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Testings of Life...
Marc Chagall - Jeremiah

Testings of Life

God's Question to our Hearts...

by John J. Parsons

Psalm 11:5a BHS

"The LORD tests the righteous"
(Psalm 11:5)

WHY DO WE EXIST? What's the purpose of our lives? Most Christians will answer, "the purpose of life is to know God and to love Him forever," and yet this is merely an academic answer until it is spoken from a heart that has been tested. In other words, we can only genuinely know and love God through the purifying struggle of testing...

The life of faith is education for eternity... "This world is like a corridor before the World to Come; prepare yourself in the corridor, that you may enter into the hall." God tests us along the way, disciplining and correcting us, so that we are no longer "two souled" but rather strong of faith, with singleness of vision and purpose.

A student once asked his rebbe: "Do we get punished for our sins in this world?" His concise response was, "Only if we are made fortunate..." The same can be said of testing: tests given to us by God are really opportunities. God "hides his face from us" so that we will seek him. "Draw near to God and He will draw near to you." The process of seeking God creates inward strength that cannot be gained apart from the exercise of faith.

Not everyone is blessed with being tested by God. Some people are overlooked. The righteous person - the tzaddik - is always under God's scrutiny, both in order to refine his character and to bring about correction. This scrutiny is a sure sign of God's love, for God disciplines those whom he receives as his children (Heb. 12:5-11). If we endure chastisement, we are being received as his sons.

We are tested to become assured of our identity as God's children. Purity of the heart is to will one thing, and divine testing functions as a "refining fire" that removes the dross of ambivalence from our hearts. For the righteous, the various trials of life ask a divine question addressed to the heart of faith: Do you love me? Will you trust me now - in this place? with this trouble? in this darkness? As we believe, we are given more revelation, and that, in turn, further vindicates God's faithfulness and love.

Remaining steadfast in faith is the way we express our love to God: "Happy is the one who endures testing, because when he has proven to be genuine, he will receive the crown of life (עֲטֶרֶת הַחַיִּים) that God promised to those who love him" (James 1:12). The "tested genuineness of your faith" is precious to God and will bring praise and glory and honor when the Messiah's righteousness is vindicated upon the earth (1 Pet. 1:7). May you stay strong in faith and be strengthened in all the tests God sends your way!

Hebrew-English Transliteration:

Hebrew-English transliteration

Adonai tzaddik yivchan

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