March 29, 2013

Another test…

Yesterday’s experience was puzzling and somewhat painful. In the course I am taking online, all students were to post a short topic that invited discussion last week. These are designed to make sure each student is engaged in the subject matter and is thinking about what we are being taught. Then, this week each of us needed to respond to two of those posts.

One of them confused me so I responded basically by asking for clarification. That student answered my response by email instead of posting it on the discussion board, insisting I was mistaken and stubborn rather than confused and eventually was harsh with me. The whole thing left me a bit unsettled and asking the Lord what was going on. I didn’t get any answers concerning the other person, but today’s devotional tells me again that confused or not, I am what I am…

You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. (Matthew 5:14)

The writing that goes with this verse is about the trials God uses to bring out this light. It says all Christians experience trials, but in them He will bring forth the principles of Christian living that He has given us in Christ Jesus. Losses show the world that we trust Him, as do danger and the mistreatment of others. In all of these things, we are still light in a dark world. Our love for Him will be seen, as will His love and care for us.

Through this writing I hear God assuring me that I hold the Gospel, the power of God unto salvation, in my heart. It is this Gospel that that can enlighten the nations, alleviate all sorrows, comfort mourners, and change the outlook of every person and realm of human life. Yet God does not want me to sit around and watch it happen. I’m to be active and involved. Every time life slaps me in the face, He calls me to shine. Every blessing that I experience will also test my character and ability to shine.

Not only that, trials and even good experiences are from God -- presented to me as opportunities that test my character but also develop that character. For that, the Lord put this verse into my mind…

If you have raced with men on foot, and they have wearied you, how will you compete with horses? And if in a safe land you are so trusting, what will you do in the thicket of the Jordan? (Jeremiah 12:5)

Indeed! If I cannot cope with the unkind words of another person in the family of God, how can I manage if some greater threat confronts me? God has put me into a world that will challenge my faith, a world where, if faith is not called forth, it is proof that it does not exist.

I’m also reminded that every form of testing I might experience also slammed into God’s own Son. I should not wonder that similar things will happen to me.

The interesting part is that after all of the events from yesterday, I got a surprise email from the class professor who knows nothing of those events. In it, he commended me for the very things that student criticized. I am awed and humbled at the same time. The Lord is good and works everything for the good of those who love Him. Sometimes we don’t see that until later, but must remember that it is His goal to make us more like Himself and bring out the light that He has put in.

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