LOOKING UP: Test results
Tuesday, 08 May 2012 by JOE BAISDEN
On any given day folks we know are awaiting test results.
A spot was seen on a lung. A biopsy is taken. Will it reveal the dreaded C word? If so, will it be treatable?
Relatives and friends gather in surgical waiting rooms hoping for good news when it comes time to hear the report of the doctor.
In a very real sense every one of us is being tested every day. The tests that we undergo are those that reveal how we will handle whatever comes into our lives, the good as well as the bad. We find out what we are made of when the test results come in.
The Wise Man of the Proverbs wrote: "If you falter in times of trouble, how small is your strength" (Prov. 24:10). We tend to think that the only tests of our strength are those related to trouble — hardships, emergencies, and tragedies.
Ray Vanderlaan, a competent student of Hebrew history points out that God tested the Children of Israel in the wilderness experience following their exodus from Egypt. The Bible says so, as Moses rehearses their experience in Deuteronomy 8:2ff:
"Remember how the Lord your God led you all the way in the wilderness these forty years, to humble and test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep His commands. He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your ancestors had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord."
Those wilderness wanderings were tough times in which the people often lamented leaving behind some of the produce they enjoyed while in the fertile land of Egypt. With the following words, Moses continues to prepare them for what God has in store for them as He bring them into the land of Canaan:
"The Lord your God is bringing you into a good land — a land with brooks, streams, and deep springs gushing out into the valleys and hills; a land with wheat and barley, vines and fig trees, pomegranates, olive oil and honey; a land where bread will not be scarce and you will lack nothing; a land where the rocks are iron and you can dig copper out of the hills."
Vanderlaan suggests that perhaps greater tests of God's people than those of the wilderness will come in this new land — not when the people are in desperate circumstances, but rather when they are blessed with abundance. Listen to Moses: "When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the Lord your God for the good land he has given you. Be careful that you do not forget the Lord your God, failing to observe his commands, his laws and his decree that I am giving you this day."
What is the test that lies ahead for them? "You may say to yourself, 'My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.' But remember the Lord your God, for it is He who gives you the ability to produce wealth. . . . If you ever forget the Lord your God and follow other gods and worship and bow down to them, I testify against you today that you will surely be destroyed. Like the nations the Lord destroyed before you, so you will be destroyed for not obeying the Lord your God."
Although we are tested today by trials and tribulations, perhaps the greater tests of us today are those of our response to life that is easy. Too often, we seek God's involvement in our lives to deal with trouble, and then forget Him when the crisis passes.
The hymn writer put it this way: 'I need Thee every hour, /in joy or pain;/Come quickly and abide, /Or life is vain."
"Bless the Lord, O my soul, and do not forget all his benefits." – Psalm 103:2