Testing can reveal many things. How deep are my beliefs? How strong is my faith? It seems we don’t really know these answers until we are tested. When an engineer is testing a boiler to see if it’s working properly, he puts it under pressure and checks for leaks. You only see the leaks when it’s under pressure. So to determine how strong my faith is…how strong my beliefs are, I need to get tested. At the same time, most of us aren’t usually delighted to be tested… to be put under stress or pressure.
When I’m not under pressure, I can think I’m someone I’m not. “Gee, I’m a great quarterback when I’m not being blitzed….. I don’t have any fear of death when I’m healthy…… I trust God for my financial well being when I have a good job and money in the bank. “Gee Dave you’re a man of faith and always peaceful…. maybe I am, but the testing will determine if that’s true or not.
Recently I’ve undergone a few tests. In truth, they have been pretty minor tests, nothing that ranks as severe or life threatening. If I was giving myself a grade for these tests, I think it would be a C+…maybe a B-. I did okay overall, but I’ve been knocked back a bit by them…. as they say, “I’m a bit off kilter”. While some overall minor health issues have got me off balance a bit, I think the bigger test for me has been experiencing the sickness and death of friends.
Death is a big test when your friends are drawing near to it…it’s the biggest test when you are drawing near to the end. I currently have two very dear friends who are on hospice and approaching the end. Because I have known them for many years…served with them through good times and bad, shared very deep spiritual experiences, enjoyed their friendship, their humor, their loyalty, this moment is touching me deeply. We’ve shared about death. We’ve experience the deaths of mutual friends. We’ve spoken about heaven. Each is a godfather to two of my children. Part of me is in denial. I don’t want to lose them. I still rely on them. How will I face future trails in our family, community, nation, and church without their support, without their understanding , without being able to talk with them ?
Yet, I’m pretty confident that my faith will be steady thru these upcoming and expected trials and those other trials that are not expected and will surprise me. The reason for this confidence is that my hope is in the Lord and I believe that he is here for my friends and for their family and for me and for you. Truly all will be well with our souls, not because we are so strong, but because our good God loves us and will take care of us.
And remember the result of this testing is, “so that the genuineness of our faith, more precious than gold which though perishable is tested by fire, may redound to praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” (1Peter 1:7) And that is very good news.