taking the test

by Pastor Mark Jordan

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“Examine me, God! Look at my heart! Put me to the test! Know my anxious thoughts! Look to see if there is any idolatrous way in me, then lead me on the eternal path!” (Psalm 139:23-24 CEB)

Yesterday we looked briefly at the times we undergo testing. This is God’s way of preparing us for heaven while helping us gear up for what’s next in life. Let’s face it, we don’t like the idea of tests, but they do come. The bottom line is to remember that God is preparing you for heaven, and the tests aren’t always about trying to figure out what you do or don’t know, but what you still need to learn.

Ms. Stapleton was one of the hardest test writers I can remember. She taught literature in high school and asked questions that bored down to the most minute detail. For example, one test on a novel (I can’t remember which one any more) asked what color dress a character was wearing when she left a pie on a windowsill to cool. I remember being dumbfounded by that question! After the test, I had to go back and find the answer. Purple. I’ll never forget THAT. As weird as a question as that was while reading a novel, it did teach me something. I might not have known the dress was purple when taking that specific test, but it helped prepare me for future exams. I think that is a lesson God wants us all learn.

God wants you on His eternal path. He will search you and test you to find out what you need to grow, but not in a punishing way; no, to help you learn what to do next. There are always lessons to learn, and even some of the most challenging questions are designed not to reveal what you do (or don’t know), but to help prepare you for what you still need to learn. This is the essence of Philippians 3:13b as Paul wrote, “I forget about the things behind me and reach out for the things ahead of me.”

Are you going through a time of testing? Is God trying to point out what you do or don’t know? Perhaps. It’s also pretty likely He is trying to help prepare you for what you need to learn moving forward. It can, and will, make a difference for you as He sets the path and the pace for your life traveling the eternal path.

Prayer: Dear Lord, thank you for wanting me on your eternal path, even when I might miss the little details along the way. Please forgive me for the times I misunderstand the purpose of the test. Help me to know it isn’t always about what I do or don’t know, but what you want me to learn. I ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.