Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Pop Quiz

(I realize this is a lengthy post, but I promise you, you need to read it)
I don't know about you, but I don't like tests. Never have. Never will. But, as I've come to learn, tests serve a purpose. You take a driving test, so you can drive a car. You take a test so you can graduate from high school, enabling you to go to college. You take and ACT or SAT so that you can enter college. And the tests go on depending on the life you choose. But, what about when your tests are of a "spiritual" nature? What about when your test comes directly from the hand of God? I've learned to accept "tests" from God . . . at times, I've all out "failed." At other times, I've barely passed. Yet, on a rare occassion, I've aced it with flying colors. (honestly, this doesn't happen often . . . just sayin') But, recently, God gave me a "Pop Quiz."

The "Pop Quiz" serves many purposes: to show us what is in our heart, to try our faith without warning, and to hopefully grow our faith as we reflect on the ways in which we weren't ready for it. This happened to me recently. I'm humbled to say, I passed.

I never saw it coming. But I had studied. You see, I spend the MAJORITY of my time absorbing myself into the word of God. Not out of obligation, but out of the Spirit within me in need of being fed. You'll have a "Pop Quiz" soon, you can count on it, and when you do, I'm praying that you will study the life of Saul . . . I'm praying that in the moment of your test, you will not offer God a dead faith as Saul did. When you fail the test, it can be devastating beyond comprehension.

You see, at some point, you'll face unthinkable circumstances, you'll see life around you crumbling to pieces, and all hope being gone; you'll want to trust your senses, instead of trusting God. In that moment, you won't know it, but God is at work- proving you. ("God left him, to try him." 2 Chronicles 32:31) In these times of despair, when you're facing your own "Pop Quiz," God is humbling you, proving you, examining what is in your heart. (Deuteronomy 8:2)

Back to Saul, He had been told by Samuel, to "wait for him" before going into battle. Samuel was listening to God . . . God was giving him direction. But, in the heat of the moment, when Saul was given the "Pop Quiz," he heard the chariots' rumbling, he saw a Philistine army marching toward him . . . he saw the situation spinning out of control . . . and he decided to take action on his own. In those times, we wonder, "What are we supposed to do . . . stand there and do nothing?" That's exactly what we're to do. That's what people of faith do . . . it gives God all the glory, instead of taking the glory for ourselves. God wants us to know that the victory does not come through strategies or weapons, but by sacrificing to Him through believing prayer and confidence in Him.

But, Saul allowed himself to be overwhelmed by the circumstances- by the "Pop Quiz." He panicked, and He ended up manipulating his way around God's Word. He acted in fear, not in faith. He wondered, "Surely the Lord didn't expect me to hold out any longer?" Saul failed to believe that God is never too late. The battle is ALWAYS won by appointed people of faith who TRUST and WAIT on Him. We're not to panic. We're not to move ahead of God. His eye is on every detail and He says, "You are to do nothing but pray and rely on me. I honor everyone who puts his trust in me." (Hebrews 11:6; Psalm 62:8; Proverbs 3:5-6)

Unbelief is fatal, its consequences tragic. We face dire circumstances when we try to remove ourselves from our trials instead of trusting God to see us through them. Sadly, Saul offered God a "dead faith." And even more sadly, Saul's tragic consequences left him saying, "God has departed from me, and answereth me no more." (1 Samuel 16:14)

So, back to my "Pop Quiz." Instead of panicking, like I usually do, I stood still . . . I grabbed hold of my faith, I watched as the battle raged, and I trusted that Christ was by my side. I dug deeper into the Word and I kept my eyes on Jesus. I realized that I was being tested. I did nothing, but trust Him. I decided, in a moment of crisis that I would not get impatient and take matters into my own hands, but I would wait on God and trust Him competely by faith. And I passed the test. And there is peace, and joy, and a stronger faith than before the test. So, I thank God for the "Pop Quiz." He has proved me. He has strengthened my faith for this journey. He, once again, has brought me to my knees, and filled me with the inner joy that is found only in Him.  . . . It was however, tragic, to watch those who, like Saul, had a professed faith in God . . . fail the test. And the consequences are long-standing. I pray that you will prepare now . . . for YOUR "Pop Quiz" that is sure to come. If you profess your faith in Christ, you can be certain the tests will come. Don't show up "unprepared." (I've done that far too many times.) Don't cram in your study at the last minute. (I've done that too.) Build your faith in His Word and in relationship with Him, so that on that day you will be able to have victory in whatever life throws at you. Know that God is able, He is mighty to save. Atleast get that part on the Quiz right! : )

Know that through every "Pop Quiz," no matter how painful, We've got God's grace. He's giving you an ever-increasing measure of Christ's strength. In your weakest moments, Jesus will release in you the fullest measure of His strength. When there's multiple choice, choose Jesus . . . He covers ALL OF THE ABOVE!

Love to you all. Praying always.


Unknown said...

What a great word, Cherie! I was challenged and encouraged all at the same time!

I especially was moved by the example of Saul. Boy, have I been there lately. Tired of waiting, ready to take matters into my own hands.

My email verse that I get first thing each morning was, "Be still in the presence of the Lord, and wait patiently for him to act."

Guess God is trying to send me a message in my impatience today.

Thanks for the good word...

**How's the next book coming?

Melanie said...

I am in the middle of a "pop quiz" and also preparing for the future by growing my spiritual muscles. I too want to pass!
Thanks for the encouraging word.

I will keep the words at the end...when we are at our weakest Jesus will release the fullness of his strength....AMEN!!!

LisaShaw said...

Oh this is powerful and rich!!!

Thank you for sharing with us Cherie! I came by just at the right time...only GOD knew to send me.

Much love to you!!

Rachel @ Finding Joy said...

Excellent post. I love how the Lord works -- blogger to blogger spurring each other to live more fully for Him.



Barbara Frone said...

That was awesome. Thanks for sharing this. I feel like God is teaching me this very thing right now, and I have no doubt that he led me to find your blog and this post.

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I am so blessed that you would take the time to share your thoughts with me! You encourage my faith and I pray that God will fill you to the full with His love, mercy,and grace! With joy, Cherie

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