Inevitably I would have a teacher or two (or three) who enjoyed giving a pop quiz. Oh the groans that rippled through the room whenever a teacher greeted us with those words! Those were tests you didn't know were coming. If you didn't know the material, you were sunk! However, the teacher used these pop quizzes to learn how well we were retaining what he or she was teaching.
Spiritual life is not really that different. My Teacher often allows those tests to come along to see how well I am learning and growing in a particular area of my life.
I recently had one of those "pop quizzes," although I didn't realize it at first. I was going down the road, in a place which I had been a few times before. On this road I had the option of reacting the way I always had in the past. In church-speak some would call this "reacting from the flesh." Simply put, I wanted to react the way I always had in the past which is just jumping in and doing what I wanted to do--to take control.
However, because this is a place which God (my Teacher) has been teaching me for a while, my reaction this time was different. My initial reaction was the same as always (what can I do?), but I did not pursue that thought for long. I immediately began to ask God what I should do.
When I had gone down this path before, I asked God what to do and He put up a literal roadblock. I was kind of expecting to see the same response again. A closed door is kind of comforting, you know what I mean?
Well, do you know how teachers just stand by and watch you as you take a test? That's how I felt God was with me at that particular moment. He was there and I knew it, but He was not giving me the answer to this test. Instead, God did give me the kind of responses which made me think, "What's this got to do with it"?
This time I needed to figure it out based on what I've learned.
After much consideration and prayer, I felt that either choice I made in this situation would have been okay and covered by His grace. There was no wrong choice to be made because nothing I was considering would have been sinful or immoral. But there was an obvious choice--my way or God's way. One choice more closely fit with my resolve to allow God to control instead of me trying to control. So, I turned left instead of right.
It was shortly after that decision was made that I sensed a confirmation from God that I'd made the better choice. It was then my Teacher began to instruct again and that's when I realized I'd just been tested.
I've written about this area of control before. One of my first posts on this blog was called God's Timing. So this is not the first time I've been tested in this area of my life and it certainly won't be the last.
This pop quiz came up so suddenly that I didn't have a chance for last-minute studying, but alas... I have been a student all along. I've been learning from the Master Teacher.
Psalm 66 tells of the Israelites praising God for his mighty deeds and answered prayers. In the middle of that Psalm is verse 10 which says...
You have tested us, O God; you have purified us like silver.
Hmmm. Purufied like silver. Reminds me of another post I wrote a while back about the proofing process. Proofing is a phase that reveals flaws and errors in the metal.
Tests can come at any moment. I need to stay in the word and connected to God, learning at all times. I also need to seek God's will.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on
your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do,
and he will show you which path to take. - Proverbs 3:5-6
There's a conditional promise in this verse. If I trust in the Lord, He will guide me to make the best choices.