When I take a test I look like a scared, wet cat clinging to a tree branch. The anxiety causes my stomach to knot up, my eyes to bug out, and I become paralyzed. Talking myself down, I imagine scooching over in my chair, and having Jesus sit beside me so He can see my exam. I take deep breaths asking Him for help. I am a realtor, which requires continuing education courses from time to time. Well, it was time! After finishing my course exam, I took another deep breath and faxed it to my instructor. I felt good about the answers I submitted. Then, the phone rang. My instructor called to tell me I had failed the test! Confusion, doubt, and low self-esteem crept back into the crevices of my heart. I would have to take the test again! The following four days, I rehearsed what I might have answered incorrectly. I drudged up self-talks I promised myself I would never listen to again.
Can you relate? You know the ones? Self-talk that convinces us to grab a shovel, dig a hole, and bury ourselves with lies. Lies validating our insecurities and incompetence. Lies convincing us failure will always be our companion.
In those four days, I found myself engaged in a different kind of test.
A heart test … the kind God gives.
“The refining pot is for silver, and the furnace for gold, but the LORD test hearts.” (Proverbs 17:3)
Silver and gold are refined through a purification process extracting impurities, which are then scraped away. The process is repeated until what is left shines in its purest form.
When God test hearts, impurities are exposed, as well.
Why does God test hearts?
- To purify us that we might walk in His ways.
- God tested Abraham with his son Isaac. (Genesis 22:1)
- God left King Hezekiah alone only to test him, that He might know all that was in his heart. (2 Chronicles 32:31)
- God tested the Israelite’s as they wandered in the wilderness for 40 years. (Deuteronomy 8:2)
- “You have today declared the Lord to be your God, and that you would walk in His ways and keep His statutes, His commandments, and His ordinances, and listen to His voice. ” (Deuteronomy 26:17)
- To teach us to love Him with all of our heart.
“…You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and all your soul, and with all your mind.” (Matthew 22:37)
- To shape us to the image of Christ.
“And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son… (Romans 8:28-29)
- To prepare us to be light in a dark world.
To quote Lysa Terkeurst, “God often meets with us in the quiet darkness of adversity just before taking us out into the light. He must strengthen the light in us before the spotlight is placed on us.”
You may not believe what I am about to share with you, but it really happened. On the fourth day, I received a second phone call from my instructor. With an electric excitement, he explained that there was a printing error on my exam and I had actually passed!
I told you that it’s hard to believe! 🙂
All of the anxiety, negative self-talk, confusion… was not wasted. God tested my heart and exposed what did not belong.
He loves us too much to leave our hearts tainted with impurities. The pressures and afflictions of life not only expose the hidden crevices, they strengthen our walk with God, and allow us the opportunity to be light in a dark world.
Can you remember the last time you were tested by God?
Did it purify your walk with Him?
Did God teach you to love Him with all of your heart?
Did God reshape you to reflect His image?
Let’s put down the shovel and not bury ourselves in lies any longer. Let’s allow God to use our trials to refine us … becoming the people He designed us to be.