I still get a little confused about this sometimes.
I have been a believer for most of my life and I still can’t always tell when God is giving me a sign or whether he is testing me. I think many times I look for signs rather than admit that God is testing me.
Right now is one of those times. I have asked God for a clear sign about something but I haven’t seen it. I have, however, dealt with some obstacles in this situation. I think we all want that “burning bush” sign but we don’t want to be in the fire during a test.
It is certainly difficult to keep one’s focus. I really try not to make things super spiritual but there are times you just have to depend on God.
I have thought about the story of the three Hebrew children in Daniel 3. This is where the king issues a proclamation that everyone would worship the image of the king. If they didn’t, they would be thrown into a flaming furnace. Well, there were three dudes named Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego who refused. They stood up for their worship to God alone. They told the king that God would take care of them. The king threw them into the furnace and even turned up the heat seven times hotter. Now, you have to wonder how they were feeling. They had to be scared at this point. Today it would be “Okay God where is the sign?” but none came. God didn’t rescue them from the fire but preserved them IN the fire. Not only did God protect them but they weren’t even touched by the fire.
This shows us that when the time for the test comes that we might still feel the intensity of the heat of the situation but God can protect us while we are in the fire. Too many times we whine and complain when something happens to us. We assume that because we are a believer that we won’t have a flat tire or someone will fuss at us about something. We have to deal with these situations just like everyone else so the important thing is HOW do we deal with these situations.
I have had to deal with people recently that has made an experience very unpleasant. I have been tested. I am sure I haven’t passed every time. I always look back and wonder how I could have handled things differently. I am easily frustrated when someone doesn’t do their job and it creates an unnecessary stressful situation for me. Silly me to expect someone to do their job. At times I have not been so nice and others I have. Yes, this has been a season of testing.
I don’t propose that I am anything like the three Hebrew guys that survived the fire but it is comforting that God was in the fire with them.
So why does God test us? I have asked that question a lot recently. I think He does it to show us what we need to work on. Will we trust Him or will we try to do it ourselves? After the last few weeks, I see that I need to work on a LOT. I didn’t get an “F” but I didn’t get an “A” on the tests either. It’s easy to trust God and sing songs when things are going your way but what happens when someone is in your face about something? The test is when we can’t hear the praise soundtrack playing in the background.
Life is hard and it isn’t always fair. We have to deal with it. Even for believers. Crap happens to us just like everyone else. The tests are important to teach us. I can’t say I like them but I know they are instrumental in developing my character. Testing hurts.
So, if you are looking for signs, you might want to consider if it is really a test. Is it a burning bush or a fiery furnace?
And, not to offend our spiritual views, but sometimes things aren’t a sign or a test. Sometimes things just happen. Mechanical things break. People are buttheads. That’s just part of the world we live in. We don’t have to make something spiritual of everything that happens to us. The microwave is going to break and sometimes people coming out to fix it will be totally incompetent. Stuff happens. God isn’t against us and sometimes neither God or the devil have anything to do with what is happening to us.
So whether it is a sign, a test or just stuff happening to us, we can still get through it without us losing our minds. Is it easy? Nope. Can we avoid it? Nope. We can only do the best we can and make the best decisions possible and leave the results to God.