In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ (1 Peter 1:6–7, esv).
I don’t remember any of my fellow students in school being a big fan of test days. But I do recall being a fan of those teachers who gave hints about the questions that were going to be on the test. Being able to know at least something ahead of time about what was coming up made a huge difference in how we studied and worked to prepare.
Test days, of course, don’t end when you leave school. The Bible confirms what we already suspect—that our faith is subject to being tested at any moment throughout our lives. But whether it’s a pop quiz that comes out of the blue, or whether it’s a long-term exam that stretches over an extended period of time, we can already know all the major questions the test is going to ask.
Test Question #1: “Do you believe God is in control?” The questions will get harder, so it’s nice to start with an easy one. The answer, of course, is yes. In every season of testing, you’ll be asked to affirm the fact that God knows what He’s doing—that He is, in fact, God. Whatever test you’re currently taking may have crept up on you, but it’s come as no surprise to Him. Just go ahead and settle this matter before you move on to any other questions. God is in control.
Test Question #2: “Do you believe God is good?” Believing He is in control is one thing. But when He’s driving you in the boat, taking you over the falls, your instinct won’t be that this is leading to anywhere good. Yet part of believing He is God, is believing He’s told you the truth about Himself. And, yes, “the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations” (Psalm 100:5). If the waters are getting choppy and the inclines are growing steeper, it’s only because this path is directing you toward a better end than all other alternatives.
Test Question #3: “Are you willing to wait by faith until you see it?” Like I said—the questions do get progressively harder. And this one might be the hardest. Sometimes your tests will take you to places where, honestly, you’ll see no possible way to get through it. You won’t be able to conceive of a workable solution. You won’t even know what to pray for anymore. But instead of putting down your pencil and giving up, instead of considering this whole thing a lost cause, would you just be willing to wait on Him? To see how He answers? To see the solutions He has chosen?
So those are the three questions. “Do you believe God is in control?” “Do you believe God is good?” “Are you willing to wait by faith until you see it?” That’s the whole test. And because He is in control, and because He is good, He can be trusted with your persevering faith until the test is completed—until your faith is proven at last to be “more precious than gold.”
Lord God, thank You for making tests that are truly for my good. Thank You for showing me in Your Word the purpose behind what You’re working to accomplish. Many of life’s questions surpass my ability to answer them, but You are the only answer that matters. Supply by Your Spirit what I need for these days. I trust You completely, and I will wait by faith while You’re working all things for my good and Your glory. You are in control, and I am in good hands, through the powerful name of Jesus, amen.