Fresh Hope – 19th April 2018

God doesn’t bring about bad circumstances in our life, but He certainly can use them to test us. When God tests us, He isn’t critiquing us, waiting for us to fail if we don’t perform. He rather wants to show us what we are really made of. He wants to expose us to ourselves and show us what is really going on inside.

When the pressures and challenges of life weigh down on us, does a trust in God and a strength of character surface? Or does a flurry of worry, stress, spiraling emotions, grumbling, unforgiveness, and disillusionment manifest? Often we don’t know what is inside of us, until a life challenge forces it out of us. A glass of juice is not enjoyed, until the fruit has been crushed and the goodness inside forced out. When food is put in a pressure cooker, the best flavours come out. Tough times force us to face the reality of who we really are. Our faith is only as strong as our ability to walk through a trial and still trust God.

As any good teacher knows, testing is a healthy part of growth. It shows us what we really know, and how to improve, and learn for next time.

The Israelites left Egypt and had to travel to the Promised Land. It was normally an 11-day journey, but it took the Israelites 40 years (Numbers 13)! Why did it take them so long to do such a short journey? They wanted to turn back to Egypt and return to slavery numerous times. They did not trust God. When circumstances tested their faith, they failed. They literally went around and around the mountain, complaining, grumbling, reliving the past and therefore failed the same tests over and over and over.

When we pass a test, we can then graduate to bigger and better things, stronger and more equipped than before. When we fail to rely on God, we will have to repeat the journey again until we learn. The tests of life continue, our response is the same, and so is the outcome. There may be reoccurring problems in your life. The same thing that is constantly challenging you. You, metaphorically speaking, are going around and around the same mountain! Yes many of life’s mountains are totally out of our control, but how we navigate our way over them is well within our control. Maybe God is waiting for you to tackle the steeps and slops in a new way, with a greater trust and reliance on Him. Don’t go around and around the same problems in your life in the same pattern. You’ll waste years doing that, and get nowhere. As you are tested, ask God what He is teaching you, grow, trust God, and move up the mountain with Him.

“These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold.” (1 Peter 1:7a NLT)

Emma Burchell

A daily devotion for a better way of living.