I’ve never been able to take test well. In college I can remember sweating bullets at my desk trying to answer questions that I knew I’d studied only to find myself remembering them later as I walked across campus to my room. (Yes, this was back when test were on paper, not a computer, and we lived in very small dorm rooms, not cute little apartments—times have changed!!!) To this day I still panic when I have to take any kind of test.
But whether I like it or not, life is full of test too—not the kind you write answers on paper or type on the keyboard of a tablet or computer, but the kind that you pass or fail with decisions, thoughts, actions, and words.
Jeremiah had a conversation with God about test. Here’s part of that conversation:
“But, O Lord of hosts,
You who judge righteously,
Testing the mind and the heart, . . . ” (Jer. 11:20).
“But You, O Lord, know me;
You have seen me,
And you have tested my heart toward You.” (Jer. 12:3).
In Genesis we read about Abraham and his son Isaac.
“Some time later God tested Abraham. He said to him, ‘Abraham!’ ‘Here I am,’ he replied. Then God said, Take your son, your only son, whom you love—Isaac—and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on a mountain I will show you,” (Gen. 22:1, 2).
I’m sure none of us have been asked by God to sacrifice a child we love as a burnt offering on a mountain, but God was testing Abraham and He can still test us today.
What God is saying:
I know, I wondered the same thing. Why would God want to test us? According to Deut. 8:2 we see why. “Remember how the Lord your God led you all the way in the wilderness these forty years, to humble and test you to know what was in your heart, . . .”
David’s son, King Solomon, wrote that everything flows from the heart—“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it” (Prov. 4:23). God already knows what’s in our hearts, but He wants us to know. We can go through easy times, not being pressed, and manipulate good things in our heart to trickle out for others to see. Like it or not, we’re like sponges—when pressed, whatever is in the sponge comes flowing out. When we’re pressed, whatever is in our hearts comes flowing out.
What’s Our Response?
Do you feel pressed and stressed because of what you are going through? What’s flowing from your heart today?
Bitterness — Love — Anger — Peace — Unforgiveness — Humility — Sorrow — Jealousy — Arrogance — Pride — Joy — Anxiousness — Kindness — Grief — Patience — Pain — Hate — Hope — Contentment — Fear
If we really want to know what’s in our heart, the best thing for us to do is ask. David was a man after God’s own heart. Let’s see how he asked God to help him find out what was in his own heart.
Psa. 26:2 – “Test me, Lord, and try me, examine my heart and my mind;”
Psa. 139:23 – “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.”
God loves us and wants to encourage us. No, He isn’t asking us to sacrifice our child like He did Abraham, but He’s still testing us. The heart holds what’s important to us. As we go through each day, God wants to reveal what’s really hidden deep in our hearts and make us aware of these things.
How are you handling all the changes and challenges that are before us? There’s a lot going on . . . Covid-19 virus, wearing mask in the hot summer, social distancing that continues to change the way we interact with others, rioting, civil unrest, upcoming election, and I could go on and on. And you could be dealing with trials on a more personal level. For my husband and me it’s continuing to be care-givers for his elderly father who is bed-ridden. There are others things going on in our lives right now that are pressing me, testing me, and making me examine myself.
As Jeremiah says, the Lord knows me (and you) and He will, if He hasn’t already, tested us so we can see what’s in our hearts and if our hearts are towards Him.
I’ve been asking God as David did, for Him to search me. He knows my heart, but I want Him to show me what is hidden. He also knows my anxious thoughts. Daily I make an attempt to turn these thoughts over to Him.
What do I hear when I call out to God as I go through this test? I hear Him say,
“TRUST ME, BETH!”
I do, and I will. It has taken these test for me to realize that I in fact do trust Him, but that I’m also fearful and anxious at times. Knowing this I can now come boldy before His throne without any pretense and ask for help.
No, I still don’t like to take test, but if it’s one my Heavenly Father is giving me to allow me to become closer to Him and to mold me to become more like His Son, Jesus well . . . I will gladly take this test.
All Scripture from New King James Version (NKJV).