Friday, May 10, 2013

DEVOTION: God's Test ~ Donna Pyle

“Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” 
Psalm 139:23-24

Why do tests unnerve us? We tend to think that failure lurks in the corner. And we don’t like failure. In life, sometimes we project outward images suggesting we have it all together. That we’re in on the latest. I don’t know about you, but I rarely have it all together.

God tests us. Period. His tests cause us to realize how much we still need to learn. Just as in a classroom,

God’s examination of a believer’s heart isn’t for the Teacher, but for the student. It brings to light the hidden agendas, thoughts and motives of our hearts. Scripture clearly points to three reasons (among others) which help us answer: “Why does God test us?”

1) So that our faith may be proved genuine. [1 Peter 1:7]

Many times throughout Jesus’ early ministry, He reminded those whom He healed that it was accomplished according to their faith. When we experience times of trial, our steadfast faith in God’s promises is key. How we handle the stress and pressure teach us volumes about how much we rely on God in faith. When we allow God to work in and through us during tough times, our faith strengthens and we are drawn closer to Him.

2) To refine us. [Jer. 9:7; Zech. 13:9; Mal 3:2-3]

God tests His children so that He can refine us. These tests of faith are often blessings in disguise.

Remember Job? Job’s trials had nothing to do with Job - it was a battle in the heavenly realm between God and Satan. But because Job continued to follow God regardless of hard circumstances, God blessed him outrageously when the time of testing was completed.

3) To know what is in our heart. [Deut. 8:2; 2 Chr 32:31] Embracing and learning from God’s heart searches brings our hidden agendas and secrets to His healing light. When we study Scripture and hide His Word in our hearts, He prepares us to face His holy scrutiny.

We have a tendency to feel vulnerable or anxious when we undergo God’s testing. Oftentimes the reason we’re being tested simply isn’t clear. But God reassures us, “Do not be anxious about anything,but in everything, by prayer and petition, present your requests to God.” [Phil. 4:6]

Even though at times God’s testing may seem prolonged, maintaining a strong faith that God has a specific purpose in mind (whether revealed to us or not) strengthens us through the toughest times. His promise to deliver us from evil helps us to stay on course to receive His abundant blessings.

Thank God today for testing our faith to prove it genuine.
Have you experienced God's testing recently in your life? How did you do?

DONNA PYLE is a speaker, author, Bible teacher and worship leader with a passion for studying and teaching God’s Word. Since launching Artesian Ministries in 2007, she has authored 20 full-length Bible studies, as well as numerous smaller Bible studies, devotions, and magazine articles. She has released two DVD-based Bible study series and a small-group based Bible study book, The God of All Comfort, through Concordia Publishing House on August 15, 2012. She regularly travels throughout the U.S. and internationally, speaking at conferences, conventions, women’s retreats, prayer luncheons, and special events. Read more about Donna at her website