Today’s reading: Ecclesiastes 10:1-Ephesians 2:22
Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there by any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting! Psalm 139:23-24
Testing, testing, one, two, three…
Everything is tested. An inventor tests His gadgets over and over again before they are declared worthy of being “done”. A student takes hundreds of tests to prove their ability, or lack there of, to move on to the next level of education. This week my son had to take a swimming test. Now, I have to elaborate here a bit, mostly because it’s a story about my son but also because it shows my point quite well.
God has blessed me with an AMAZING group of friends, one of these amazing friends just happens to own a pool and be generous enough to let us all swim in it! Well, this week was the grand opening of Miss Peggy’s pool. So we started by sitting down and listening to Miss Peggy’s pool rules. One of which was that all kids had to take a swimming test to swim in the deep end of the pool without a life jacket on. The test entailed swimming from one short side of the pool and back, that was it. Now, the kids that were at this grand opening party are no newbies when it comes to swimming. They’ve all logged many many hours into their swim books before opening day, BUT, that didn’t change the rule. So I dove into the deep end (read Pursue to see how big of a deal this is), lined up my son and his friend who also wanted to swim minus life jackets and had them swim to the other side and back for their “test”. Now, I knew they would have no problem passing with flying colors, they both knew they could do it, so why did they have to go through the test? To PROVE to themselves that they could do it. (And to honor our gracious hostesses wishes.)
You see, I believe that is what all testing is. God is omnipotent, He know EVERYTHING, He GOD. He doesn’t need to test us to know if we’re ready for the next stage or to be put out onto the battle field yet or not. He’s GOD, He already knows all those things… but we don’t.
Today has been a testing day for me, this whole week has been really. It’s been filled with moments here and there of doubts, questions about where I stand in my faith… or if I would stand at all. Moments where I was faced with a decision, will I choose to believe what God has taught me and shown me… or will I go the way I’ve always gone before? Will I revert to my old way of thinking or will I trust my maker, my inventor, to do the things He’s told me He would do – be the One He’s told me that He is? And every time, it’s been a choice. It’s been a minute where I’ve had the liar and deceiver in my ear harping at me with discouraging and negative thoughts about myself, my friends, my ministry, my husband, my kids, my parents, you name it he’s tried getting me down with it. From things like:
“Kelly is at home all alone right now without a husband, and your husband hasn’t gotten any in a long time, they’ll probably get together tonight while he’s over there fixing her car…” (Sometimes he’s not very good at firing his darts at my heart…)
“Kelly don’t forget about me when you move…” (sometimes he’s right on target.)
At every point I had the choice, do I believe this thought that I just captured running through my mind? Or do I cast it out like yesterday’s trash? I’ll admit, there were a few that I let them burn me a little as those firey darts started to sink deeper into my skin but as far as I can tell I was able to eventually hold up my trusty shield of faith and extinguish them all one by one. But it wasn’t easy. I’m not altogether sure when the testing began, but I know that by Wednesday night I was starting to droop from battle fatigue, Thursday wasn’t too terrible, but Friday and Saturday were just plain… well… a pain! Wednesday I described it as “static” it was becoming difficult for me to function and hear the Holy Spirit clearly. That static seemed to intensify with each passing day until I came to the middle of the day today. I’ve been working hard to prepare for my daughter’s birthday party tomorrow and simply didn’t have time for a spiritual battle in the midst of it all. I’m sure you know how it goes. Yet that’s precisely what was happening. But God is good and helps us in our time of need. He had scheduled for one of our neighbor’s daughter’s birthday party to be Saturday afternoon so that I could have two whole hours all to myself to sort things out. Isn’t He the greatest!?!
There I sat in the middle of my bed, my Bible clutched to my chest praying that the Holy Spirit would come and fill me with His fire, to open my eye because I want to see Him! Begging God to help me through this ring of fire I seemed to be passing through and it dawned on me. This was the same test that I had been through five years ago when my daughter was born! You see, I had Ecclampsia with my son, which is really high blood pressure that resulted in me having two seizures, my kidneys had started to shut down and we had to do an emergency c-section where I felt like I was going to have a third seizure right there on the operating table. In other words, it was really bad and the likelyhood of it happening with subsequent pregnancies was very likely. So when I found out that I was pregnant again, after trying for what felt like an eternity, I was thrilled and terrified all at the same time. I sat down in the middle of my bed and prayed. I told God, You gave me this baby so I know that this is Your plan. I am choosing to trust You with my life Lord. If I die, I know where I’m going and I’m trusting you to take care of my husband and my son in my absence. If I have another seizure and tramatic pregnancy, I’m trusting You that it is Your plan. Whatever happens with this baby and me, we are in Your hands because I’m trusting You. And I will never forget the feeling of peace that washed over me after I prayed. No Holy Spirit words were spoken that I remember, but I just had this all over knowing that it wasn’t going to happen again. That I wouldn’t have a seizure again and that I wouldn’t die. I could proceed in this pregnancy knowing that it would end well.
Well, I spent six weeks on bedrest due to early high blood pressure and protein levels. The last week of that was in the hospital under the close watch of my doctor monitoring everything. By ALL outward appearances it certainly looked like we were headed right down that same path that ended in seizures and possible death, but the entire ride down that dark road I clung to the peace, that moment of Light when God had washed over me with the confidence that it “wouldn’t happen again”. Yet here we were and it was certainly looking like it was happening all over again. My Mom and husband were both a wreck. They were trying to hide it from me, but neither one of them was doing a very good job. I kept trying to tell them that it would be OK, and that God had told me that I wouldn’t have another seizure, but since I was the only one that had had that Light washing experience it was really hard… well… probably impossible for them to really understand what I meant. I had the peace that passes all understanding, they didn’t. At least not as much of it as I did. Then the day came when all the tested levels came back at just the right amounts to cause our doctor to breeze into the room and say “It’s time! Let’s have a baby!” Then whisk me off to the operating room to have another c-section. Within an hour from the announcement our little Princess was born, healthy and strong, and so was her mother! No worse for the wear, just tired and very glad that the whole ordeal was OVER!
I had spent nine months fighting the voice of the Liar trying to tempt me into giving up the belief that God would protect me and that He would hold true on His promise to keep me alive. I had a week where every single outward appearance pointed to the same end as the first time… but I didn’t give up and I didn’t end up in that same place either! God held up His end of the bargain, He ALWAYS does! God is faithful one-hundred percent of the time. In that moment on the middle of my bed He didn’t tell me nothing would happen, He gave me a peace that I would not have another seizure or die and I didn’t!
My friend, tests aren’t for God to discover what we’re made of and what we believe, He already knows those things. Tests are for US to discover what we’re made of and what we believe. An untested belief is just that, untested. Just like an untested invention is an unknown, a question as to whether or not it will hold up under the pressure it was built to withstand, so are we! Until we’ve walked through the ring of fire we really don’t know what we’re capable of accomplishing or what we REALLY believe. And, if we know what we believe, we may not know if it will stand up under the pressure of a dramatic circumstance.
Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. Hebrews 11:1
She considered God faithful to fulfill His promise to her… and He was.
Tests are an opportunity where we choose to believe in God or believe in our circumstances. Choosing to believe in God is NEVER the wrong choice! Even when it seems like He’s telling you to sacrifice your only hope at achieving the promise He made, there’s always a ram in the bush just waiting to be discovered. (Genesis 22)