“This is a test. For the next sixty seconds, this station will conduct a test of the Emergency Broadcast System. This is only a test.“
“Life is a test and I am writing this to give you further information. Believe me, none of us want to fail the only test that will matter in the end.”
We have all heard the irritating sound that warns us a test is coming. To ease our minds, it tells us twice that it’s only a test. However, sometimes a real emergency is happening so the sound is used to get our attention for further information.
Life is a test and I am writing this to give you further information. Believe me, none of us want to fail the only test that will matter in the end.
“What happens around us every single day is either transforming us into the image of God from one degree of glory to another, or revealing the truth about who we really are…”
Every single day, we have the opportunity to pass with flying colors or fail miserably. The test comes in the most ordinary of ways. It comes through circumstances. What happens around us every single day is either transforming us into the image of God from one degree of glory to another, or revealing the truth about who we really are… faithless creatures who are bitter at both our circumstances and the God who has the power to change them.
“We can judge those people harshly but we are those people.”
Reading through the book of Exodus is an indictment on humanity as a whole. We can judge those people harshly but we are those people. The Israelites were slaves to the Egyptians for over 400 years. They were treated horribly and God heard their cries, sent Moses to deliver them, decimated the most powerful nation on the planet and let His people march out of Egypt with heads held high. What a story and what a God! Can you imagine being the recipient and an eyewitness to such miracles? Nothing like that has happened before or since. After seeing the strength, love and power of God in tangible ways, it would stand to reason the rest of their lives would be smooth sailing.
They got what we all crave:
- Proof of God’s existence.
- Proof that He cares.
- Proof that He has all power and cannot be stopped by any human, no matter how powerful.
Did it change these people into God-loving, God-fearing, obedient children? Hmmm, it did for the moment. They sang and praised God and professed their love and trust for Him. They thought, “Smooth sailing from here on out. We’ve got God, the Promised Land is only a few days away. Milk and honey are going to be our future.”
“They were blind to the condition of their own hearts. Guess what? So are you and so am I.”
They thought they loved God. They had no idea the deadly betrayal that lay in their hearts. They had no idea of their cravings, their sensuality and how totally unfit they were to truly benefit from all God longed to bless them with. They were blind to the condition of their own hearts. Guess what? So are you and so am I.
God, being the Great Physician, knows what is inside of us, killing us every single day. He is much more interested in our spiritual health than He is any other thing. He knows that if He can get us to the place of knowing Him and truly trusting Him, life will be a perpetual Promised Land… even in the desert.
But oh how we resist His ways. We think our circumstances and the people around us are our roadblock to a happy and faith-filled life. God knows circumstances and people are the most powerful way to show us the treachery living inside of us. When circumstances and people take all our joy and make us bitter, it is a revelation of our heart problems and nothing else.
Thank God we can’t change people to suit us or our whole circle of influence would be little minions. We are all dictators who would crush every undesirable and hard circumstance (and people if we are honest) if we had the power.
“Every test God brings is an opportunity to know who He is and what He is capable of.”
God, in His infinite wisdom, uses very hard circumstances and people to test us. He knows what to do in every single situation and He has wonderful things in store in everything we go through. Every test God brings is an opportunity to know who He is and what He is capable of. Every. Single. Time. Why does it not seem that way? Because we are grumblers.
The Israelites, after coming out of Egypt, were tested many times. They failed every single test. They were redeemed by God Almighty, had a Spirit led leader to take them into The Promised Land, a Cloud to guide them by day and Fire by night, manna from heaven and Water from a Rock. Yet, any hardship they came against didn’t make them breathless with anticipation of how God was going to deliver them, they grumbled and grew bitter.
“In His great love, He doesn’t give us what we want, He gives us what is best.”
God could have led them straight to The Promised Land and never tested them. If He had, The Promised Land would have only fed their sensual pleasures and made them turn completely on God. He knew that.
In His great love, He doesn’t give us what we want, He gives us what is best. He is a good Father. If earthly parents understood that simple truth, the world would be a different place. People give their kids everything they desire and are surprised when they grow up and don’t even like them anymore. Our children’s true nature is exposed by when we tell them “no,” not when they get what they want.
We are selfish creatures and God longs to bless us as He did Adam and Eve in the garden. He longs to give us access to everything around us except what will hurt us. He told them they could eat of every single tree but one. He is a God of ‘yes and amen.” But, until He tests us, lets us see what we are made of and disciplines us, He can’t give us what He desires.
Remember how the Lord your God led you all the way in the wilderness these forty years, to humble and test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands.
“Until we have needs that only God can meet, we will never know He can.”
Thank God for this passage of scripture. It shows us God brings great need into our lives and it is to test us and humble us. We will never know God unless life is more than we can handle. Until we have needs that only God can meet, we will never know He can. Take your safe life… give me the God of the Bible. Give me the God who lets me have no food and no water so I can watch Him rain down manna, do the impossible and bring water from a rock. Those were not small needs, they needed both food and water to live and God did it.
They preferred the slavery and safety of Egypt over an unknown future with the God of abundance. We can think they’re fools, but we often function the same way.
Paul even wrote all about them in 1 Corinthians 10:6:
These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the culmination of the ages has come.
God made sure we could read all about what happened to them as an example and a warning. People don’t change. We are just like them and it takes God’s Spirit and many tests for us to see that truth.
Take it from me, God will not make our lives easy. He will make them hard if we are going to follow Him. He will make sure there are things in our lives that terrify us. Why? It is a test, to see what is really inside of us. Of course, He already knows. The test is so we will know.
“Everything happens through a change of mind, not a change of circumstance.”
When hard things come, look up and say, “God, I’m so afraid and I wish this wasn’t happening. However, nothing can touch me until it first passes through your hands. Even though this circumstance is bad, you are good and this is going to show me your glory. I don’t have to understand. I am only asked to trust in your care for me and your goodness. Oh God, take me on the adventure you built me for. I thank you that through this very thing, I am going to know You on a whole new level. That’s worth anything I have to go through!”
Everything happens through a change of mind, not a change of circumstance. When your mind changes, your circumstance becomes a gateway to the glory of God.
Proverbs 31:25 says:
She is clothed with strength and dignity,
and she laughs without fear of the future.
It doesn’t say she has faith, it goes even further, it says she laughs.
That word in Hebrew literally means “to laugh.” It can also be translated as, “amuse, celebrate, joking, merrymakers….” No way around it. This woman is not worried, she is winsome and not heavy hearted. Is it because she can’t see reality? Never! It’s because she looks at reality and then looks at God. That makes her laugh! Reality is no match for her God.
That’s passing the test.