My training for the long-distance race was going badly, and the latest run was particularly disappointing. I walked half the time and even had to sit down at one point. It felt like I had failed a mini-test.
Then I remembered that this was the whole point of training. It was not a test to pass, nor was there a grade I had to achieve. Rather, it was something I simply had to go through, again and again, to improve my endurance.
Perhaps you feel bad about a trial you are facing. God allows us to undergo these times of testing to toughen our spiritual muscles and endurance. He teaches us to rely on Him, and purifies us to be holy, so that we become more like Christ.
No wonder the psalmist could praise God for refining the Israelites through fire and water (Ps. 66:10–12) as they suffered in slavery and exile. God not only preserved them and brought them to a place of great abundance, but also purified them in the process.
As we go through testing, we can rely on God for strength and perseverance. He is refining us through our toughest moments.
Lord, I know that You allow me to go through trials so that I will be strengthened and purified. Teach me to keep relying on You for Your strength to endure.
Faith-testing times can be faith-strengthening times.
Echoing the confident sentiment of Psalm 66:10, an Old Testament man named Job said, “When [God] has tested me, I will come forth as gold” (Job 23:10). Job was in financial ruin, his ten children had died, and he was afflicted with a painful disease (1:13–19; 2:7). In the midst of these trials, he sought to understand why he had to suffer so much. His three friends believed his suffering was God’s punishment for his sins (4:7–9; 8:4–7). But Job rejected their accusations and sought an answer from God (23:1–5). God seemed absent (vv. 8–9), yet in a moment of raw faith, Job expressed his intuitive conviction that God was testing him to prove the purity of his character. Job entrusted himself to God’s ways and drew strength from His Word (vv. 10–12).
In a similar way, God tests us to show the quality of our faith (Prov. 17:3; Isa. 48:10; James 1:12; 1 Peter 1:6–7; 4:1–13).
How has testing helped to refine your faith? What encouragement from Psalm 66 helps you remain faithful in the midst of testing? Sim Kay Tee