When Testings Come

The subject of biblical testing at the initiation of God is one of fleeting understanding. In fact, this author wrote a short commentary on “Job” a few years ago, only to wonder, today, if there was any accuracy in the insight. I am thinking of writing a revision.

I had discussed “sense evaluation” as a target of God’s testing, which I still hold to be true. God’s servant in Isaiah 11: 3, judged not “after the sight of his eyes, neither reproved after the hearing of his ears” — a prophetic passage pointing to Christ. The reference refers to temporal thinking which, again, God targets for exposure and ultimate removal. God seeks to orient us to the eternal. Our degree of Spiritual content through the intake of God’s Word reveals itself in the trial.

In his booklet, “When Testings Come,” Pastor Carl H. Stevens writes that in tests “God watches six areas of our lives”

  • What I think in the test
  • How I feel in the test
  • What I do while the test is going on
  • How I respond to God in the test
  • How I react to people
  • How I treat people when I am being tested

So. How did we measure up? In my case, I chocked up six failures and I think Job did also in his much larger trial. Frankly, my thoughts have often become totally pre-occupied with panic, woe, anger, fear, or etc. etc. Feelings go out of control, and I have thrown things, punched walls, stayed in bed for hours or days, cussed up a storm, or etc., etc. Natural thinking has placed God in opposition — He is obviously angry with me. People? Get out of the way, I will blame you or treat you as part of the severe occurrences happening.

“People become spiritually stagnant under tests. …They turn inward and become self conscious instead of God conscious. …A wall of protection goes up, isolating and restricting flow of the river of life to the conscious and unconscious mind” (Stevens).

We question, why is this happening? The average believer does not understand “testing.” “We will be tested and we cannot escape what our hearts will do when we are tested” (Stevens).

Tests are for our growth, they help us grow, they measure growth. There are tests of poverty and those of prosperity, sickness, loss, Satanic warfare, and relationship tests. Some tests weaken us physically, some spiritually or mentally.

The sifting of Peter and the disciples offers us a great New Testament example.

Luke 22:31  begins the story. “And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat:  But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren. And he said unto him, Lord, I am ready to go with thee, both into prison, and to death. And He said, I tell thee, Peter, the cock shall not crow this day, before that thou shalt thrice deny that thou knowest me. “

  1. First: Satan was involved here. Peter was unaware. (and so Job)
  2. Second, Peter was oblivious to what was in his own heart.
  3. third, Jesus knew what was in his heart. (still trusted him with the test.)
  4. Fourth, Jesus knew how Peter would respond.

We also know: Peter would reveal a heart of cowardice and deny his Lord in the most critical time.

But the story ends on a good note. Jesus prays for Peter’s faith to not fail. Jesus predicts his conversion. Jesus sees the whole as a strengthening of Peter, and then the brethren.

Then , the beautiful passage of restoration comes.

When therefore they had dined, Jesus says to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas,

Lovest thou me more than these?

He says to him,

Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I am attached to thee.

He says to him,

Feed my lambs.

And again,

Shepherd my sheep.

And again.

Feed my sheep. John 21:15-17

Beloved, the end of a thing is better than the beginning. Take heart, God’s love never fails, we are in this together. Love ya

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