There’s a scary verse that we just heard from the Book of Genesis. I wonder if you picked it up. Here it is: “God put Abraham to the test”. Yikes! The idea of being put to the test or having to deal with a trial is not something that we are attracted to—that’s not the line we want to be standing in! But, there are times when we do find ourselves in that line.
You might say to yourself, but I thought that we were promised that Jesus would take care of us, so why the trials—why the test? Didn’t St Paul write: “And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”?
But I think it is safe to say that with a promise comes a condition. The condition for this promise is that you have to trust in God. The more you trust Him, the more God is able to meet needs in your life. The more we learn to trust in God the more he can help us in our life. The thing is, we have to have greater faith. How do we increase our faith? One spiritual writer put it this way:
“You don’t get faith by sitting in a Bible study group or just talking about it. (Those can be a help, but there’s another step) Faith is like a muscle; it develops by being used. The more you use your faith, the more it gets stretched. And the more it gets stretched, the more God is able to bless your life. We call the circumstances (that God creates) to stretch our faith “trials”. St Peter writes: “These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold.”
Let me offer you two kinds of “tests” that we might experience in life:
First there’s the “Pressure Test” which asks a question: “How will you handle stress?” Will you depend on yourself, or will you depend on God? Do you turn to God when you’re in trouble or do you turn to other things?
Then there’s the People Test. God often uses people in your life to test and stretch and develop your faith. This kind of test often asks the question, “How will you handle disappointment?”
Life is often disappointing. Careers, marriages and plans don’t turn out the way we expected them to turn out. We can even be disappointed by the people in our life. Why is this? We can be disappointed by people because we expect them to meet a need that only God himself can meet. In times like this we are being tested. So the problem isn’t so much the people in your life. Your problem is your response to the people in your life. In the end people are not the problem, and they are not the answer to the problem, either. The answer is God. You can’t necessarily expect other people to be your savior.
We are told in Scripture (Jeremiah), “Blessed are those who trust in the Lord and have made the Lord their hope.” When we trust in God we will not be disappointed.
Tests/trials can lead to transformation—and to a better “us”, and a better “me”. Ask for the grace to trust in the promises of the Lord and be transformed—one day at a time. Learn to look at life with Christ’s eyes and not just your own.
In the face of the tests of life a 19th century preach said this: “I have learned to kiss the wave that throws me into the Rock of Ages”.