The Word Psalm 17:3
You have tested my heart; You have visited me in the night; You have tried me and have found nothing.
Just the other day, I was talking to the Lord and trying to explain why I was taking a certain decision in my life. It appeared I was belaboring the point. As I kept talking, (the Bible does say we should bring our strong reasons), He spoke to me. ‘Chinwe, you don’t have to defend your position. I have tested your heart. Now you can go back to your life.’
You see, my family had been through a very uncomfortable year and a half. Then an opportunity came forward and we felt we should take it. But it seemed like we were running away from the hard place, taking the easy way out. And I was trying to explain myself to Him. Then He taught me a lesson about trials.
The purpose of a trial is not to teach you anything. Trials are strictly to test the heart. To find out how much the heart trusts and believes in God’s ability to save. God wants to see Himself in your heart. In other words, your heart is a mirror for God. It is usually an uncomfortable experience, but not all uncomfortable situations you pass through as a Christian are trials. After a trial, a believer will go back to his normal life but on a higher pedestal. After a trail a believer would normally have accelerated growth because of the favor of God on his life. After a trial, a believer comes out with a better understanding of the faithfulness and love God has towards His people. Gratitude for who God becomes the believers state of heart after a trial.
God was testing Abraham’s heart when He asked him to slaughter his son. The last two years of Joseph’s stay in prison was a test of His heart towards God. How would he think about God, being in jail for a crime he did not commit? Especially after the butler and baker had left prison knowing they should speak up but did not. Job’s experience was a trial from God. What would He say when the chips are down? Ruth losing her husband was a trial from God? How would this heathen lady from Moab react to Naomi’s God who allowed His people to die? Would she believe or would she scorn Him? There are several examples in the Bible of God testing men, finding out what they really feel about Him.
However, sometimes we are in the refining pot and we feel it is a trial. The refining pot is not a trail. It does not test the heart. It purifies the believer. It is a school. It prunes his excesses and teaches him to be more like God. It is also usually a very uncomfortable place but he comes out a better person, a more godly person, more like the God He calls. An example is Paul’s thorn in the flesh. It is in such places that we learn patience, humility, love, forgiveness etc. We either pick up a strength or let go a weakness when we go through the refining pot.
Lastly we go through a tough time with God, when we walk in disobedience. This is the place of chastisement. It is not a trial. A good example would be the prodigal son being a slave to the point of eating pig food. The nasty experience is as a result of ungodly choices we make while being believers. Usually the believer would come out of that one with repentance towards God.
Every believer goes though these three-the trial, the refining pot, the place of chastisement at different times of his walk with God. When you are in the trial what God want to hear is, ‘I love you Lord no matter my circumstance. Like Job, even if you slay me I will still praise you’. When being purified, what God wants to hear is, Lord, your grace is sufficient for me’, ‘ teach me your ways Oh Lord’. When being chastened, God wants to hear is ‘I am sorry Lord, I messed up, restore me to You Lord’ Like David, ‘Take not your Holy Spirit from me’.
He took His time to show me the difference. And he said to me, ‘Your experience was a test of your hearts. Now it’s time to go back to your life. The test is over’. I was of the opinion that a test would mean another life, he showed me how all the people he tested went back to their normal lives and grew exponentially beyond their imagination-Abraham, Job, Ruth, Jesus, Joseph. I felt a heavy weight was lifted off my shoulders. The weight of guilt. I walked out of the room feeling ten feet tall. I felt loved and special. I felt like I was in a safe place. I thought, ‘ Lord, I hope my heart will always be faithful to you’.
The good thing about the three negative experiences with God is that they all come to an end. They are not eternal. He will start and end them and will work the work of salvation in our lives. We are in good hands despite the experience. He will have His perfect work in our lives. I don’t know which one you are in as you read this piece, but remember it will end, sooner rather than later. Just give Him the pleasure of saying the correct thing to Him and you will be released from it. It will pass. God bless you. Ck