Short on time, I barreled through the online material. What was estimated to take an hour, I completed in only fifteen minutes, answered the comprehension test questions and hit “submit”. The following announcement popped on my screen:
“Your score is 67%. Passing requires 70% minimum. You must repeat this lesson.” I tried to access the next module. The program refused to let me move on until I met the requirement.
I laughed because God warned me that morning. My devotional cautioned me not to rush through lessons, but I didn’t heed the message. The passage warned that God tests us and often does so until we pass. Sometimes He even insists on an “A” before letting us move on (from Beth Moore, Scriptures and Quotations from Believing God.)
Just like in school, God’s tests come in different forms. Sometimes His tests are pop quizzes—brief but unexpected multiple-choice moments that tempt me to choose the expedient over the transforming. Others are those longer, chapter exams that require subject comprehension and filling in blanks with trust in God’s promises. However, the most difficult tests are the dreaded finals. Those lengthy essay exams that cover an entire season of life and challenge me to remain in the situation, relying on God’s faithfulness for as long as it takes.
But, why does God insist on testing me? The answer lies in my college American History class. Professor “S” asked only three essay questions on each exam. Passing grades demanded more than just spitting out facts but also obliged me to write a documentary analyzing all causes and implications, most of which Professor “S” covered in class but was not found in the text.
To earn my “A”, I kept up with reading materials, attended every 8 AM class, took copious notes, and studied into the wee hours of the morning before exams. While painfully difficult, Professor “S” stretched me to think through situations from all angles and strengthened my problem-solving skills. Just like God. While painfully difficult, His tests develop my endurance, strengthen my character and remind me of my total dependence on Him.
Of all my professors, I remember and appreciate Professor “S” most of all. Likewise, of all my trials, I remember and appreciate most those God allows in my life. They shape me into the person He wants me to be and draw me into a closer relationship with my Teacher and Lord.
So, I returned to my online test to embrace what it would teach me. I hoped to get an “A.” In what test is God insisting you pass or earn an “A” before moving on?
“We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us,…” (Romans 5:1-5, NLT).