“Test me, O Lord, and try me, examine my heart and my mind’ for your love is ever before me, and I walk continually in your truth.” (Psalm 26)
Who really enjoys taking a test? Not me, that’s for sure. My palms become sweaty, my body temperature begins to rise along with my pulse. I become anxious, restless, and have a difficult time trying to focus. It’s a nervousness that I have had to overcome ever since I was a kid.
So, what exactly is the purpose of a test? As a teacher, I get that a lot. “Why do we have to take this test? What’s the point anyways?” “The point is this. How will I know what you know if I never assess the progress you are making as an individual?”
It’s the same with God. If he never tests us on what we have been practicing together, then how will he see if we even made progress on what he has been teaching us? For example, I am a patient person, and that is definitely not something that happened spontaneously or instantly. My patience had to be built over time and tested each step of the way. If progress had taken place and growth had been achieved then God could continue me on my journey, but if I failed the test then we go right back around the mountain and have more work to complete before I can show what all I learned.
I remember my teaching year of 2010-2011. It is the year that I cried out to God words that I knew would require several quizzes, tests, and a final project from me all assessed by Him.
“Change me Lord.”
“Search me, O God, and know my heart, test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” (Psalm 139:28-29)
Once uttered, I knew I was in for a ride and that was the truth. The year of a desired change brought forth false accusations on my teaching, an uproar in my marriage, and a test of my patience on a daily basis. Yet, through it all I endured and was able to emerge out of the fire refined and purified. Without this purification process, my patience would have failed and I would not have become the person that I am today.
“This third I will bring into the fire; I will refine them like silver and test them like gold. (Zechariah 13: 9)