You remember in school when the teacher would spring a quiz on the class at the most unexpected times? No warning, then bam! Test time.
It’s been a while since I’ve felt a life-testing. A few quizzes have surfaced, but they were generally short lived, and I think I passed. This season has felt like a prolonged test, one that has been covering chapters that I thought were covered last semester and I was done with. Old insecurities are re-tested, newfound fears are there too. Old things that I idolized are trying to tempt me again, and the peace of God feels present, but distant.
It feels like God is letting me know that He’s here … but seems quiet.
I get nervous when God is quiet. I enjoy intimate fellowship with my Savior, and when He’s silent (if I’m honest) my thoughts go to, “Did I miss a turn somewhere? Am I off course, off from where I need to be? Have I fallen out of favor?”
Striving. Trying to make things right and comfortable again.
One thing that I love about God is His timing. At the point when this testing time was becoming quite old and frustrating, the stories of Jesus’ last days strategically appeared both in my devotion time and through Easter readings. One thing that caught my eye was the parallel stories of Peter and Judas. Both were tested, both betrayed Jesus but had radically different endings. I noticed how Jesus warned Simon Peter that a test would be coming: “Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift all of you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.” (Luke 22:31-32), and how He forgave Simon Peter when he fell short.
*sigh* Testing is good. It highlights where I have grown, and what areas are still weak within me. It forces me to stretch from what was normal and comfortable into a better version of me. Jesus is with me, urging me onward. He is ever-present, ever-loving, and fully in control.
Peter came out of his test fortified and with the confidence necessary for the next few chapters of his life. I think life-tests are like that: strengthening us for the next steps that will require all our cumulative growth to succeed.
When I was in school, I would hold my pen super-tight; so much so that my fingers would hurt by the end of the day and over time a callus developed on my middle finger. I needed to loosen my grip then, and still do.
Life is a journey, some hills and curves, but choosing if it’s painful or not is my choice. Today I choose to take a walk, breathe, and trust that God (not myself) will perfect His work in me.