How Abraham’s Test and Paul’s Thorn Help Lala (and you) Pass Your Own Test

Tests. Every professor gives them. Every student takes them. Some pass. Some fail. God tests too. God tested Abraham at the beginning of his life (leave the comforts of home) and at the end of his life (sacrifice the object of your love, Isaac). God tested Job with unbelievable trials. Tests are inevitable.

Kenneth Matthews says God tests people in order to “reveal their obedience, produce fear in Him resulting in godliness, discover their authenticity and produce their well-being.” But here is the remarkable reality of God’s tests: he always gives everything you need to pass them. Paul wrote about this:

So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Corinthians 12: 7-10, ESV)

Your test is God’s opportunity to make available his perfect power. Your test is the opportunity to point people to the Christ who gives you contentment, yes contentment, in the midst of weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions and calamities. When you’re tested, God gives you all the grace needed to pass the test. When you pass the test, He gets all the glory because he gave all the grace.

There is a purpose in your testing (as Matthews noted above) and there is an end result of your testing: God is glorified. Sunday I shared in the second service about Lala Seagle, retired school teacher and ardent follower of Christ. She was recently diagnosed with ALS. After Sunday’s sermon, she emailed me and I asked permission to share. She wrote:

This is definitely the granddaddy of all the tests I’ve had so far.  But as you mentioned, God gives you the test you are ready for.  I’ll be looking for signs that I am passing this test:

  1. Is my faith getting stronger?
  2. Am I being obedient?
  3. Am I producing strong spiritual muscle?
  4. Do I see God’s power and am I in awe of Him?
  5. Am I thankful in the midst of this?
  6. Am I able to give Him the glory and praise?

Great questions for times of great testing.

4 thoughts on “How Abraham’s Test and Paul’s Thorn Help Lala (and you) Pass Your Own Test

  1. Wow! Your sermon Sunday really hit a nerve regarding my adult kids, how I pray for them, how it seems my prayers are not being answered in the manner and/or timing I would like, etc. Testing me, for sure. In my pondering, seeking and so forth since then, I have felt convicted of lacking so much of what Lara mentions here. Sure, I have these things some of the time, but I want them all of the time. And, as Paul wrote, I can’t tell you how many times I have repeated over and over and over in my head that His grace is sufficient for me, only to then ask, “is it really?” God help me! My prayers go out to her and her family. I appreciate her willingness to share and will be in prayer for them.

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  2. FYI, I needed this right now. I too suffer from depression and I’m struggling to trust right now. Thank you so much for your leadership! Miriam

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