“I guess we’ll have to try that test again,” God said.
I think I remember the preacher who said that, but he was not important. What was important was that statement. It has stuck with me.
In one of the earlier posts on suffering, I stated that God always has a purpose to accomplish for good when a person suffers. I also said sometimes the suffering can be shortened if we find the purpose – and I should have added “if we submit to that purpose.”
The preacher was telling of a time when he was desperate for tires, somehow he got some then someone slashed them. He was irate and did not handle the situation well. While he was having a “temper tantrum” the Lord spoke those words to him.
Whatever the rest of the story, the point was that God had tested him, and he had failed. Therefore, he was on guard for the next “test” and handled it better. (I’ve forgotten the detail of the story, but this was close.)
Over the fifty years or so since that message lodged in my heart, I have tried to remember that God has to place tests in my life in order to move me in maturity as I grow. Along the way I have learned to recognize a test and tried to submit to its purpose and get out of it as soon as possible. I guess I have done pretty well except for a couple of situations in which I seem to constantly “fail the test.” One regards my eating/sleeping habits; the other is a matter of a relationship. When I pass these tests, I will be better off for it.
That is his purpose for discipline; that is different than his purpose for chastening which I will deal with next.