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Come hell or high water, the Lord is using this to transform you into His image.

This Is Only a Test

They invited him into their home while he found work and got established. For over a year he enjoyed a clean bedroom, a shower, and home-cooked meals, all free of charge. They took him with them to parties and church socials so he could meet others in the community; they even let him borrow the car when needed. He was not a son, but they treated him as one.

Then one day, after he’d moved into his own place, they found he’d no longer speak to them. They couldn’t understand what was wrong, and thought back through interactions trying to imagine what might have offended him. When they tried to talk with him, he refused to answer.

Did you ever have a person or situation in which you’d invested a great deal–perhaps put your own life on hold for them at times–and they didn’t appreciate you? Perhaps you showed kindness to someone and they flat out mistreated you in return.

The longer we live, the more opportunities we have to be hurt by others. Praise God! Why? Because these offenses are a mighty means for Him to bring about good in our lives.

Joseph, sold as a slave by his brothers, was so faithful to his Egyptian master that he was put in charge of the whole household. When Mrs. Potiphar made a pass at Joseph, then falsely accused him when he refused her, Joseph’s righteousness was repaid him by being thrown into a dungeon.

For 13 years he was imprisoned. When he helped a fellow inmate and that man was released, Joseph asked that he remember him. Unbelievably, the man forgot!

Psalm 105:17-19 says:

“Joseph, was sold as a slave.
They afflicted his feet with fetters,
He himself was laid in irons;
Until the time that his word came to pass,
The word of the Lord tested him.”

Notice, the word of the Lord tested Joseph. Joseph had already heard God speak destiny over him through dreams. But the further along he went, the more hopeless and implausible the word of God appeared. Yet the destiny of Egypt and of Israel, the welfare of Joseph’s family, as well as the entire Hebrew nation settling in the land and one day becoming the greatest picture of God’s salvation through their exodus, hinged on Joseph passing the test.

Did you ever stop to think that some of the trials you’re facing–especially the need to forgive hurts–are a form of testing that is preparing you for greatness? Have you considered that if God didn’t deal with your “self,” His gifts and promotions might be perilous to you because of your pride?

Take a look at Psalm 66:10-12:

“For You have tried us, O God; You have refined us as silver is refined.
You brought us into the net; You laid an oppressive burden upon our loins.
You made men ride over our heads; We went through fire and through water,
Yet You brought us out into a place of abundance.”

It may be hell or high water, as the Psalmist said, but do you see what comes after the trial? “You brought us out into a place of abundance” (v. 12). Just like Joseph, God is using the test to transform you into the character of Christ, outfitting you for glory.

Therefore in your struggle, whether to forgive or to trust, you can confidently give it over to the Lord, thanking Him for the opportunity to be transformed into His likeness with ever-increasing glory.
(2 Corinthians 3:18)

What area of your life is the Holy Spirit highlighting that might be a test? What is your response? Will you commit to passing the first time, or will you have to be tested again?

About Emily Tomko

Emily Tomko's radical encounter with the Lord while at a nightclub changed her life forever and inspired her first novel, College Bound: A Pursuit of Freedom. She is the author of seven books, including 31 Thoughts on Prophecy and Leaving the Shallows: igniting the faith that overcomes the world. Her tastes tend toward vintage and she's a Germanophile, having spent a year in Bremen and Nuremberg. Emily loves the scriptures and writes with fierce compassion and a deep desire to see people freed from the miry clay of this world and walking in the truth.

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10 comments

  1. Hi Emily, you asked for dreams awhile back. Here is one if you’d like to post it. I also have photos to illustrate it. It seems to go along with your wonderful article above!

    Dream: Test of the Hall of Mirrors

    Kathie Luther
    Sept. 20, 2002

    Many dreams I remember in great detail, not this one. It was just a snippet of information. I want to encourage you to keep track of everything no matter how small even if it is just one word, a number by itself, or a clue like this one to get me to seek the Lord for the meaning. If it is from God, He will reveal it to you.

    I was staying overnight at a friend’s house and had this dream. It is important to bring your dream journal with you to record everything.

    I saw my friend and her pastor talking to each other. This dream seemed to go on all night. The only thing I remember is my friend talking about a test of the hall or mirrors to the pastor.

    Meaning: Wow! Not much to go on. I wondered how do I pass this test? What is the test? Nothing more came to my understanding until 4 months later when I heard a man with the same name as my friend’s pastor preach. He said, “Reflect Christ! Be a mirror of God’s Word!”

    Think about it. You approach the entry point of the Hall of Mirrors. They give you plastic gloves to wear as you enter. You must feel the mirrors before walking into them thinking it is an open hall when it is a dead end. They don’t want finger marks all over because that would be a dead giveaway!

    Inside the hall of mirrors in this fun park, there are mirrors that distort your image and are very funny. You look very tall and thin in one and very short and fat in another. Or you are separated in the middle and only see your head and feet. As you walk you are fooled as the mirrors trick your perception. In one corner area you see two of yourself or multiplied selves into infinity. A hall of mirrors is then a place of deception where self is never viewed in the stark truth of reality. Even the space around you fools the eye.

    To pass the test of the Hall of Mirrors there should be no reflection at all! Self must never be seen in distortion. Self must never multiply, enlarge itself, delete the truth, only the eye of a fool would be so self-deluded. Self must remain hidden, and the only truth reflected back is who we are in Christ. The Word clearly states who we are in Christ. We are not bigger or smaller than what the Lord says we are. Self must be hidden in the cleft of the Rock, Christ Jesus. He must increase and we must decrease.

    Can you pass the test of the Hall of Mirrors? Test your viewpoint of self by using the Word. Low viewpoint? Let the Word correct you. Bigger than life inflated viewpoint? Let the Word correct you. View yourself as missing something? Let the Word give you all you need. Keep at it until you perfectly reflect Christ and His viewpoint of you. You are the temple of the Holy Spirit, the child of God, the bride of Christ, you are more than a conqueror in Him, you are the victor not the victim!

    Reflect Christ! Be a mirror of God’s Word! Then you can pass the test of the Hall of Mirrors!

  2. Lisa

    Great article…I’ve been there myself. It’s hard to treat others with kindness when we feel used, but it honors God!

    Thanks for the encouragement!

    • Lisa, yes – agreed! I think the Lord’s been teaching me it doesn’t matter so much to get taken advantage of, so long as we are obedient. He will repay us in manifold ways. But there is something overwhelming and irresistible about His love in us in any situation, even if the outcome isn’t what we’d have hoped, that carries a weight and power we can’t even track.

  3. Stephanie Hanouw
    Stephanie Hanouw

    Dealing with disappointments may be a trial that the Lord is using as a test in my life. Rather than being frustrated and disillusioned as I frequently am and wanting to just do it all myself (even when I am not equipped to do so), I need to keep a positive attitude in disappointing situations and keep believing that God has everything under control. Challenging!

  4. Thanks, Stephanie. Right there with you — it is a challenge for sure!

  5. Good article and Joseph held unto and lived the Word of God that
    had been promised to Him through his dreams early in his life.

  6. Yes, you nailed it – Joseph clung to the word through the test. Thanks, Greg!

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