Tested and Approved by God
C.H. Spurgeon inspired me this morning. He quoted Isaiah 48:10 which reads, “I have tested you in the furnace of affliction.” I won’t repeat exactly what he said, only the gist.
Spurgeon made the point that God is speaking in the past tense in this verse. He has already tested us. And, being “tested and approved by God” should be a great source of comfort to us.
Too often we think of being tested as an experience that always lies in the future. We’re always being prepared and readied for huge test that still awaits us – a test which we dread.
But did you know that God has been testing you in the furnace of affliction over a very long period? You are no stranger to adversity and hardship. Though there is certainly much improvement to be done in all of us, recognize that God has already profoundly tested and proved you. And because of God’s testing, you already bear God’s seal of approval. Therefore, we mustn’t fear the challenges which lay ahead of us – for God has already tested and approved us. He’s graduated us to the next level.
When we think of the highest points in each of the States, what typically comes to mind? Don’t we think of the more challenging peaks, such as Denali (AKA Mount McKinley) in Alaska, Mount Whitney in California, or Mount Rainier in Washington. And when we think of the “big test in the future” don’t those same images come to mind? They are what we normally think of as a “true examination.” “That’s the kind of test which God has for me in the future.”
But I suspect the high points which God has waiting for us are more like some other “highest points.” Take, for instance, Panorama Point in Nebraska or Mount Sunflower in Kansas. Mount Sunflower rises to an elevation of 4,041 feet. Panorama Point is more than a thousand feet higher in elevation. It rises 5,427 feet above sea level. Granted, they’re not Denali or Mount Whitney, but even at 4,000-plus feet they represent a challenge, don’t they?
But should you ever hike across these states, from their lowest elevations to their highest, you’re going to make a pleasant discovery. When you finally reach the foot of these summits you’ll find that they are no bigger than you are. Neither Panorama Point nor Mount Sunflower are mountains. They’re simply gentle rises that are indistinguishable from the land around them. An altimeter is required to tell you it’s the highest point. And on your journey to them you’ve been gradually climbing, higher and higher. As you traveled in a westward direction you weren’t even conscious of the fact that you were rising a little higher, mile by mile. And when you finally reached those challenging high points, they weren’t a challenge at all. You were as big as they were.
And God has been doing the same thing in your spiritual life. Day by day God’s been preparing you for the mighty Mount Sunflower that awaits you. Day by day God’s allowing assorted tests to come into your life. You say, “I can’t detect any growth in my life.” But progress must be left to the Master Trainer. His x-ray vision sees every wrinkle and weakness within you. And He, in His infinite wisdom, is administering just the right type and amount of training necessary to correct them. And when you finally reach that “fearsome challenge” you’ll discover that God has made you equal to it.
Think about it. Pharmaceutical companies hope for FDA approval. Beef, pork, and poultry industries hope for USDA approval. But you have gained something infinitely greater: Divine Approval. God has personally tested you and found you ready for the next grade level, for the next challenge. And when that challenge comes, you’ll find that God hasn’t failed you as a Teacher. He’ll have made you equal to it.
Yes, God has proved you. But you are also proving God as He takes you from trial to trial. You’ve been proving Him completely faithful and trustworthy as you submit to His training and discipline. You’re discovering that God knows exactly what He’s doing and there’s no need to fear what lies ahead.
PRAYER: Dear Father in heaven, into Your loving and capable hands I entrust my spirit, soul, and body. By Your divine power, wisdom, and love conform me into the image of Your blessed Son. In Jesus’ name. Amen.