I don’t think anyone in school ever looks forward to a test. In college, I remember staying up late at night going over notes and highlighting paragraphs in text books, trying to memorize those last nuggets that would ensure a good grade. If you knew someone who was taking the same class and that class met earlier than yours, you would be seeking them out after they had taken the test, interrogating them to see what they could tell you. Was it tough? Were there any trick questions? Was there a particular topic that was the focus? How many questions were there? Were any of the questions essay? And on and on the questioning went. If we had spent time each day reviewing notes and reading to actually learn the material instead of waiting until the last minute to cram it all in through memorization, we would have been better prepared.
If we were to look at trials in our lives as it they were tests, could we be better prepared? How would we really be able to do that? To be ready to accept the test results from your doctor as he tells you that you have cancer; your boss walking into your office letting you know that your job has been eliminated; to get the phone call that a parent, or loved one has just died. James tells us in James 1:2 and 3, “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trial, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.” How do we face these situations with joy?
Whether these trials be big or small, we have to look no further than Jesus. Having a personal relationship with Him means that we have the ability to go to Him in prayer, and through His word to seek the comfort and encouragement we need to make it through these trials. Make sure you are reading your Bible every day. If you read just a chapter a day, it will take you about three and a half years to complete it. Once you are done, start over and do it again. Never stop. If you have You Version on your phone, you probably are carrying the Bible all the times. Did you know that you can also listen to the Bible through this app? If you are in your car, try listening to the Bible instead of the radio. By living in the Word in these ways, God will provide what you need to make it through. In addition to this, meditate on God’s word. If you aren’t currently doing this, give it a try. Just take a passage of scripture and quietly read and think about what God is saying. It will surprise you at what you will hear Him telling you. Let’s face it, we are notorious for going fast in life. This will slow you down a bit to allow you to really develop that relationship with God.
To get started in this, begin facing the little test and trials of the day with the attitude that this will produce patience and endurance in our life. Watch how you handle deadlines at work; when you have that unexpected flat tire; when your children have pushed you to the limit. You get the idea. Look for these things so that you can recognize them for what they are; opportunities to grow your character.
Think back to those tests you took while in school. Are you able to remember anything about them? Probably not. But in their way, they made you better. Next month you won’t remembers today’s little tests, but know that if you start working on how you handle them today, you will be better person tomorrow.