Recently I heard some arguments from Christians that God doesn’t test us. A look through scripture will clearly reveal the opposite though. God most definitely tests us.
Clearly we don’t like the idea of tests. They make us squirm. They might make us feel sick. We are typically afraid of failure. As I thought about this I determined that we, thanks to the invention of Scan-Tron and SATs, tend to associate “testing” with big ugly letters like F and D (which are really lovely and quite useful letters who have gotten a really bad rap thanks to modern grading systems) and a teacher whom we are pretty sure is out to decimate us with her trick questions and vague multiple choice options.
It occurred to me that we look at spiritual testing in much the same way, as God holding a big red pen that He’s eager to bleed all over the messes we have made of our lives, marking off points and leaving comments in the margin like, “What?! You haven’t learned this yet? After all I’ve taught you?! How many times did we go over this in class?”
When God tests us, it is intended to accomplish what tests used to be intended for, mastery… or in spiritual terms, sanctification. Will some fail? Yes. But only those who never truly knew the subject (that is Him!) in the first place. Will testing sometimes reveal this? Yes, clearly. That is why scripture refers to a time of testing in the wilderness… and some perished because of unbelief.
We cannot and should not deny that God tests our faith. For it is in testing that we are made strong… it is in testing where we are refined. This kind of testing is not a, “What do you know?” kind of testing, or a “How good are you at tests?” kind of testing… It’s a testing where we find the only right answers, the answers that will lead to our mastery of the subject, is indeed that we know nothing and are completely bankrupt save in holding on for dear life to the promises of a faithful God. Will we ever “master” God as we might a math concept? Certainly not. But we will find that through our testing, in knowing nothing but Christ and Him crucified we are achieving, by grace alone, something far greater than a passing grade, but the crowning glory of everlasting life and also, as James says, “the righteous life that God desires.”
So if you are in Christ, don’t have test anxiety. This is not a pass or fail exam. Only cling in faith to the promises of our older brother and teacher, Jesus Christ, and you will by grace, join Him at the top of the class.