Tuesday, July 20, 2010

What's your test from God?

Tears streamed down my face this morning as I watched this video about Abraham's test, Holy is the Lord, by folk singer Andrew Peterson.

I cried because we are, all of us, being tested, even as I sit here. We tend to want for a controlled, cushified, consumeristic--did I mention controlled?--life. But we don't get it. None of us do. We were born to be tested.

Just ask Abraham. The one God made the covenant promise to in Genesis 15. Here's a paraphrase: A son coming from your own body will be your heir [God didn't mention Abraham would struggle with infertility most of his life and be older than dirt when Isaac was born]. Look up in the sky...you can't count those stars, Abraham, my friend--but that's how many offspring or great-grandchildren I'm going to give you. I promise.

So how inconsistent, how two-faced, did that promise seem years later, when Abraham and his wife Sarah had a son in their geriatric years--and Abraham was then, quite simply, ordered by God to kill him? Insert the place right here where my heart starts hyper-ventilating. I can't help it.

This smacks of the way God gives a godly woman a husband--and that same husband dies one year later unexpectedly. Or worse yet, divorces her to be with someone different. Father, what heavenly purpose could there be in this? This is betrayal of the worst sort, when someone (anyone, really) who loves you promises you something big, gives it to you--but ultimately takes it and abandons you, carrying your dignity and heart off with them in the process.

In a very personal sense, this is how God gave me a Dad who loved me well, then allowed him to be taken at 61 years of age from cancer. Just before he would have met the godly man I waited 35 years to marry. The man he had prayed so earnestly for. My extended family met David three days after Dad passed away.

Seriously?!? That was the response of one friend who prayed so earnestly for me to find a spouse that year. She prayed specifically that Dad would meet said spouse. And in God's divine wisdom, only half of her prayers were answered affirmatively.

 A test. 

Will you still believe God loves you and will provide for you? Will Abraham? Will I? Because He's promised to, though all of the signs around you are screaming to the contrary.

And so Abraham walked 50 or 60 miles with young Isaac, a three-day journey that ended as they climbed Mount Moriah. Isaac was on the altar. There was wood for burning the sacrifice. A knife, even, to do the killing. Abraham's chosen son was getting suspicious. The moment of obedience had come. And...

An angel of the Lord cried out! Don't lay a hand on your boy. Don't do anything to Isaac. I see now that you fear God, because you didn't withhold what was most precious to you. And suddenly Abraham spotted a ram. The place where his life--and his faith--flashed before him would be called "The Lord Will Provide."

What will your place of testing be called? "God failed me and I deserted Him?" "Been there. Done that. Doing it my own way now?" Or will your faith be refined and purified through testing?

You may suffer losses unimaginable and people may fail you repeatedly and you may feel depressed and downcast. You may fear there is no way out. But there is, somehow. God cannot go back on His promise to love and save you and bring good out of your circumstances if you know His Son, Jesus. It's just not in His nature to do so.

I can testify, though sometimes with tears, that the Lord will provide.

"Anyone who meets a testing challenge head-on and manages to stick it out is mighty fortunate. For such persons loyally in love with God, the reward is life and more life." James 1:12, The Message

What's your current "test?" Do you believe God is providing for you? Why or why not?


  1. My current test of faithfulness started in last summer when I found out I was pregnant in August of 2008 with an due date of early June 2009 which would be perfect because I would be able to finish a year in seminary plus we would have been in our new house for a few months getting everything ready. However, the week before Thanksgiving break I miscarried. I suppose this would be a blessing in disguise because I only missed one week of school and would return back to finish the semester. I would mourn after papers and exams are done which Christmas break was not as enjoyable as I would have liked it to be and return to seminary in January 2009. So then in May we adopted a dog named "Poppy" who is adorable, very affectionate and playful though knows how to relax with people and hang out with them. He also usually hangs out in our bedroom or the bathroom. After adopting Poppy, a few months later I learned I was pregnant again though this time the due date was not as convenient as the last one. This baby was due right in the middle of Spring semester which means I would have to wait a year rather than walk in 2010. I was excited about graduating even if it was during the summer because I still needed to complete two internships as well as a practicum which I was planning on doing during Spring 2010. However, this baby forced me to wait. Denver had gotten a very nice raise plus we had a bill paid off so we were set financially for the baby. A year later the economics of Michigan finally hit Denver's company and several people were laid off and the rest received a 20% pay cut. We have had to adjust our finances to allot for Jaedon and the credit card we once had paid off is now racked up again plus we got our hospital bill in the mail which will be paid on the credit card. Where as God provided in all of this? God has granted us patience. We know the 20% pay-cut is temporary. We keep ourselves in open communication about where we spend money and why because finances can be stressful. We made a decision to cut our tithe in reflection of the pay-cut during this time. God has provided us a child who is easy-going and fun-loving who also sleeps through the night by the time he was two-months old. Both mommy and daddy are able to get a full 8 hours of sleep during the weekend and on weekends we switch on and off who sleeps in while the other is up in the morning with Jaedon. God is good and a mighty provider.

  2. My mother went on to be with the Lord during my sophomore year of college. She did not attend my college graduation, was not present to dress me on my wedding day, and has not met my daughter. This is constantly a test (on some days more than others). Love you, Natasha

  3. Rich, ladies. I didn't know about all of those "tests." Thanks for sharing. Kris, you are brave, and you make me believe that it is possible to have a baby and finish seminary, even when tests intervene. I love to hear of the blessings you're noticed and can't wait to hear how things turn out as you move forward. Natasha, the loss of your mother alone sheds light on some of the strength I see in you. It so often comes through the fire, eh? I also like knowing that someone else understands that the loss of a parent can be a test in an ongoing way. Is God still good? Yes, we need Him more than ever.