Give me a word, Lord: TESTS

Zechariah 13:9 This third I will put into the fire; I will refine them like silver and test them like gold. They will call on my name and I will answer them; I will say, ‘They are my people,’ and they will say, ‘The LORD is our God.'”

Job 23:10 But he knows the way that I take; when he has tried me, I shall come out as gold.

Psalm 66:10 For you, O God, have tested us; you have tried us as silver is tried.

With graduations occurring all around us, today I’m reflecting on high school days and college days and tests. Uggh. Tests! I used to have really bad test anxiety in school. I’m not kidding, y’all, it was BAD! It took time, but I gradually learned how to work the test anxiety to my favor, and I thank God for giving me a photographic memory. I was able to visualize my notes or the text that I needed to recall. However, I didn’t learn to study until I went to college. Boy was that a struggle! There were tests in high school, tests in college, and it seems like there have been “life” tests every day since.

Psalm 66:10 says that God tests us like silver. In order to purify silver and make it shiny and beautiful, it has to go through a series of firings to literally burn off everything that isn’t actually silver. After it has all been melted down, the silversmith blows air through it to blow off anything else that isn’t pure silver, and the end result is beautiful shiny, pure silver without any additives such as soil, dirt, or grime.

We all hate to be tested and tried. This past year has seemed like a really big test for many of us, we weren’t prepared for the test, and we still aren’t sure we will pass the test! Are we going to have a job? Are the bills going to get paid? Will we have enough food? Are we going to run out of toilet paper, gas, or whatever the latest shortage is? A virus has run rampant through our nation, and we all feel like we are in the fire. There is good news though! No matter how bad things look, God is still good, and God is still on the throne. When we look at the test, we get anxious. We worry about the outcome. We try to prepare. We worry about getting burned by the fire, but instead of looking at the test we need to focus on the Teacher. We need to remember that the testing and trying will serve to bring out the beauty in us. It will strengthen us. It will purify us. And most importantly, it teaches us to rely on the Creator rather than ourselves.

I always hated tests in school, but I always learned from them. If I missed a question, I never forgot the answer to that question ever again! I learned from my mistakes, and I took that knowledge with me. The same goes for real life. When we are tested or tried, we will make mistakes, but we learn from them, we grow from them, and we become a better person. So the next time you feel like you are in the fire, just remember that you are not there to get burned but rather you are getting purified so that you can come out as beautiful as silver and as strong as gold! Lean on the Teacher and learn from the test!

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