Summary: Tests are daunting and we all hate them. We feel terribly anxious about them. We are terrified, petrified and apprehensive whenever we are called to observe or undertake a test. We are never at our best when tests are involved. Sometimes we become indiffe
Tried and Tested
Pastor Gbenga Shadare
We have a major confrontation, a lifetime challenge that as believers and God's people, we must deal with as long as we are Christians. Believers are not guaranteed a rose garden or a peace haven. We are not promised a pain-less, suffering-less and losses-free life. Indeed, the mark of a believer is defined by the battles he is called to confront and the 'real' issue is not how many battles we fight but the constant, consistent saving grace of God. Life is full of tests. Just like we get tested in normal things to obtain qualifications, certifications and licenses or employments or even medical examinations so also are we faced with various tests in life. It is inevitable that many of us will experience and grow through tests: tests in our finances, marriages, relationships, careers/jobs/businesses, academic pursuits, societal and institutional tests. We respond to these tests either with hopeful-ness or with hopelessness(confidence and despondence). Sometimes we are confident and at other times we are despondent and fearful.
Tests are daunting and we all hate them. We feel terribly anxious about them. We are terrified, petrified and apprehensive whenever we are called to observe or undertake a test. We are never at our best when tests are involved. Sometimes we become indifferent, dismissive and philosophical and most times, without being aware or realising it, we fail to see how God demonstrates His presence and love for us whenever we experience tests and trials.The fact is: whether we like it or not TESTINGS and TRIALS are guaranteed phases of life. We shall have several tests in our journey of life and it helps to know that many of the tests, trials and challenges that we face or are confronted with are orchestrated and engineered by God. We read from Psalm 66:10-12 (KJV) “For thou, O God, hast proved us: thou hast tried us, as silver is tried. .Thou broughtest us into the net; thou laidst affliction upon our loins.Thou hast caused men to ride over our heads; we went through fire and through water: but thou broughtest us out into a wealthy place”.
The Psalmist pointedly asserts that God is the author of tests. To be “proved” by God is to be tried and tested by God. The old English word, “prove” connotes a process of being called to demonstrate our abilities and qualities; to show our true mettles and what we are made of. The strength of a precious metal does not lie in its raw-ness but in its potential - its ability to glow, shine and radiate quality after being tested. Gold and silver became what they are because they are proven in the furnace of fire to reveal their true worth. In the same way, God takes us through “the fire, the furnace of life” so that His right grind produces, and, gives us the right flavour that we need to fulfil His destiny. The trials and testings are God's prerogative and He does them for one purpose: to make us wiser, better and stronger in order to fulfil our divine destinies. Testings and trials are designed to build in us godly character and strength which helps us become better individuals doing God's will in a world that is full of perversion and corruption.
If you go through the lives of the patriarchs – Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, David, Job, Peter, Paul and the apostles, there was not a single one of them that did not go through divine testings and trials. They became MEN of GOD and obtained divine attestations because of how they gracefully learnt obedience through the things they suffered. Even the scripture speaks of Jesus in the same way.
Why are divine testings and trials necessary?
We need to understand why God permits testings and trials in our lives. Let me attempt a checklist of some of the reasons that I have, in my own life, experienced. The list may not be exhaustive but it would surely help us to educate us as to why we have to endure these trials with grace, patience and wisdom.
1.The first reason is so that God can “put His fear” before our faces so that we can acknowledge His sovereignty and be rightly guided to become righteous by learning to avoid sin. In Exodus 20:20(KJV) we read,“And Moses said unto the people, Fear not: for God is come to prove you, and that his fear may be before your faces, that ye sin not.” The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom. Reverential fear is in indispensable quality that is sorely needed in today's church. When we fear God we will stop taking so many things for granted. When the fear of God is absent in a community or in a church or in the lives of men and women, there is a lack of a proper sense of perspective and errors, perversion of truths and transgression of God's law becomes inevitable. The fear of God helps us to stay on the right path; that is why God says he will put it before our eyes – literally what this means is akin to God using it as our his fear as our divine “sat-nav” to help navigate life as we journey through it.