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October 17, 2005

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Trying Trials from Testy, Testing, Testers
By: Dr. Skip Myers
Edgefielddaily.com columnist
web posted October 17, 2005

You have just closed the largest deal of your career. You are single-handedly responsible for saving the company financially. You walk through the door like a conquering hero returning from battle with a parade of spoils. You are cheered by your fellow workers and congratulated by “the boss.”

Later, you sit in your new corner office, with a great view, basking in your triumph. You look at the door and smile as you read “Vice-President: Sales” attached to your name on the doorplate. Life is great!

Unfortunately, life stays great for only a short period of time. The boss who slapped your back in appreciation has now in a fit of jealousy thrust a knife into it. He has set you up to take the fall for something you were not involved in or responsible for. Intentionally, he places a workload on you that no one person could finish. Expectations continually grow and rumors are started about what you did to close that big deal. You know why this is happening.  The boss began to worry about his job and saw you as a threat.

Someone comes into your office and shuts the door. They check to see that no one saw them enter and they whisper to you that they have some “dirt” on the boss that would ruin him and make you a sure thing for his job. You listen intently and thank them for the news. As they leave, you mind wonders to the joys of life without the boss.

We all have someone in our life who provides us with a test. These “testers” make life as we know it miserable. They can take any joy we experience and eventually turn it into a living nightmare. And it never fails, the more we pray for the Lord to remove them from our lives, the more prominent they become.

For years I asked the Lord why He operated this way when it came to testers and the trials they brought to my life. I only got a reply recently. And the reply became even more apparent as I have spent time studying the life of David and his relationship with king Saul, his predecessor. David did everything right in his relationship to Saul. He made sure the king succeeded and the nation was strong. And in return Saul made David an outlaw and hunted him without mercy. You can read this account in the Bible in
I Samuel 16-30. It may take a while, but it is well worth the time.

Let me share with you three conclusions regarding the testy testers in our lives:
1.    They supply our greatest challenges. We are constantly tempted to meet them on their own level; to do what comes naturally instead of what is God-directed. An unchallenged life is a weak life. The Lord will us them to make our reflection of His image brighter and stronger than anything they could throw at us.
2.    They supply our greatest opportunities. There will come a time when we are given the opportunity to take matters into our own hands. David was presented with two opportunities to kill Saul but refused. His reaction greatly impressed those he had been called to lead. Someone is watching the way you deal with your tester when you are given the chance to “get even.”  Make the most of the opportunity and give a witness for the Lord by reacting with faith and not fury. Every challenge is an opportunity to show others that as a believer, we are different. Remember, people in our society still expect people of faith to act differently.
3.    They supply our greatest link to the Lord. This may seem odd but follow me. The Lord is using your tester to build your relationship with Him. I pray more when confronted with testers. So, if I pray for the Lord to remove them, I am actually asking the Lord to remove something He is using to draw me closer to Himself. Testers provide the heat needed to refine our faith. They can  be used to reveal and remove those minute impurities in our faith. Fire purified and fire strengthen faith is priceless.

Stop seeing testers as obstacles in your life and see them for what they are: instruments being used by God to make us more like Him. The best way to defeat a tester is to gain the power given through the insight of what the Lord is doing through them. Without my testers, I would not be the person, pastor, or believer that I am. Just think, if our testers knew what the Lord was building in our lives through their testiness, they would probably leave us alone. Shh, don’t tell them.

Thought: People will judge our faith more on the basis of how we deal with our testers than our supporters.

Dr. Myers is Pastor of Smiths Station Baptist Church, Smiths Station Alabama and a former Youth Minister of Sweetwater Baptist Church (1981-1986)
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