This Is Only A Test… Or Is It?

This is only a test… if this had been an actual emergency, blah blah, blah. I can’t remember what comes next, but I distinctly remember the sound of that blaring tone announcing the test of the Emergency Broadcast System from the early days of television.

thisisatestSo often lately I’ve been seeing so many people commenting on God’s testing of them. We are all supposed to view these troubles as some great test that we need to pass. In fact, on Facebook I’m seeing it every time I scroll down my newsfeed, over and over again… a picture someone has made to share, and it’s getting passed around like hotcakes… here is what it says, “When you are going through something hard, and wonder where God is, remember the Teacher is always quiet during the test.” Let me share a little secret with you… that saying and that picture makes me want to scream and rip my hair out! Mostly because I know, by the amount of times I’m seeing it, that there are many people buying into that rubbish!

It sounds, at least on the surface, like such a cutesy little saying, and I’m sure it’s meant to bring encouragement to those who are suffering. But it doesn’t, does it? Who among us could possibly be encouraged to think that this great suffering and pain comes directly from our God? And more importantly, it doesn’t line up with what scripture tells us about our Father in Heaven.

Let’s look at a few verses together.

James 1:13 says, “And remember, when you are being tempted, do not say, “God is tempting me.” God is never tempted to do wrong, and he never tempts anyone else.”

We learn in an earlier verse of that same chapter (verse 5), “If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking.”

And finally, we read, “The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.” – 1 Corinthians 10:13

I ask you, do any of those sound like a God who sends in the tortuous test to possibly break us, and then sits back in silence to simply observe what we will do? The answer is No! I tell you that this is just the kind of lie that the father of lies would love for us to embrace as truth!! In fact, the verse in 1 Corinthians reveals that God does not give us no more than we can bear, but He allows no more than we can bear. Do you see the difference? Our troubles do not stem from our Lord’s making!

Will we be tested in this world? Certainly! Are we told that the various tests and trials that we fall into can produce good fruit in our lives? (James 1:3, 12) Yes! But these tests do not originate with our Father! Do you hear that? They do not! The tests we take on, the trials we endure are a result of our own desires (if a sin temptation), a simple twist of fate (as is the terminology), or a direct attack from our spiritual enemy!

God has already rescued us from the ultimate fear, and He now waits for us to ask for His aid in defeating what is tempting us to doubt Him! That doubt, that lack of faith, is a temptation to fall into sin and discouragement. The discouragement becomes a crack, which becomes a fissure, which develops quickly into a gaping maw that threatens to swallow us up into darkness. Does that sound like a challenge the Lord would send you? No! It sounds like it comes from exactly where it DOES come from. Do not be fooled, sweet friends.

Dear Lord, help us to recognize Your true nature. Forgive us when we misunderstand in our desperate times. We want to cling to You. Thank You for never allowing more than we can bear. In Jesus’ Name, Amen…


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10 Comments on “This Is Only A Test… Or Is It?

  1. How would you deal with Genesis 22:1 when it says that God tested Abraham?
    Just something to think about.

    • Interesting question, and thank you for participating in the comments! The testing that I am referring to in this article is the testing that is designed specifically to cause us to fail (ie. constant pain, chronic illness, disability). I have never found a scripture that indicates that God places evil, pain or suffering in our way in order to test us. There are many verses where it is allowed, but none where He actually places the suffering in our paths, to my knowledge. Yet, this has become the fall-back reaction to any tragedy in our lives. What would be the purpose of “testing” a baby with a terrible disease? There is none…. because that trial did not originate from God. In other words, a trial that is filled with evil, pain, suffering, and failure cannot have God as it’s author. We can still pass or fail those tests, which is why we must turn to Him regardless of where the trial originates!

      God’s tests are designed to expose our own weaknesses to ourselves; to give us a more perfect understanding of who we are and who He is, and He tests us in order to strengthen us in those areas which we are falling short in. Abraham’s test was designed to mature him as a child of God, and also to stand as a beacon to us who read it in the future, that we can relate to a father who was expected to sacrifice his only son whom he loved so dearly. Remember that the sacrifice took place on the same area that would later become Golgotha… coincidence?…. I think not! There was no physical torture, endless suffering, or disability inflicted during the test, much less AS the test. And the test only lasted for a short period of time. I have no problem seeing in scripture where God does test us, it’s the HOW of it that I take umbrage with.

      I wrote this devo in order to show that the temptations are never from God, and that God is never “silent” or “absent” in his treatment of us during trying times in order to simply observe our reactions and the outcomes. Scripture proves time and again that God is willing and able, and yes even eager to provide help, wisdom, and a way out of our temptations. God’s tests are different than the temptations and trials of the devil. God’s test is whether we act on His Word, trusting Him. Remember that God is for you — He is on your side. He would never leave you to suffer unimaginably while He sits in silence.

      I hope this makes sense, I tried to be as clear as I could, but I really do welcome any discussion of this or any scriptural topic, and I’m the first to admit that I’ve been wrong plenty of times, and will be again…. might be now. lol Please let me know if I confused you with this answer, or if you think it’s ME who’s still confused. 😉 Wouldn’t be the first time. Blessings, Shelly

      • Thanks for you response to my comment.
        As you said, the testing that God gives purifies our lives (discipline – Hebrews 12:3-11) and proves that our faith is genuine (1 Peter 1:6-7). But in some ways, I would not go to the extreme to say that God never causes suffering. I think that Abraham might of thought what God commanded him to do as evil and cruel in the moment. I’m sure he suffered! Who wouldn’t? But sometimes our definition of good is different than God’s (Rom. 8:28).

        • I think maybe we are missing each other here simply because we are seeing this through differing lenses. I have no doubt that the test that God used for Abraham caused him suffering, and sometimes it does seem cruel. I also believe that God can still test us in those ways in this day and time. For instance, do we love God more or our parents more, when we are forced to choose between being a Christian or honoring their wishes? Those are the types of tests that God uses… they do cause us turmoil, deep soul-searching, and sometimes pain.

          May I ask, in all sincerity, where you find proof that God is the one who has given me this thorn? And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. – Romans 8:28… you chose this verse to prove your point. I contend that this verse only shows that God causes these bad times to work together for my good, not that He originally caused them. God works within the circumstances of our life, and He can do wonderful things, bring about maturity in us, and help us to see Him in even the darkest moments so that our testimony becomes even more powerful. He can even thwart the best-laid plans of the enemy in this way, as I believe He did on Calvary and the days following. But God did not CAUSE my suffering, He is simply working powerfully through it. He may refuse to remove the thorn. He may feel that this thorn showcases His power in my life. I accept that. But I do not accept that this suffering is FROM Him.

          If I were to accept that this suffering is directly from God, that leads me down a dark path. I believe that any thought we have regarding God or scripture must be followed through to it’s end, to prove whether it holds up under scrutiny the entire way. If it does not, then the original thought was probably faulty. Let’s follow this thought to the end…. God causes my suffering… why? There will be a reason, because God doesn’t “toy” with us, He refines us (if indeed the test is from Him). Perhaps because of sin in my life (discipline). Ok, so I have suffered for 5 years with this disease that has completely halted and almost taken my life. In those 5 years, what part of me, inside and out, do you feel I have not scrutinized under a microscope? Do you think God would just let me go on and on in this suffering until I guess the correct sin He wishes me to change? Is that the way He has EVER operated? Anytime in scripture that I see someone disciplined, their sin was either obvious, known to them, or made known to them by God. So that is not the cause of my suffering. I am not refusing to turn from any sin in my life, therefore this rules out God causing this for discipline.
          Perhaps this is just something, then that God is working together for my good…. but, wait, we’ve already explained that that interpretation is not what Romans 8:28 says. Ok, moving on…
          Maybe this is just a test of God’s that isn’t as light as I feel it should be. God has never given a test that lasts your entire life. He has never tested a CHILD’S faith. What would be the point in that, in light of Matthew 19:14? And if this is our interpretation, then where do we draw the line between what is God and what is simply a result of the evil in this world and the decay of this earth? Is everyone who loses a spouse or a child being tested? Was THAT test sent by God? Or how about people who suffer natural disasters like tornadoes or hurricanes, tsunamis or wildfires? Are THEY being tested? How about the elder in the church who has dedicated His life to God, and now will die of a painful cancer? Would you explain to HIM that this is only a test, and that the Teacher will now be silent?

          Like I said in the beginning of this comment, I really do feel that we are just not on the same page because we are talking about 2 very different things. You are making a point that God tests, and sometimes those tests are painful for us to go through. I agree, whole-heartedly! I am making a point that what Abraham went through on His walk up that mountain with his son is NOT equivalent to a lifetime of suffering, daily intense pain, the feeling that you are now a burden on everyone around you and always will be, and the loss of ability and even life that chronic disease entails. There are more than one kind of testing in this life, and all I am saying is that one of those kinds of testing does NOT come directly from God. He can work through that kind of testing for our good, if we will turn to Him, but He does not inflict suffering for no purpose, nor does He do so indefinitely.

          I am enjoying our discussion, and I await your response! Please feel free to email me if you’d prefer. If you know of scripture that refutes what I am saying, I have yet to find it and would appreciate your help in that as well. Thank you for an honest dialog. 🙂

          • It was not my intention to offend you with my comment. I was not saying that God was the source of your suffering (I don’t know your situation well; I was referred to this blog by a friend). I was not referring to your pain when I made my comment. Since we do not have divine revelation concerning your case or others (disease, disasters, suffering, etc.), we must search for the source/reason why suffering occurs.
            We know that God was the source of Abraham’s test because Gen. 22:1 says it was a test. We do not have that same revelation in our suffering today. Each individual that suffers must look in themselves, in the word, and go to God to find the reason/source of their suffering. It seems to me, just by your brief comment, that the devil is the source of your suffering. Yet, because of your love of God, God has been using it for God (i.e. this blog).
            My comment was just to say that, in general, suffering it could be from Satan…sometimes it might be from God (refiner’s fire or discipline). Sorry if you thought I was speaking to your particular case. I did not mean to offend.

          • Oh, no, please don’t apologize! I enjoy the conversation and I always learn new things, which I welcome. I still do think we are actually agreeing, it’s just that we were coming at it from different angles, so didn’t realize it.
            I’m sorry that my original blog article wasn’t more clear about the word “test”… I tried to be clear, but apparently I wasn’t. Because the blog is mainly geared toward those like me, who suffer from chronic illness and disability, that was the situation that I spoke specifically to, and I didn’t do a very good job of covering the topic thoroughly. Thank you for your comments and for helping me to make myself more clear. 🙂 Blessings, Shelly

      • In Job 1:6=12 it starts out by God and Satan talking about Job. God says to Satan “See my servant/” Satan says “Of course, look at how good his life is. He’d curse you if you took it all away.” God says, “You can test him but you can’t kill him.”

        The ultimate battle is not about us as humans, it’s about Good vs evil. I don’t believe God tests us but I believe He allows it as he allowed Satan to test Job. God didn’t leave Job during his testing. He was always right there as he still is for us. He wants our sufferings to turn out for good.

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