Saturday, February 23, 2008

When God Gives Tests

Harvest Devotions Weekend Edition

Pastor Greg Laurie

With Greg Laurie

When God Gives Tests

Listen to Today's Radio Program!

Listen to Today's
Radio Program!

Read the Word: Luke 3-4

Read the Word:
Luke 3-4

How to Know God

How to Know God

Daily Devotions

Devotion Archives

Live Services

Live Services

Harvest Store

Harvest Store

I don't know about you, but I have never liked the word "test." When I was in school, I was the guy who didn't study for the test. I somehow thought that I would suddenly know the material when they passed out the exam. I think I failed my driving test three times. Suffice to say, I didn't like tests.

Did you know that God gives tests too? He wants to see if we have learned what He has been teaching us. He rarely, if ever, announces them ahead of time. They just come. It might be a set of circumstances or a situation you will face, to see if you are really learning the material. God will test us to see if we are actually learning, growing, and advancing. He wants us to grow up.

During their time with Jesus, the disciples had reached a point in their spiritual lives when it was time to grow up. They had been following the Lord for awhile. They had seen the miracles He performed. They had heard His teachings. Now it was time to see if their faith had grown.

By now, the crowds that followed Jesus were getting big. They were being dazzled by miracles. One day, as they listened to Him and watched His miracles, their stomachs began to growl. Even though Jesus knew these people were basically fickle and were following Him for the wrong reasons, He felt compassion for them (see Matthew 14:14).

If I knew what Jesus had known about this crowd, I probably wouldn't have fed them. After all, this same group would turn away from Him in a short period of time. But the Lord cared. He loved them.

So He took five barley loaves and two fish, multiplied them, and fed the people. They were stuffed. They decided to follow Jesus wherever He went. After all, He was the walking bread truck. But when Jesus saw that the people wanted to take Him by force and make Him their king, He wanted nothing to do with it. He slipped away by Himself to a mountain to pray.

This Month's Offer: Why, God?

Meanwhile, the disciples waited for Jesus at the Sea of Galilee. It was getting dark, and there was still no sign of Him. So they got into a boat and headed toward Capernaum. Although they may have lost sight of Jesus, He never lost sight of them. It was simply test time for the disciples.

The wind started blowing. The sea was getting rough. As they rowed against the storm, they spotted Jesus. He came walking on the water, headed toward them. They freaked out. They didn't know what to make of it.

Matthew's Gospel gives us a very important detail. It says that Jesus came to them in the fourth watch of the night, which is the last part of the evening, just before dawn (see Matthew 14:25). This means that they probably had been rowing for nine hours. Maybe they thought Jesus had forgotten about them. But He had not forgotten. He was going to come in His time.

It is a reminder to us that God's delays are not necessarily His denials. Just because God doesn't answer our prayers as quickly as we want Him to, it does not mean that He will never answer them. As surely as God has His will, He has His timing.

The Bible says, "He makes all things beautiful in His time" (Ecclesiastes 3:11
NKJV). And He does. As soon as Jesus stepped into the disciples' boat, they found themselves at their destination. He saw them through the storm.

Sometimes, we go through storms in life. Sometimes, God will allow certain situations in our lives to test our faith. It is really easy to say that you trust God until you get a call from your doctor with some bad news, or until that person you are in love with breaks up with you, or until your job comes to an end. These are tests.

When you are going through hardship or difficulty, sometimes it may seem as if God has forgotten about you, that He is too busy. But God always has time for you. He loves you. God is fully aware of what you are experiencing.

Will you still trust Him even when things don't go your way—even when life doesn't unfold the way that you hoped it would? Will you trust God to see you through the storm? Will you pass the test?

Greg Laurie [Signature]

Have Pastor Greg's devotions blessed you? Write to let him know!

Want to read more from Greg Laurie? Be sure to check out his weekly columns at World Net Daily. Click here to read his latest article.

Copyright ©2008 by Harvest Ministries. All rights reserved.

Thanks, Greg!

No comments: