One thing I do not miss about school are the tests. Oh my goodness did I hate taking tests. In fact, I was always that student who would ask to write a 10 page paper in place of taking a test. Yes, there really are people like me! Ha! I've been out of school now for a few months. In fact, when I was finishing up people would ask me what I was going to do with all my free time and I'd just look at them like, "are you crazy? I'm a single mom of three, there is no such thing as free time." Yeah, I still think that way, but I do have my 'every other weekend'! I digress. The truth of it is, even with two degrees and no immediate desire to go back for a third, I have not stopped taking tests. In all honesty, none of us really do. Life in and of itself is a test.
My devotional today was so applicable. It truly hit home with this fact. We've all been in that place where ick has happened. Where we have been dealt a bad hand, we've been given a raw deal. Some of us have had to work through the loss of a job, loss of a loved one, a debilitating illness, or in my case a divorce. In those situations, if you are anything like me you have wondered, "why me?" Why do I have to go through this? What did I do wrong? Why, God? WHY? Actually, I think if we are absolutely true with ourselves then we can say, in all honesty, these cases bring out our inner two year and we stand there, at the feet of Jesus, jumping up and down, wailing at the top of our lungs, booger-snotting everywhere, and screaming why, why, why?! And you know what? Nothing happens!
No its true. Nothing happens. And then we are left with that look on our face of "what the???!!!" Yes! You totally know what I am talking about, don't you? That's just the thing - God does not owe us an explanation. No, you heard me right. He does NOT OWE us ANYTHING! Kind of irks you doesn't it? I know it does me. In fact, when I read that today I almost wanted to start yelling at Him again. Seriously, like just WHO does He think He is? Then its like, duh...and then, yeah. He is! Do you want to know why He doesn't tell us why? It's because He's testing us. Like life isn't hard enough, now we have to take tests that we never signed up for. The subject of the test? It is the same regardless of what caused it. The subject - to see just how big our faith is.
RIGHT???!!!! I know. Me too! But, then if I am being honest with myself, and this is just me, I'm sure you're not like this at all, I realize that perhaps maybe my faith isn't strong or big enough at all. Nope. It is strong when life is going well and things look good and I have rainbows and unicorns, but that moment when the rain clouds enter in and the hard times come, that is when my faith isn't there. I mean, He even said I only have to have enough faith, about the size of a mustard seed actually. (Have you ever seen one of those? They're kind of inky-dinky!) But I don't. I don't have faith even that big. I see nothing BUT the mountain that is my problem. Then there is the BIGGER lesson. As if I needed more to learn. Ugh!
He's quiet. Yep. During the test He clams up. Not a peep. There is no raising your hand to ask for the answer. There is no walking up to His desk and getting clarification. There is just silence. Pin-dropping silence. All for our good. No, really. It is. Or so my devotional said. The reason for this? To see if we are going to continue to persevere, to continue to rest in Him (a.k.a read the Bible and pray) or try to go it alone (cheat ourselves out of the best grade).
You see, I did that. This test that I'm taking right now. The one where the lesson keeps dragging out. This test has a lot of questions. Actually, this is more of an essay test. (Yeah for me! NOT) These past months, the ones where I've had to go it alone have been hard. But, it was the ones where I wasn't alone that I think were actually harder. They were the months when the test was the most brutal because instead of seeking Him, I tried to do it my way. I won't negate the lessons I learned, but I am sad about cheating myself out of the rewards of the test. But, that is the thing with life, God gives us second chances. He gives us more tests. More opportunities to pass. Now, we may not end up with the same reward, but we always get the best.
I guess the thing I'm trying to say is that you shouldn't give up. He is still there. He still loves you. He is still waiting for you to rest in Him. He still wants you to pass. Oh, we may not like it. Actually, we may not like the reward at the end of the test either, but I think that the lesson, the one where He's seeing exactly how big our faith is, is the better reward. I won't lie though. I'm not there yet. I keep wanting to take this my way, but I muck it up each time. EACH TIME! So, I think I will go it His way for a bit. And if that bit turns into a while, then it turns into a while. I'm hoping it doesn't turn into you know, the rest of my life, but if so, I will accept it. Because honestly, the reward at the end has to be better than the immediate gain. IT.JUST.HAS.TO.BE!
When going through the pain (test) we don't need God's explanation, we need His presence!