Spiritual Message

The Lord Tests Us

Greetings my brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus.  May The Lord bless you and pour His grace upon you and your loved ones.

Several years ago we received a request from a woman who had been a loving servant of God prior to being struck down by a dreadful affliction.  Many would curse The Lord for a fate as horrible as the one that was visited upon her, for we are but mere mortals and have difficulty understanding the workings of God.  All of us have probably heard comments such as, ''Why would a loving God allow His people to suffer so?''

Let us turn our attention to the Bible to see what it has to say about such things, for it is the source of insight into The Lord's ways.  The Word plainly tells us that God tests our hearts.  1 Thessalonians 2:4 (NRSV) says, ''But just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the message of the Gospel, even so we speak, not to please mortals, but to please God, who tests our hearts.''  This thought is also mentioned in Proverbs 17:3 (NRSV), which notes, ''The crucible is for silver and the furnace is for gold, but The Lord tests the heart.''

Why would God test our hearts?  Let us look once again to the Bible for its explanation.  Psalms 66:10-12 (NRSV) says, ''For you, O God, have tested us; you have tried us as silver is tried.  You brought us into the net; you laid burdens on our backs; you let people ride over our heads; we went through fire and through water; yet you have brought us out to a spacious place.''  Based upon this, we can see that God's testing refines us and makes us better.  Ultimately, He causes us to be lifted to a higher and better place, which, after all, is our goal in eternity.

There are many instances of testing related in the Bible, but two of these are well known to many.  First, there is the testing of Job, whose outlook upon his suffering is told in Job 23:10 (NRSV): ''But He knows the way that I take; when He has tested me, I shall come out like gold.''

This is not conventional human thinking!  Many would not see Job's trials as a blessing, but a curse.

Secondly, God tested Abraham to see if he would obey Him by asking Abraham to offer his son Isaac as a burnt offering, knowing that there was nothing more dear to Abraham's heart.  Yet, Abraham was willing to follow The Lord's request without question.

James 1:2 (NRSV) provides us with insight into why Job and Abraham were willing to bear the heavy burdens of God's testing.  It tells us, ''My brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of any kind, consider it nothing but joy, because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance, and let that endurance have its full effect, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking in nothing.''  Through this, we are taught to persevere in our faith, which is one of the reasons we are tried.

Other reasons for our testing are brought to light in Deuteronomy 8:2 (NRSV), which states, ''Remember the long way that The Lord your God has led you these forty years in the wilderness, in order to humble you, testing you to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep His commandments.''

Once again, this points out a searching of our hearts.  On this occasion, for humility and to see if God's commandments would be obeyed.

Lastly, and most importantly, Deuteronomy 13:3 (NRSV) relates, ''You must not heed the words of those prophets, or those who divine by dreams, for The Lord your God is testing you to know whether you indeed love The Lord your God with all your heart and soul.''

These are points regarding testing of which many of us are aware.  However, sometimes it is good to hear things we have heard before from another source in order that they might be impressed upon our mind.  Confirmation can do wonders toward awakening--or reawakening--our thinking.  We pray that this is of comfort to those who have been, or are being tested.

May God bless you and your loved ones.

Your humble servant in Christ.

--Richard J. Ferris



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Christian Internet Ministry
Green Valley, Arizona, USA