“My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.” (Jam 1:2-4 NKJ)
Viktor E. Frankl said once, “Just as a small fire is extinguished by the storm whereas a large fire is enhanced by it-likewise a weak faith is weakened by predicament and catastrophes whereas a strong faith is strengthened by them.”
The power of an engine can only be assessed after it has been tested. What is said or thought before the test may be mere opinion, and opinions do not matter much until the test is over. Many a teacher have made the mistake of making judgments about the abilities of their students before the students had gone through the test. Many still didn’t realize that the real test was not the school examination the student sat under, but a forthcoming test in real life that would uncover the real strength and abilities of the child. There are many stories of people who had been misjudged, rejected, and not given an opportunity to try; but, who, when they found an opportunity, so excelled that those who rejected them earlier were ashamed later. It matters very less what people think about us, or even what we think about ourselves; it is the test that reveals who we really are.
A test can be a humbling experience, because it reveals that what we have thought of ourselves was not so right. A test may shock us by showing that we weren’t what we thought we were. Perhaps, we weren’t as strong as we thought we were; or even, that perhaps we weren’t as weak as we thought we were. A test may surprise us with facts that are important for us to know in order to face reality.
The presence and strength of faith can only be detected when faith goes under fire.
Tests act like mirrors. We can either get discouraged for being able to see what we really are, or be happy to see what we really are so that we can correct what can be corrected and improve on what can be improved.
Testing is the fire that elongates faith in time and molds it into the shape of patience. Patience is nothing but faith elongated by the fire of trials. Testing uncovers faith.
Testing is an opportunity to exercise faith and strengthen its muscles. Where there are no tests, faith is not put to work. To put faith to test is to put faith to work. Testing increases the strength of faith.
Testing may be of various kinds. There are various trials. However, a million varieties of trials cannot change the nature of the singular faith that one has in God. All testing only purifies the nature of faith (1Pet.1:7).
Testing is not in order that God will know what we are, but in order that we will be what He wants us to be, that we may lack nothing. In fact, He has already searched us and known us before, we have ever thought or have done anything (Psa. 139:1). He knows what we will be thinking about in the future, even before we ever knew the categories that would form the vocabulary of such thoughts. He understands our thoughts from afar off (Psa.139:2).
There is no testing that is outside the knowledge of God. He knows our sitting down and our rising up (Psa.139:2).
Therefore, the Bible tells us to rejoice when we fall into various kinds of trials. We are not to desire to fall into trials and temptations. In fact, we must pray to not be led into temptation (Matt.6:13). However, when we find ourselves in temptation, we must remember that this testing is not to destroy us but to strengthen us (1Cor.10:13).