Thursday, June 25, 2015

Life's Tests

I remember the night that my son, a freshman college student, experienced his first full-fledged anxiety attack over impending final exams.  As to be expected, he was feeling overwhelmed by the large volumes of material he was required to know and regurgitate on his cumulative exams. I remember the feeling well. Finals are scary—no doubt about it. I did my best to reassure him that the task before him was indeed doable and that I had complete confidence in his ability to do well.  After our conversation, as I crawled into bed and rehashed our discussion in my head, I had one of those adult realizations regarding the true insignificance and relative ease of those college exams in the grand scheme of life. I realize in his present age and state, my son would likely disagree with me.  However, one day, he, too, will understand that academic tests are predictable and manageable. It is funny how age and perspective changes everything.

In recent years, I have come to understand that the most important tests in life do not come with scheduled test dates, class notes, textbooks, or professors with office hours.  In fact, the greatest tests in life generally come with absolutely no warning at all—tests like your spouse becoming a victim of corporate downsizing and losing his job of 23 years, the abrupt loss of a loved one, or the sudden and unexplained illness of your child.  These are a few of the tests life has thrown at me in recent months.  I don’t have a mathematical formula, a theory to memorize, or a graduate assistant I can consult as I face these cumulative tests. Furthermore, they multiply. Each test seems to morph into additional tests as new situations develop, people react to those situations, and life just happens.

The professor in this great class of life is the Almighty God, and as a Christian, it is my time to apply what He has been teaching me throughout these many years under His tutelage. My response to these tests and my ability to be a witness of unfailing confidence in His greater plan determines my grade in this interactive classroom called life. Without doubt, I believe all of life’s struggles are intended to point us toward faith in God’s timing and His plan for our individual lives. I also believe life’s triumphs and blessings are intended to do the same—direct us to the one who provides the blessing. What a challenge it is to us all to keep this in mind when we find ourselves in the midst of either circumstance! It is indeed a moment by moment struggle, but God does gently nudge us onward.  He has provided quite a journey for me during these past 18 months....

In the coming weeks, I plan to write about some of the lessons God has taught me about the absolute sovereignty of His timing.

 “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose”—Romans 8:28