To console those who mourn in Zion, To give them beauty for ashes, The oil of joy for mourning, The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; That they may be called trees of righteousness, The planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.”
Isaiah 61:3 NKJV
When I was a kid, one of the most annoying frustrations was to be sitting in front of the television watching Saturday cartoons only to have the EBS break up my bliss and declare, “This is a test of the Emergency Broadcast System. This is only a test. In the event of a true emergency…”
That was probably one of the first tests of patience I had to overcome as a kid. Now that I’m an adult, the stakes are much higher. I have since learned there are always times of testing. Testing strengthens us for the trials ahead. Or, it can prepare us for promotion and greater responsibilities.
In this season of Lent, we observe the forty days Jesus spent in the wilderness and His season of testing. If Jesus was led by the Holy Spirit to be tested, we should not become as alarmed as we do when we are tested as well.
The most rigorous tests I’ve endured have allowed me to put other things in perspective. What I once would have viewed as major disruptions, I can dismiss as minor annoyances.
We can be tempted to acquire the things we want out of God’s timing. Satan tempted Jesus, but our Savior refuted him with Scripture.
People test us. The people we love usually test our patience, endurance, faithfulness, and commitment. Yet, these are the same traits we wrestle with in our relationship with God.
Testing is most trying when God is silent. Though He may be silent, God is always present. He supports us through our trials in ways we may never recognize, and He always provides a way out of temptation. It is up to us to recognize it.
As many of us observe Lent and may soon struggle to keep the commitments we have made, be encouraged.
It is only a test.
But he knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold. My feet have closely followed his steps; I have kept to his way without turning aside.
Job 23: 10-11 NIV