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How and why does God test us?
Throughout the Bible, we read of God-fearing men and women coming face to face with trials, tests and hardships. When we look at the world we live in and examine the lives of Christians around us and perhaps our own lives we see the similar periods of trials today. Why would a loving God test us? Although there are many reasons to why as Christians we may be experiencing hardship it is important to remember that God is perfect, God does not desire any of his children to suffer and some trials and tests are not from God rather as a result of sin and the devil. However, as we see in the life Job, there are times when God tests us to improve our relationship with Him and mature us spiritually. If you think of a child taking a spelling test in school, although it may not be fun at the time the test means that they must prepare and improve so that they can spell the words off by heart. Likewise in order to drive, we must take a driving test. In order to pass the test, we must practise until we can safely drive on the roads. The test ensures that we are safe and able to drive. Tests in life enable us to improve and make sure we are equipped, safe and able to do certain tasks. If that is how the world tests us, how does God test us?
Just like the spelling test or the exam, it may not be pleasant or enjoyable or even seem beneficial at the time but once the test is over you hopefully have either an improved knowledge or qualification, it is the same when as Christians we face tests from God. Going through trials as Christians is often hard and draining but by turning to God in prayer, trusting him for guidance and being sure that He is working everything out for good you will eventually come out of the period of trial closer to God and stronger in spirit than before. This is often the case. God sometimes breaks us to build us back up. God sometimes sees that something in our life is not right and so allows us to go our own way before gently and graciously drawing us back to himself. Testing and trials appear in various ways. From facing the unknown, being put into a situation where we have to speak about our faith to people who seem to be mocking us; trials can be small daily experiences or large, life-changing situations. Either way, the Christian should and can live out what James wrote and, “consider it pure joy...whenever you face trials of many kinds." But why does God test us? Why won't he just get us to the place He wants us immediately?
One reason is that periods of trial not only brings us closer to God but allow us to become more dependent upon God and remember becoming closer to God through such circumstances. If God were to always simply click His fingers and make everything easy we would most probably become complacent. The process of going through a time of tribulation allows us to realise our need for God and out of our own realisation throw ourselves upon the strength, love and mercy of God. If God didn’t test us we wouldn’t know Him very well. We wouldn’t know of His deliverance and He would be placed in the back of our minds. We see this time and time again in the Bible. In the Old Testament, we see that Abram was tested by God to sacrifice Isaac. This would have been terrible things to face but Abram obeyed and by doing so demonstrated that His faith and trust in God was genuine. It is easy to say we trust God when all seems easy but do we trust God when we are being tested as Abram was tested? The Psalmist realised the benefits that come from such testing when he said: "For you, God, testing us; you refined us like silver." (Psalm 66:10) Tests that come from God are not there to destroy us rather build us up. The writer John Aldrige says “every-time Jesus pulls the rug from under us, He extends His hand to lift us to a place of refuge.” Aldridge reminds us that every time God allows us to go through periods of trials and tribulation, Jesus will always be there to lift us higher.