The Great Benefits of Testing
[Reading time: 2 minutes] God uses difficult phases of our lives – tests, “wilderness experiences,” “dark nights of the soul” – to prepare us for growth, and to refine or purify us. But he can only do that if we cooperate with him.
I’ve been through two extended periods like that and they were very difficult. In retrospect, however, I can see what God did in me during those periods and I wouldn’t take anything for the benefits those tests produced in me. The refining, the character development, the spiritual growth, the realigning of values and priorities, the maturing of my relationship with God are invaluable.
I’m a much, much better person now. I can serve God more effectively and I’m better equipped to fulfill God’s purpose for my life. My advice: Ask God to use your difficulties to transform you into the person he created you to be.
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters” (Rom. 8:28-29, NIV).
God combines all our experiences to produce compounded benefits for us, and the greatest benefit is for us to become increasingly like Jesus. Our temporary trials in life can produce unimaginable eternal benefits for us if we entrust ourselves to God’s care.
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything” (James 1:2-4).
Our faith is tested most frequently when it appears God won’t do what he says. But as we stand firm in faith, refusing to give up on God, our perseverance allows him to develop spiritual maturity and godly character in us. Despite the severity or length of your trial, never give up on God’s promises. He never gives up on us.
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A related podcast: Lessons from God’s Delays (time: 39:15, listen online or download). This is my testimony and teaching about the nature of delays and tests, and their purposes. This presentation was a candid description of my experience at the time. I’m glad to report that soon after that presentation, I began seeing the results Father promised. (Presented to a church men’s group, March 2014)