Why Every Test is More than Just Survival

Sometimes you hang in midair terrified, feeling your frailty as though freefalling, unsure if there will be someone to catch you below. Life sneaks up on all of us with circumstances that leave us scared stiff, or at the very least, overwhelmed. Pressures swell to deafening clamoring with all the stresses of life – bills rising, bodies breaking, relationships straining, promises pending, uncertainties looming – always with that nagging question mark of just how it will all play out.

[framed_box]We think we are spiritual giants until we’ve been pushed out of a few of our comfort zones. [/framed_box] Sometimes we live like this – for me, just recently – with a 5o pound heavy weight on our chest, our breath held tight and eyes wide, saying one word prayers from the tightness: “O God, HELP!” And all the while, we hear that scolding voice on our shoulder that says, “If you can’t handle THIS, what will happen when even harder pressures come?!”

Finding myself coming through one of these whirlwind testings, still breathless and trembling – just as the dust began to settle again – my friend sighed and concluded, “Well, glad that test is over!…You passed!” And I instantly recanted inwardly, “No way. That couldn’t have been passing!” My perspective on my scrambling, wide-eyed, short-breathed, anxious-hearted trial looked to me to be the furthest thing from victory.

What He Calls Success in the Test

But these tests are more than meet the eye. And our response in the midst of them goes deeper than what we might decipher at first glance. To me, in those moments – with that scolding shame on my shoulder and the sting of feeling my weakness in my emotions – the Lord whispered, “It’s different than you’re seeing it. You’re seeing faults but forgetting what I see so clearly.”

[framed_box]And in that moment, the remembrance came of what was happening so many times just beneath the surface of my surging emotions and racing thoughts. There I would sing my heart out in trust right in the thick of tears streaming and the lump in my throat swelling, singing my desperate dependency upon Jesus. THIS was not small to Him, but so esteemed. I was unimpressed with my spinning; He was moved by my grasping for Him in the midst of it.[/framed_box]

Even when our prayers are weak and our degree of anxiety leaves us questioning the strength of our faith, if we do these pressures in fellowship with Jesus, He weaves good right into their snare. For in these days when faith is tested and the carpet of our comforts is pulled right out from beneath us in one swift moment, there’s heart-exchange with eternal weight to be gained here.

The Gold of Finding Jesus in the Trouble

Tests weathered in fellowship with Him never leave us as we were, but always utterly altered. As Paul said, the tribulation produces perseverance, and the perseverance, character, and the character, hope (Rom. 5:3, 4).

[framed_box]This is why, when troubles hit, the goal is not just to survive – it’s not just to weather the storm and then get back to the way things were. We’re not to  just get through these freefalls, but be utterly changed by them – that change arising from our fellowship with Jesus in the center of our storm.[/framed_box]

If we do this – no matter how raw our prayers or pounding our hearts – we still pass the test. And more than pass, we gain. No matter the pressure – big or small – no matter the threat, the swelling heartache or the fear, the gold of these days is in that heart exchange with Jesus and that marks us forever. It’s about a total rearranging on the inside that wouldn’t and couldn’t have happened in the same way except for the disruption of the trial.

We take our feeble one-word prayers – or our hearts singing desperately in blind trust – and we walk through these difficult times with Jesus. And in the discovery of Him, the fellowship with Him, the deepened dependency upon Him that we find there, we are never the same. We walk away different, with an internal alteration that is not light or momentary, but with a weight that lasts forever (2 Cor. 4:17).