This season has been a doozy for my community of folks. It has been one thing after another of unexpected events aimed to take down the faith of the brethren and wear out the saints. The other night I was thinking about my own area of testing and wishing it away. “Man I can’t wait ‘til this is over”, I thought in my head. Immediately Holy Spirit responded, “you will encounter this again in your life”. Upon hearing His response I instantly knew, I need to learn how to navigate through this event because even once it’s over I will see it again (and really I’ve seen it a few times before). The real reason I wanted my situation to be over was because I wanted to be comfortable again. I wanted to be free of worry and pain. I wanted to lay back, chill and breeze through life. Clearly that is not a realistic expectation. Life will always throw curve balls. Some aiming at the batter in an attempt to draw blood. So what is the purpose of these curve balls? If there is always going to be hard stuff, and if life will never be easy, what can we as believers look forward to during these seasons of testing and trials and hard stuff?
My friend received some news that she was a few hundred shy of raising the funds for her project. This project was given to her by God and its purpose is to advance the kingdom. So it wasn’t just a matter of her not completing the project, it was a matter of not advancing the kingdom in the way that she felt led to do. When I found out she did not meet her goal, I felt her let down. I felt how easily it is to see that “Again, I believed God for something and He did not come through”. “I stepped out on faith and He did not make a way”. I am embarrassed to admit that I have felt that way more than once. In hindsight I can see this belief was rooted in mistrust of my Father. I have loved God from the first time He swept me off my feet and called me His. But I have struggled time and time again with believing that “He is for me and not against me”. When hard stuff happens, I can easily point the finger at Him in my heart and back away out of fear and mistrust. Thankfully He is helping me to push forward in spite of the fact that what I see in the natural seems to be Him standing against me. It is when I’ve made it to the other side that I can see His plan was to prosper me and give me His best.
I was just reading this morning in John chapter 6 how the multitudes listening to Jesus’ teaching were hungry and how Jesus performed a miracle and multiplied the fish and bread to feed them. The Bible says “Then Jesus lifted up His eyes and seeing a great multitude coming toward Him, He said to Philip, “Where shall we buy bread that these may eat?” but this He said to test him, for He Himself knew what He would do.”
God knew what He would do. He knew the final outcome. He knew that 5000 people would get fed and actually have 12 baskets worth of leftovers because the provision would be so great (WOW!). But He asked His disciple prior to, because He wanted to teach Philip something. He wanted Philip to see that his mindset was so much more limiting than God’s. Philip’s response was, “Two hundred denarii worth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one of them may have a little.” Philip only saw in the natural. He was leaning unto his own understanding. But the Lord wanted to take Philip to the next level. He wanted to enlighten Him. He wanted to increase his faith, and so he tested him.
Every great teacher gives a good test. Tests are purposed to show us what we have learned. Jesus is the Great Teacher and knows just the right tests we need to take us to that next level in Him. I personally am learning how to “reign in my emotions”. He is maturing me emotionally and healing some old wounds. He is causing me to function out of a place of rest in Him, no matter the earthly circumstance. He is also challenging me to not respond out of what I see with my natural eyes but to see from His eternal/heavenly perspective. I’ve learned some of these lessons before but “those who practice righteousness are righteous”. Practice makes Perfect. May He reveal to you what it is He is teaching you in your season of testing. I assure You there is something He wants you to learn.