“And you shall remember that the Lord your God led you all the way these forty years in the wilderness, to humble you and test you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not.”
Like most of us, much of my childhood was spent in school, and one of the worst words for any student to hear is “test.” For some of us, this word still conjures up feelings of fear, defeat and humiliation. As a student, I was never quite sure why we had to take so many tests. Years later, and much to my own surprise, I actually became a teacher and had a totally different view of the purpose of all those tests. They were not to make the children suffer as much as they were to show, student and teacher alike, what they already knew and what we needed to work on. The tests God put Israel through had a similar purpose. He allowed them to walk through some difficulties to show them what was in them and what work He still needed to do.
Trials are designed to show us how much or how little we have grown in Christ. When we face a difficulty and we are filled with fear, we know that we need to get to know the faithfulness of God better and learn to trust Him. When the trial reveals our impatience, we understand it is time to begin to trust in the purposes, will, and timing of God. It is not as though trials make us afraid, impatient, angry or anxious, as much as they reveal that those things are still within us. When trials expose the weaknesses of our humanity, it is time for us to cling to Christ and allow Him to mature us.
The next time you fail a test, instead of getting discouraged, realize that God has just revealed to you the thing He wants to work on. Take time to carefully seek Him in His word, to help you mature through your difficulties.