– Rick Warren
Tests of Trials
When I was in seminary, some of the tests were brutal and I felt like I would never make it, but the trials of life are a lot different, for they usually last more than an hour. Peter said, “… though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (1 Pet. 1:6-7). Don’t you test drive cars? The factory puts these cars through grueling tests to make sure they won’t break down at critical times. God tests the genuineness of our faith to see if it’s real. Fire burns off and removes the impurities from gold to make it more precious, and so in the same way, trials refine and strengthen our faith because a faith that’s not tested cannot be trusted.
Tests of Time
Have you ever heard this: Satan’s always in a hurry but God never is. When we are making a major decision, there is the temptation to make a quick decision, but that’s not wise, for “they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength” (Isaiah 40:31a). When you are considering making a major decision in your life, here’s some of the best advice that I could find: “Be still, and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10a). It’s hard to be still, isn’t it? We want to make snap decisions, but I have discovered–and usually the hard way–that haste does make waste, but being still lets you know God’s will.
Tests of Trouble
One of my favorite memory verses is Romans 8:28, where it says, “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” Think about that for a minute. ll things, good and bad, highs and lows, prosperity and poverty, work out for our best. God sees the end. We only see directly in front of us. Every trouble that comes into our life is going to work out for our very best. Even the bad things do us good. It’s a matter of trust. Did you know that a broken bone that heals is twice as strong? Is Romans 8:28 right most of the time or all of the time? You surely know the answer to that.
Tests of Hearts
Paul writes to the Thessalonians that “though we had already suffered and been shamefully treated at Philippi, as you know, we had boldness in our God to declare to you the gospel of God in the midst of much conflict. … but just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not to please man, but to please God who tests our hearts” (1 Thess. 2:2, 4). There is scriptural evidence that God tests our hearts. If you have been, like Paul, treated shamefully and have suffered for declaring the Gospel, that’s good. Rejoice in that you were persecuted for His name’s sake (Matt. 5:11). You will pass the test by not trying to please man but by trying to please God.
God uses tests to reveal the genuineness of our faith. He gives us tests of time to see if we will wait upon Him, He uses tests of trouble to see if we believe that everything will work out for our best, and He uses tests to see if we are trying to please men or trying to please Him. When you understand that life is a test, you’ll realize that nothing is insignificant in your life.