inevitably score a shameful “criteria not met” the very first time…the very first many times… Eventually, though not always, I begin to see the lesson appear, followed by another test, then more teaching, and then another test until I finally, hopefully, learn whatever it is He is teaching me. You would think this reverse protocol would be more effective because of the shock value. In my case…not so much…
For instance, I think God has been teaching me a lesson on trust for quite a LONG time...needless to say, I have yet to master it. Almost every test I have been facing during the last couple of years has had trust as its main theme. I am a bit embarrassed to admit that I keep re-taking the test on this subject over and over and over again…for I have proven a slow learner. With each test, fear, doubt and anxiety continue to creep up…and I am exhausted.
Today, though I can honestly say I perceive a change. I am not on the same spot I was way back when I first began this period of testing. I look back and I see that with each test God has taken me along a path of progress. He has showed me that the result is not the point. He knows how many times I have to re-take the exam until I pass it…so a sense of guilt should not overwhelm me. The important thing is that with each try, I get closer to where I will one day be…to where He will one day take me…and the assurance of this truth fills my heart with peace.
I praise the Lord for the evidence that shows I may, finally be starting to get it (I guess I’m not that different from my students since I have much to learn still). I sure pray I learn this lesson well and fast because I do not want to take the test again.
Today I cling to this Scripture:
Praise our God, all peoples,
let the sound of his praise be heard;
9he has preserved our lives
and kept our feet from slipping.
10For you, God, tested us;
you refined us like silver.
11You brought us into prison
and laid burdens on our backs.
12You let people ride over our heads;
we went through fire and water,
but you brought us to a place of abundance.
Psalm 66 8-12