I will admit it...I hated school. I really did. Mostly, I hated tests. Especially when I was being tested on something I didn't really feel I had a handle on.
So it would stand to reason that I wouldn't like tests in life...especially when I'm being tested on things I don't seem to have a handle on. Or, have CONTROL of.
One thing I have come to believe is this: everything in life is a test and God is molding my character through each test! Once I wrapped my mind around this (and I'm still trying to "get it", believe me), I started looking at the "bad things" and the "tragedies" and the "hard stuff" in life differently. I truly believe in that old saying: "it's not what happens to you in life, it's how you handle it."
I've been praying lately that God will help me to see everything in my life through His eyes---that He'll give me wisdom and patience and love to react and handle things and make decisions based on HIS wisdom and not my own. I've been asking Him to help me remember that everything is a test and what won't break me will make me stronger for Him. It's so good to know that He will never allow anything to enter our lives without also allowing the way around it, through it, or over it.
So...here's what I've been thinking about lately. TESTS. I hated them in school. I've hated them in life. But what exactly IS the best way to look at a test and learn how to "pass it" without hating it? If I HAVE to take them, Lord, please help me PASS them.
The dictionary describes a "test" this way:
|1.||the means by which the presence, quality, or genuineness of anything is determined; a means of trial.|
|2.||the trial of the quality of something: to put to the test.|
|3.||a particular process or method for trying or assessing.|
|4.||a set of questions, problems, or the like, used as a means of evaluating the abilities, aptitudes, skills, or performance of an individual or group; examination|
It truly amazes me how you go through life understanding a simple word that you've heard and used many times and then get a whole new perspective on it when you look it up in the dictionary! I look up the meaning of a lot of words in the dictionary these days...the simplest of words take on a new perspective and meaning in my life by doing this!
So after looking at the description of the word test and praying for wisdom about it, God replaced my "former" negative understanding of a "test" with a "new" understanding and now I actually LOVE tests. Seriously. Okay. Not REALLY but here's the thing: God is helping me to see things in a new way and now He can truly change my heart and mind about things by realizing that everything in life can truly make me a better witness for Him because it can now be a "tool" by which He teaches me How to be more like Him!
That's heady, I know. But it is changing my life by changing my mind about everthing that happens in my life, bit by bit. Instead of saying "oh, that's horrible! How can this happen?!?", God is helping me to say "what am I supposed to learn from this? How can I pass this test in life? Where is the good in this and what is God's plan here?".
I was in a car accident 4 days ago. Not a bad accident as far as car accidents go, but anytime you have damage to your vehicle and have to deal with that nightmare of a mess, it isn't pleasant.
I was driving through the parking lot of a gas station with a McDonald's in it. I was headed through the drive-thru for a soda and in a split second I saw a truck backing up into the front end of my car. BAM. Crunch.
When I jumped out and met him at the front of my car/back of his truck, he was saying "I'm so sorry...oh man...I didn't see you! I'm so sorry!". In that moment I felt compassion for him...I felt his pain. I felt his remorse for not seeing me. Something stirred in me and I simply said "God is good...at least neither of us were hurt". It surprised me because I realized that my reaction was all about bringing God into the equation rather than worring about my car. God IS good because He is in EVERYTHING with us. He is in EVERY TEST with us. Watching, guiding, observing, leading.
So here we are, 4 days later. I've already received a check from his insurance company and my car is already in the shop for repair. My point?
1. Everything in life is a test. Reacting with anger and selfishness and concern for ourselves FIRST is a faliure of the test and we will continue to be tested in this area until we master it and learn to pass it. Even then, we will continue to be tested to strengthen us as a witness for the Lord.
2. In every situation and every interaction with other people there is an opportunity to claim the Lord's name and give Him glory for the good in the situation. And there IS good in every situation. God will reveal the good if we seek for Him to do so.
3. Some tests can be prepared for. Others are "pop quizzes" that you don't even know about. Either way, God is in every test ready to be our strength and our source of light. He will help lead us through each essay and every multiple choice question.
4. God is good. I was in an accident 4 days ago and today my car is being fixed and I wasn't hurt and Mr. K witnessed a reaction of love and calmness in the parking lot rather than a crazy woman reacting to his error. Yes, God is good.
Everything in life is a test of our character and as in school, tests in life are merely a way to gauge where we are in our understanding and capabilities of the task or situation at hand!
God keeps His promise, and He will not allow you to be tested beyond your power to remain firm; at the time you are put to the test, He will give you the strength to endure it, and so provide you with a way out." 1 Cor 10:13 (TEV).