That’s the only way to describe it.
High school finals week had arrived and I anxiously waited outside of my Biology classroom. My entire grade hung in the balance of that comprehensive, semester-encompassing final.
A dissected cat reeking of formaldehyde (and smelling to high heaven, I might add), a microscope, one chair, and the teacher waited inside. As the teacher pointed to the cat's various muscles and tendons, and then slides under the microscope, I was expected to recite the scientific names, their specific purposes, and how they functioned.
And the test clock started.
Blind panic did not improve memory function. I had not studied well. I was in over my head. The ramifications of failing were epic. Test day had arrived and I was ill prepared. The moment of truth was at hand. Thoughts such as, “Why didn’t I prepare better?” and “What was I thinking?” reverberated in my head.
King David had. Not in a school classroom, but in the classroom of life. On a lazy afternoon when King David should have been on the road with the Israelite army, he looked down from his palace rooftop and noticed a beautiful woman taking a bath (2 Samuel 11).
And God's test clock started.
The moment of truth was at hand. David was in over his head. Only after adultery, murder and epic failure did David ask himself, “What was I thinking?”
We tend to avoid tests because there's a chance we'll fail. Miserably. God administered lots of tests throughout Scripture. He asked Abraham to sacrifice his only son (Gen. 22:1-24). Moses and the Israelites waited each day for fresh manna (Ex. 16). And then there was Job -- poor Job -- caught in the middle of a war in the spiritual realm.
We rarely know when God starts the test clock, so these tests cause us to realize how much we still need to learn - about Him, about life, about loving others as ourselves.
God tests our faith so that He can refine us - not to watch us fail. Job went through vigorous testing by God, but his faith was proved genuine: "But He knows the way I take; when He has tested me, I will come forth as gold." (Job 23:10) Despite the flames of God's refining fire, Job's faith held him steadfast - even when those he held closest abandoned and ridiculed him. And God blessed him tremendously.
Learning from, and even looking forward to, God's tests of faith require us to keep our face plastered on Him. There are no two ways around it - tests can hurt. They can shake us to our core. But God promises to bring forth good.
If we let Him.
When you believe God is testing you, do you look forward to it or hate it?