Sunday, June 8, 2008

Be Prepared! It’s a Test! (church bulletin cover)

It’s exam season for a great many students out there. My 12-year old daughter is facing them for the first time. And as I watch her stress about it, I’m tempted to think that I’m glad I’ve gotten that over with. But that’s not entirely true.

Remember when the LORD tells Moses to send twelve spies into the Promised Land to spy it out (Numbers 13:1)? Have you ever wondered, “What was the point of that?” I mean, what did they need to check out if God already knew exactly what was in there and fully intended to give His people the land? What use were the spies if God planned on leading and directing His people every step of the way? Moses instructed the spies to check out whether the people of the land were strong or weak, many or few; whether the land was good or bad and whether the cities were well-fortified or not (Numbers 13:17-20). Why? Of course it’s good — it’s the Promised Land! And who cares how weak or strong the people or the cities are if the living God is your commander? Moses knew all that. And God knew all that. And that’s the point! The spies weren’t sent to reveal what was in the Land, but to reveal what was in their hearts! It was a test! And that makes me wonder how many of the paths God sends me down are also tests of the same kind — the kind that reveal what’s really in my heart. Faith or fear? Gratitude or grumbling? Worship or whining?

My heart is that my daughter does well on her exams, and as her father, I’m prepared to help and encourage her so that she can do well. God also desires that His children pass the tests He sends our way, and He too wants to help us to do so. And just as my daughter’s exams are meant to help her grow stronger in math or science or English, the tests God provides are so that we can grow stronger in character. To prepare for such tests, the Bible is our textbook and God is an accessible teacher. So instead of getting stressed about life’s tests, God invites us spend abundant time with Him so that we can be better prepared to approach tests confidently, fully persuaded of God’s truth whatever the circumstances!

© 2008 by Ken Peters

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