Life Is A Test

Thursday, May 18, 2017
Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "Jesus Bids Us Shine"1 (Lyrics)

I'm taking a course in sign language. All ages — from young children to seniors — are in the class, and some of us are hard of hearing. We're often confused, leading to some hilarious moments. The class is a lot of fun, though I'm not sure how much I'm learning. I commented that I was glad that there would be no test. A classmate replied that as a teacher, she believes that tests are not to find out what her students have learned, but to discover how well she has taught them. This was a new concept for me.

Another woman joined the conversation. She home-schools her children. She claimed that in a large class, it's impossible to know how every child is performing — hence the need for tests. Since this young mother knows exactly how well her children are doing, there's no need to test them. However, her oldest son will be attending high school in September. She has to begin preparing him to take exams.

God tested the Israelites in the wilderness to see whether they would follow His instructions about gathering manna. Jesus tested His disciples by asking them where they could buy bread for such a large crowd, when He already knew what he would do. Jesus was often called Teacher, but even He was tested in the wilderness by the devil. Peter tells us not to be surprised at the fiery ordeals that come on us to test us. We face tests all through life. Indeed, all of life is a test!

Genesis 22:2 – Then God said, "Take your son, your only son, whom you love — Isaac — and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on a mountain I will show you." (NIV 2011)

What a strange test! An old man, Abraham probably thought that his hearing was failing. It couldn't have made any sense to him. God had promised Abraham too many descendants to count. How could that promise be fulfilled if he killed his only son? Yet Abraham set out to obey. He must have trusted God to restore Isaac's life, because he told his servants, "We will return", not "I will return". At the last moment, God provided a ram for a sacrifice in Isaac's place, symbolic of the Lamb of God sacrificing His life for us.

Like the mother who home-schools, God already knows how we'll respond to tests. We're His children; He knows us intimately. He challenges us because He wants us to know how well we can submit. Our willingness to obey (or not) reveals our commitment and trust in Him.

We're saved in order to serve, and we serve out of gratitude and obedience. Although God gives us the option, we really have no right to withhold our gifts or our time. How well do we grasp that? God knows — but do we? Only by being tested can we learn the truth.

Prayer: Father, as Your pupils, we confess that we don't do well in tests — our selfish desires often take first place over Yours. Help us to realize that we are Your servants and that our job is to obey. Amen.

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About the author:

JJ Ollerenshaw <>
Belleville, Ontario, Canada

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    Good lesson today JJ. Thanks for sharing.

    Thanks for very inspiring thoughts as I deal with stressful deadlines today.

    The world is certainly being tested at this time. So far I would say we are failing the test.

    Hi JJ,
    We are being tested and we know the truth.
    Thank you for writing.

    Dear JJ!
    Thanks for writing about tests! Testing is in life’s curriculum. And “though God’s arm be strong to smite it is also strong to save” speaks healing in Christ Jesus!
    Blessings to you and yours!

    Dear JJ,
    “Trust and obey for there’s no other way,” goes the traditional chorus, that your devotional reminds me of.
    We can trust our Lord for he is plenteous in the grace of our free salvation
    Keep writing.

    Got a chuckle from your thought of the day.

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