I was talking to my sister at the bus terminal a few years ago when our conversation was interrupted by a loud beep and an announcement over the loudspeaker that went something like this:
"Pardon the interruption. This is a test of our emergency system. This is only a test."
The announcement replayed several times while we waited for my sister's bus to arrive, and it got me thinking, Wouldn't it be nice if when we were going through our trials, we could hear a similar announcement warning us that what we're experiencing is only a test!
What if the next time your car breaks down, you get blindsided by a bill in the mail or you hear a loved one is in trouble, before you could even start to panic you heard, "Beep. This is only a test. Everything is going to be OK"?
Wouldn't that gentle warning help you remain calm and not freak out so much?
Over the years, I've tried to make it a point to view trials more as the tests they really are. It helps me to keep things in perspective.
You may be facing a battle that seems so colossal, so devastating or so disappointing that you're tempted to lose hope. You may feel as though God has forgotten you. You may think He is ignoring you. You may even be doubting if He's good.
Could I encourage you that God is right there with you, and He will walk with you, strengthen you and comfort you all the way through? The trial will help to build your faith and will help you to get to know Jesus in a deeper way.
Jesus is the Master at breathing life into barren places. He is the light that shines in the darkness. He brings hope, love, healing, restoration, peace and more into chaos.
Remember that as a believer, you are safe in the palm of God's hand. He's got you covered better than any doctor, lawyer, stockbroker or insurance policy ever could. He is a friend who sticks closer than a brother (see Prov. 18:24).
What are you facing today? Be encouraged that:
This trial won't last forever. "Our light affliction, which lasts but for a moment, works for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal" (2 Cor. 4:17-18).
There is a purpose for the tests. "My brothers, count it all joy when you fall into diverse temptations, knowing that the trying of your faith develops patience. But let patience perfect its work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing" (James 1:2-4).
As we pass these tests, God is glorified. "In this you greatly rejoice, even though now, if for a little while, you have had to suffer various trials, in order that the genuineness of your faith, which is more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tried by fire, may be found to result in praise, glory, and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ" (1 Pet. 6-7).
We have the victory in Christ! "I have told you these things so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But be of good cheer. I have overcome the world" (John 16:33).
So when the tests come, let's try to spot them early and let's learn from Job, who said:
"But He knows the way that I take; when He has tested me, I will come forth as gold" (Job 23:10).
Nancy Gavilanes is an author, speaker, life coach and evangelist who has a passion to encourage people as they walk by faith and live their God-given dreams. She is the author of By Faith, Waiting on God Well, Abounding Faith and Crossing Your Jordan River and the host of the new "Abounding Faith for Today Podcast" on iTunes, Spotify, Google Podcasts and Stitcher. Nancy has a master's degree in journalism from New York University, has been on short-term missions trips to five countries and has spoken to various groups, including to Christians working at the United Nations and to students at Nyack College. She has also given her brief testimony at her home church, Times Square Church. Connect with Nancy at AboundingFaith.com, on Twitter, Amazon or the "Abounding Faith for Today" podcast on iTunes, Google Podcasts, Spotify or Stitcher.
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