When you face a life situation that is challenging and confronting it makes you draw on everything you know
This third I will bring into the fire;
I will refine them like silver
and test them like gold. (NIV Bible)
Explore: Ask any student if they look forward to the times of testing and I would guarentee you that 9 out of 10 will say 'no'. One of my least favourite exams was during my Theological degree when I had to study Greek. I can remember sitting at my desk just moments before my final exam and praying that prayer that God heard from me before every exam: "Lord, if I could just pass this one then, instead of having to focus on studying, I could focus on my ministry and working for you!!" Now, I don't recall a lot of what was on that exam but I do remember what the principal, who was overseeing the exam, said just before we started: "All the best students, and just think, this very moment you probably know the most Greek you will ever know." And she was so correct. With all the cramming of study I had done before the exam, I had improved (if only slightly) on the knowledge I had gained during classes and yet as soon as I finished the exam I have gradually lost most of the Greek I had learned. But in that moment of testing, I was able to draw on all the learning I had done throughout the year.
Application: It's the same when we endure times of testing in other areas of life. I'm not talking about answering multiple choice questions or writing an essay, I'm talking about when you face a life situation that is challenging and confronting and makes you draw on everything you know. And, unlike questions in an exam, often these life challenges don't have a straight forward answer. However, when we get through a challenge and look back at what we've endured, often we can see how we've grown and developed personally through the situation. I don't believe that God wants us to suffer or grieve, but I do think He can assist us to become refined and wiser when we have to endure those times of suffering.
Prayer: Lord, often it's hard to see the silver lining when the clouds seem so grey. Help me to always focus on you, even during times of testing. Amen.
This article was written by Linda Bailey
Linda started theological studies in 1999 in Australia. After working for ten years in various church ministries, she now works as the breakfast producer at 89.9 LightFM - the Christian radio station in Melbourne, Australia. She writes blogs every day about passages she is currently reading in the Bible. Follow her on Google Plus +Linda Bailey or Facebook by clicking the like button on the right of this page.