Proverbs 17:3 – “The crucible is for refining silver and the furnace is for gold, likewise the LORD tests the hearts.”
Jeremiah 17:10 – “I the LORD search the heart and examine the mind, to reward each person according to their conduct, according to what their deeds deserve.”
1 Chronicles 29:17a – “I know, my God, that you test the heart and are pleased with integrity.
Deuteronomy 8:2 – “And you shall remember all the way which the Lord your God has led you in the wilderness these forty years, that He might humble you, testing you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not.”
Test day – usually a day of apprehension, even if you have prepared thoroughly. Will your preparation be enough? What if you do not pass? What is the purpose of testing? As a homeschool mom, it has been an amazing adventure to watch my children grow from exposure to various curricula to mastery of many subjects. Sometimes it seems futile – “why learn all of these facts we will never use in real life?” is the repeated cry within our walls, but the application of many subjects becomes evident in time. But testing the heart cannot be done by hooking up to a heart monitor, no, the Word of God and trials are able to shed light on the true condition of our hearts.
Sometimes a student can fantasize about supposed sinister motives of professors, seeking to entrap students and trip them up, but I love contemplating the LORD’s motives for testing us – He wants to reward us. He is not seeking to expose our evil for exposition’s sake – He wants to rid of us our evil and then encourage us in the things that are pleasing in His sight. What a good God! He wants to remove the burden of sin and set us free. Testing us reveals the inner motives that need to be purged and removes the dross from our lives.
While God allows in testing, He does not tempt anyone, nor is He tempted with evil, but when we triumph over those evil things that are permitted into our lives, He is pleased and truly glorified. We and others see that our faith is genuine – deeply rooted in a vibrant relationship with our living God. Rather than despising the testing, submitting to God and seeking His purpose within and responding in humility and surrender can cause the testing to be fruitful. Resenting the testing will likely bring more tests your way and not be fun.
So what should be our response? Delight hardly seems plausible or genuine, but perhaps our view of delight is skewed. I remember making a deal with the LORD when I was a new Christian. I would serve Him if I never had a miscarriage and never had any children with severe allergies. Laugh out loud. Embarrassing to admit, but true. When I lost my second child due to a miscarriage, God warned me ahead of time and the trust and peace I had in Him when it happened amazed me. “In His faithfulness, He afflicts those He loves.” Of course I was sad and did not want to suffer such a loss, but I never felt more loved by my God. Make sense to the world? Probably not, but I had learned in that trial to trust God’s hand and purposes even in suffering. I would later find that my firstborn was afflicted with Celiac Disease – far worse than allergies. What a merciful God to reveal the disease, that we might help heal her. Perspective.
If everything was easy and we never sought to challenge ourselves, how would we grow? And character growth is a beautiful sight to behold, indeed. Testing produces good fruit for those engage in the process. Pop quizzes are not fun at all – they seem unfair in that one did not have sufficient time to prepare. Likewise, perhaps the next trial to come will take you by surprise, but it doesn’t surprise God – He already knows it completely and knows the end. Let the peace of Christ fall on us in that promise. Preparation for whatever the future holds is now. Seize the day and invest your life in God. The word you memorize today might be the grace you need tomorrow.
Lord, help us to recognize our need for growth and to yield to You in the process of trials that come our way. Thank You that Your purposes are always good in them and that we will come out of the trial refined like silver for Your glory!