Synopsis: Good news! If there is a test in your life that is stressing you to the point of cracking, even if you have to “faith it,” just know this: God is at work! God never allows a test that is not without a purpose and a plan. The purpose is to show you that you cannot do life apart from him—and knowing that is the highest knowledge a human being will ever attain. The plan is to bring you to a place of humble dependence on his immutable goodness and constant provision—and there is no better place to be. So thank God for tests!
The Journey // Focus: Deuteronomy 8:2-5
Remember how the Lord your God led you through the wilderness for these forty years, humbling you and testing you to prove your character, and to find out whether or not you would obey his commands. Yes, he humbled you by letting you go hungry and then feeding you with manna, a food previously unknown to you and your ancestors. He did it to teach you that people do not live by bread alone; rather, we live by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord. For all these forty years your clothes didn’t wear out, and your feet didn’t blister or swell. Think about it: Just as a parent disciplines a child, the Lord your God disciplines you for your own good.
Like Alexander the Horrible, have you just come through a really terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day? Maybe it’s not just the day, it’s the season you are in that makes you feel like you are on a losing streak—with no end in sight. Perhaps the weight of an unwanted burden is straining your capacity—and if one more thing is added, you will break. It might be that personal failures and shortcomings are constant reminders of your incompetence—you just don’t measure up. Maybe it’s not just your day that is really terrible, horrible, no good, and very bad—it is you! Or so you think.
Good news! If there is a test in your life that is stressing you to the point of cracking, even if you have to “faith it,” just know this: God is at work! Moses reminds you that God never allows a test that is not without a purpose and a plan. The purpose is to show you that you cannot do life apart from him, and knowing that is the highest knowledge a human being will ever attain. The plan is to bring you to a place of humble dependence on his immutable goodness and constant provision, and there is no better place to be. So thank God for tests!
Slowly read and absorb these verses again from the Message translation:
Remember every road that God led you on for those forty years in the wilderness, pushing you to your limits, testing you so that he would know what you were made of, whether you would keep his commandments or not. He put you through hard times. He made you go hungry. Then he fed you with manna, something neither you nor your parents knew anything about, so you would learn that men and women don’t live by bread only; we live by every word that comes from God’s mouth. Your clothes didn’t wear out and your feet didn’t blister those forty years. You learned deep in your heart that God disciplines you in the same ways a father disciplines his child.
Whatever the test you are enduring, stop what you are doing, set aside your raw emotions, fears, frustrations, disappointment and anger to reframe your thinking so that you are focusing on God’s purpose and plan for you. Realize how privileged you are that God’s has allowed, or caused, and always uses what you are going through for your gain and his glory. Think of these wise words from Hebrews 12:7-11,
Endure hardship as discipline. Remember that God is treating you as his own children. Who ever heard of a child who is never disciplined by its father? If God doesn’t discipline you as he does all of his children, it means that you are illegitimate and are not really his children at all. Since we respected our earthly fathers who disciplined us, shouldn’t we submit even more to the discipline of the Father of our spirits, and live forever? For our earthly fathers disciplined us for a few years, doing the best they knew how. But God’s discipline is always good for us, so that we might share in his holiness. No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening—it’s painful! But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way.
So you see, a really terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day is really not so terrible, horrible, no good or very bad after all. Reframe your hardship or your test as the discipline of your loving Father, because “God disciplines those he loves, as a father the child he delights in.” (Proverbs 3:12)
Got a test? Congratulations, it means you are incredibly loved.