Raise your virtual hand if you like taking tests. Seeing as most of my friends and followers are normal (I assume :)), I am going to say that I didn’t see any takers. Most of us, in fact, dread taking tests. The anxiety endured, time spent studying, and difficult nature all make them quite unappealing. But no matter how hard we try, they aren’t going to just go away. And contrary to our beliefs, they don’t end when school ends. “Life lessons” is just the words we use to disguise what we really know are the “real-life” tests.
So that begs the question – how are we to get through the tests of life when we don’t have a study guide, or an email from the teacher? We don’t have a group to meet with, or class notes. What now?
“When you are going through something hard and wonder where God is, remember the teacher is always quiet during a test.”
This one rocked my world when I first saw it. The times in life where you are really knocked to your knees and are begging God for Him to take care of everything are indeed the times that we are essentially asking our professor to give us a cheat sheet. Of course we all do this anyways, because God is not going to strike down upon us with vengeance if and when we ask for His help. This is clearly not the type of God to whom we devote our lives. However, we’ve probably all been at times in our lives where we just throw our hands up to the sky and cry “Why me?!”
The exact instant when you feel like God has abandoned you and you want to say “Why me?!,” think of the immense love that He has for you. His intentions are greater than anything we could dream of with our human imaginations. These are the times when you are essentially in God’s classroom, taking a test. God is the professor sitting at the desk, watching over his students but not hinting about any of the answers. The frustration that we experience when God doesn’t just immediately send down an owl with a letter that answers our lives problems is something that, if we can control, we will learn from.
These points of challenge, these life tests, are the ones that shape us. They mold us, making us ready for the next one that comes along. And while it is unnerving that at these extremely difficult times we feel alone, God allows this only so that we learn how strong we really are. How beautiful is that? I can tell you that I have learned and grown more from the most terrible and difficult experiences in my life than the happiest ones. The times in which I was stretched thin and challenged, the times where I felt used and broken, and the times in which I doubted myself but ended up persevering? Those are the times that make me the person I am today – whoever that is! The hard times end up making the path for the good ones. We just have to keep that in mind. Pass the test, and enjoy the rest.
Have you had a test recently? Did you just get out of one? Or do you foresee one coming up on your life’s syllabus? Take the time to prepare! Pray, discern, think about the ways in which you can work to be as ready as possible when the time comes. God is perpetually with us, but in these times of challenge, it is up to us to “take the ball and run with it.”
So a verse for ya to close you out for the night: “Oh Lord, You have searched me and You know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; You perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; You are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue, You know it completely, O Lord.” – Psalms 139:1-3 (And what does this mean? He’s seen the test, and knows what we are going to get on it. Sweet!)