The Never-Ending Tests of Life!

“Life on this earth is a brief pilgrimage between two moments of nakedness.” (John Stott)

Job put it this way: “Naked came I from my mother's womb, and naked shall I return there. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away: Blessed be the name of the Lord.”

There is nothing new under the sun according to Solomon and that includes the trials that come into our life; furthermore, I am sure I am not going to write anything new on the subject, and if you are like me you would prefer to think about something else. But nobody is exempt. I don't know anyone who has had a “perfect” life, nor have I read a biography of a life like that. I would be willing to bet that if you are reading this you have recently gone or are presently going through a difficult time of some degree. It could be only God knows; you have confided in Him alone. You are blessed indeed if you have the benefit of a close friend that you trust.

 

To persevere through a stressful testing with an understanding that God has a specific purpose in it and trusting that it is for our good as well as honoring to Him makes it so much easier for God to guide us and help us through pitfalls and detours that can rob us of our joy and peace and even destroy our testimony. It is so easy to be blindsided when our minds stray where they shouldn't!

Deuteronomy 8:2 gives a clue to understanding one of God's reasons for testing. He is speaking to the Israelites, but this bit of Scripture tells us that God puts great value on loyalty and obedience and He hasn't changed in that respect. “You shall remember that the Lord your God led you all the way these forty years in the wilderness, to humble you and test you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not.”

Then we go to the New Testament where James through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit wrote to encourage the believers in his day who were suffering; telling them to be patient, steadfast, and to endure. His book is full of instruction, information, and advice that is good for us. The Greek word for trial in James 1;2 is “peirasmos” which means a trial or testing directed towards an end.

Again, this is not new to most of you, but from examples in Scripture we know that trials come into our lives as a result of wrong decisions we make (Jonah), the actions of others (Joseph), the direct hand of God (Job). We can usually figure out the trials that come from the first two, but it is sometimes hard to grasp God purposely bringing or allowing into our lives what in some cases is tragedy, and these cases have embittered many. It is hard to understand that without these trials, without our faith being tested, because that is what it is happening, we will not mature and develop the character that God wants for us. He is investing Himself in our lives. We are told in James 1:12 that “Blessed is the man who endures temptation, for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.”

God has no beginning or ending; there are no boundaries of time for Him. He takes a personal interest in developing His children into sons and daughters fit for an eternity that will never end. It is hard for us who are living in a world confined by time and space to keep that truth before us but remember this verse in Hebrews 12; “Let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of God.”

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