From “Growing in the character of a disciple”: Chapter 4 – The meaning and importance of faithfulness
I have slowly learned over the years how to be a manager of staff. In doing so, I have gained many insights into how God operates as a ‘manager’. He has objectives for each of us for growth and development, mainly in character, but also in knowledge, skill and experience. He wants to bring us forward and upward, but also to find out how far we’ve already come.
Therefore He sets lots of little tests for us. You may not even realise that you are going through such tests, but you are. He is watching very closely to see how you handle each of them. He also knows all your thoughts and motives and He is always searching your heart to see what you are really thinking in any situation that you face:
9 “As for you, my son Solomon, know the God of your father, and serve Him with a whole heart and a willing mind; for the LORD searches all hearts, and understands every intent of the thoughts. If you seek Him, He will let you find Him; but if you forsake Him, He will reject you forever.1 Chronicles 28:9 (NASB)
I know, my God that you test the heart and have pleasure in uprightness……..1 Chronicles 29:17(a) (ESV)
It may be a test of your honesty. Or it may be a test to see whether you will keep a promise, even when it has become inconvenient or more costly than you expected. Will you still keep your word? Will you paint the back of the shed fully and carefully? Will you apply two coats of paint as you were asked to do, or will you skip the second coat and hope that nobody notices? Will you make the effort and turn up to give the help you promised to give someone? Those are the kind of things God wants to discover about you.
We see an example of this in the life of King Hezekiah. We are told directly that God tested him. God allowed the representatives of the King of Babylon to come to Judah and to threaten King Hezekiah. God wanted to find out how he would handle that exceptionally stressful situation:
And so in the matter of the envoys of the princes of Babylon, who had been sent to him to inquire about the sign that had been done in the land, God left him to himself, in order to test him and to know all that was in his heart.2 Chronicles 32:31 (ESV)
Therefore be alert to the fact that life is full of these tests. Start to consider why God puts you through them and what He wants you to learn from them, or what He is trying to find out about you. You are much more likely to pass such tests if you are aware that they exist and understand their purpose. Sadly, most of us don’t realise either of those things. It’s like being at school and sitting down to answer a series of questions without even realising that you are in an exam. That’s hardly the best way to do well in it.