There are students who test really well regardless of the subject being tested on. I have never been one of those students. I struggled throughout school because of tests. I often joke that if I were given a multiple choice test on my own family, I’d likely fail that too. School tests are quite a bit different than the tests we may face throughout our lives. You may have faced a test of illness such as cancer. Maybe you’re still facing the test of loss of investments post the recession of ’07 and ’08.
With any test, it’s vital to be well prepared if there’s any hope of passing. But how can we prepare for some of life’s big tests placed before us?
I recently stumbled upon the story of Job found in the Old Testament.
Can you imagine over the course of one meal with your family, you’re entire fortune is dissolved? How would you react? What would be racing through your mind? Bills? Your morgage? Health care for your family?
He tore his robe and shaved his head which may sound a bit nutty to us today but what he was doing was lamenting. He was grieving the loss he experienced which is a completely natural and understandable reaction. It’s what he does next that strikes me as incredible.
He said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.” Job 1:21
He didn’t blame God or any other person. He grieved his losses and he worshipped. Incredible right?
This wasn’t the end of Jobs trials. It was just the beginning really. He ends up losing everything including friends, family and his health. But in the end, he never lost sight of his need for God and when his trials were over with - when his test was complete - God blessed him with twice the amount of wealth he originally had.
Job was being tested through it all. And he passed. He passed because he had faith and confidence and trust in God. He was a faithful man who obeyed the Lord before his test began. Because of that, he trusted God was in control even when it looked like no one was in control. By being faithful and obeying before his trials began, he was prepared and equipped to take on horrific loss and pain, maintaining his dependent relationship on God through it all.
Job is an extreme case but there are a number of aspects of his lived reality that you may identify with. Maybe it’s the loss of wealth or of family and friends. Maybe you’ve lost your health.
Two months ago I lost my job due to an acquisition. One month ago, my husband lost his job. In the span of 1 month, we lost the security of our steady income. Oh and did I mention that we are also expecting our first child? Our little boy is scheduled to arrive by years end and 2 months after our severance and benefits expire.
From those in our life who are not familiar with how good our God is, we’ve heard a host of comments regarding our situation one of which has been, “You chose the wrong time to get pregnant.” As if there is ever a wrong time to welcome a new life. And my favorite, “You’re screwed.”
We didn’t panic. And fortunately, we didn’t shave our heads either. We did however, thank God and we do consider it a blessing we’ve both lost our jobs, our income and our health insurance at the exact time when our first child is due to arrive. Not because we are super Christians or there is anything out of the ordinary with us. Not even close. We’ve managed to hold this posture of gratitude and praise because before disaster struck, we were confident that God is our provider, not the companies we worked for, and that God has a plan for our lives that involves hope and care of us and our growing family. Now we are praising God for putting us in a position where we might see his mighty hand work on our behalf.
We’re being tested like Job. And daily, during this season, we’re choosing to worship him and thank him. By looking back at how God has worked in our past during what seemed like impossible situations then has also helped sustain us during this time. When was the last time you stopped and remembered what God has done in your life?
We are clearly in the midst of a test during this season. Unlike the academic tests I’ve so often struggled through, I’m doing okay with this one. I’m remembering the God of my past, thanking him for whatever he is doing in the present and trusting him with the future of our family. Tests are never fun, but when they come from the Lord, we can be assured we will always be cared for through them because God is always with us.
Have you ever found yourself being tested? How did you react to it? What did you learn through it? How would you encourage others who might be going through a trial in their own life right now?