“For you, O God, have tested us;
you have tried us as silver is tried.”
— Psalm 66:10 (NRSV)
Tests, trials, and temptations are the opportunities we need that prove our mettle. We cannot find evidence for transformation unless we’ve experienced it. We need opportunities to trump our tests, trials, and temptations. And even if we fail our tests, are overwhelmed by our trials, or are weakened into submitting to our temptations, we have hope in the next opportunity, and the next, and so on. God is faithful; he will give us more opportunities in order to grow.
Such are tests, trials, and temptations: the stimulus for triumph. But this is not triumphalism for its own accord. No, God is turning what would be disaster into possible victory because of the example of Jesus, through the power of the Holy Spirit.
So we come from a situation of loathing our tests, trials, and temptations and we move—or better, are transformed—into an attitudinal situation where we see these three as initiatory spurs; compelling, propelling, and impelling us toward the very purposes of life: to overcome.
A Poem – Purpose In Tests, Trials, and Temptations
Challenges and tests are the defining of me,
They purpose and prophesy who I’m to be,
When I see them this way I’m beautifully blessed,
Because they are God’s ammunition bringing out my best.
I can tell this is true when I’ve finished the task,
When I can again take off my mask,
Because there are times when I must ascend,
When I am called to faithfully contend.
And God’s reward is insistently true,
That I in my obedience will pull through,
For the taste of blessing is never better than this,
Where I am again afforded consummate bliss.
The poem attests to the fact that challenges and tests tend to define us—how we receive them and work through them. They are God’s crucible in which our characters are refined, as we are tried like silver. We are blessed to see life like this in the midst of challenges and tests. By being tried and found true our best is brought out so we can see it. God needs no convincing; he knows we can trump our tests, trials, and temptations, by the power of the Holy Spirit.
As we finish the task—which is getting through the challenging time—we can afford to take off the mask of patient-with-ourselves-and-grateful-to-God stoicism that saw us through. By this stoicism of good faith we ascend the rawness of our problems in the realisation of hope. We are called to faithfully contend in patience and gratitude.
God’s reward is ever true. As we continue to obey we are steadily drawn toward pulling through. There is hardly a more blissful moment than having trumped the test, trial, or temptation.
© 2012 S. J. Wickham.