"Testing will surely come."
- Ezekiel 21:13 NIV
These days, my husband's job situation is a source of a lot of tension and frustration for him. He's presently working under a man who by most people's standards would be considered totally unreasonable and unfair. Yesterday, Joe and I were discussing the matter and wondering what God's purpose could possibly be in all this misery. When I suggested that it might be a test of some sort, Joe had to agree. I told him that his best bet would be to settle down and pass this test so that he wouldn't have to go through it again sometime in the future. I reminded him of how we moved out of our last home to escape our neighborhood problems, only to move into a new home where we encountered even more serious ones. He began to get the point.
It's only natural for us to want God to change our circumstances when they are causing us grief or pain. But the truth is that there are times when God will not change our circumstances until our circumstances change us. Even though the Lord may not be the One who brings adversity into our lives, He may still choose to use our difficulties to smooth the rough edges off of us so we can become more like Jesus. I believe it's right for us to pray for deliverance from our problems, but I think we should always ask God what He might be trying to teach us through them. I also think it's wise that when we pray for deliverance, we also pray that the Lord will help us to do our part in the process.
The Bible says, "Testing will surely come." (Ezekiel 21:13 NIV) The good news is that whenever we're tested and tried, God always has a reward in store for us, if we pass the test. Often, we'll experience severe hardship and adversity just before we receive a great promotion or blessing from the Lord. And we shouldn't be surprised that the enemy of our souls is behind our trouble, trying to keep us from making spiritual progress. We need to keep reminding ourselves that God has given us His Spirit to deal with, and overcome, difficult situations and people. My husband keeps saying that there's simply no way he can deal with his boss. But the truth is that God has already made a way. All that's necessary now is for my husband to line his will up with the Lord's so he can pass this test and move up to the next level. If Joe decides instead to run from his problems by quitting his present job, chances are that he'll like his new boss even less than his old one.
If you are in a hard place right now, take comfort in the knowledge that the Lord will use your adversities to your advantage somehow. Set your mind to do God's will and declare with Job, "When He has tested me, I will come forth as gold"! (Job 23:10 NIV)
Prayer: Lord, please give me the discernment I need to recognize tests when they come my way. Help me to pass my tests the first time so that I won't have to go through them again. Remind me to spend time in Your presence daily so that You can impart to me the wisdom and strength I need to do Your will. Thank You that as I cooperate with Your Spirit, I will pass my tests and receive all the blessings You have in store for me!
- J. M. Farro