Scripture: Psalm 66:10 For you, O God, have tested us; you have tried us as silver is tried. 11 You brought us into the net; you laid burdens on our backs; 12 you let people ride over our heads; we went through fire and through water; yet you have brought us out to a spacious place.
Observation: Here’s an excerpt from one of my favorite commentaries, the New Interpreter’s Bible, “The specific distress being faced (in Psalm 66) is not described. Whatever it may have been, Israel is so sure of God’s sovereignty that the trouble cannot be given a non-theological explanation. Thus the people affirm that God has “tested us” and “tried us” (v. 10). Tests and trials need not evoke the concept of punishment; indeed, they most frequently suggest that God is examining a person for the purpose of vindicating him or her (see Job 23:10; Pss 11:4–5; 17:3; 26:2; 139:23; Jer 12:3; Zech 13:9).”
Application: I get pushback from readers every time I suggest God may periodically take us through difficult seasons, not to break us, but to test us, strengthen us, give us opportunity to grow in maturity and grace. As our passage indicates, this is not my own theological invention. It is a clear teaching of scripture, and of life.
I’ve mentioned here many times that one of the most difficult aspects of parenting young adult children is watching them endure hardships. In many cases these are hardships I could mitigate partly or completely were I to intervene, but that would not serve my children well. I pray for them, counsel them, encourage them – but they must learn to bear their own crosses. And there is great satisfaction in seeing them grow stronger and more capable as a result. If this is true of a good human parent, it stands to reason it is true of our heavenly Father as well. Scripture would indicate as much.
Dear sisters and brothers, the Lord will test you. But the Lord will never leave you, nor forsake you. There’s a BIG difference. Trust in the Lord and in his eternal faithfulness. The struggles you wrestle with right now will make you stronger in the long run. And remember, you NEVER go through the valley of the shadow alone. NEVER. EVER.
Prayer: Lord thank you for your faithfulness. Give us grace today to endure the struggles and hardship we face as we grow to greater maturity. We ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.