What I Write About

I write about the infinite number of intersections between every day life and the good news of the God who has come to get us.

Monday, November 15, 2010

God's Testing and Falling into Beautiful Deaths

I don't like to think about the fact that God tests us.

I like to think about God's redemption, the ways that he brings life and peace and joy...all those things that I fight to believe and want to believe about God and his ways with me. But I don't like to think about God testing us and I don't think that I experience it very often.

But recently I think I've been in a testing season of my life. The stuff that I'm being tested over is mostly about the battle for my heart and for what I'll give my allegiance to. They're the kind of issues that make sense inside your head and with a few close friends but wouldn't seem all that important in a vacuum.

And while I don't like to think about it, it's clear throughout Scripture that testing comes from the Lord. This is what many of the New Testament writers attribute persecution to--testing that is proving whether or not their faith is genuine.

Compared to being thrown in jail or being burned recreationally to light parties (thank you, Nero), the type of testing I've been through seems almost trivial. But I think the goal is the same regardless of how the testing comes about: it's a refinement process.

Our heart gets so muddled and our affections so easily diluted. It's easy to get lost and for our love for God to turn lukewarm. And so he tests us.

One reason why I don't like to think about God testing me is that I don't like to think that God is up "in the sky" playing games with us. But he's not.

This testing is a real testing. And this refining is mission-critical to the development of our character and commitment. If there was some other way to deal with the idols in our hearts, he would do it. But sometimes there's not. And so he tests us.

Recently a friend of mine reminded me of something that I posted a couple of years ago--I wonder if fall is God's way of reminding us that some of the deaths that he invites us to die can be beautiful.

Testing is one of the ways he invites us to die beautiful deaths.

In the past week I've made small steps towards staring down some old demons. It's been exhausting and exhilarating all at the same time. And when this is all over, I'll be glad to take a rest.

But in the mean time I'm leaning into some promises from Scripture: on the other side of all the deaths God calls us to die (beautiful or not) is always, always, always more life.

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