I've never been one to believe that God tests people. You know the idea that there is a divine being up in the sky looking down, making decisions about who should struggle and who should be spared. That has never worked for me. However, it's clear to me that the times we are living in
test us. The experience of life, the pains we inflict on others, and are inflicted on us. Those are in deed testing, and at times make us testy. Amen?
What to do?
Many of us have been taught by our families that and culture that we must pass some kind of test in order to become worthy to receive the gift of grace, namely that love is something to be earned. But, I believe that God reverses this pattern. The gift of love and acceptance requires nothing more than opening our hearts to an ever present invitation. God call us through a bleak landscape, testing times, so that we may get to a place where love will mature in and around us. Perhaps each crisis that we face is a fresh invitation. An invitation to enter more deeply into a relationship with God, as the life journey that yields further resolve.
I have a friend I call when the tests become so dominant that I become quite testy. He recently said to me, "Jim, every time I face a challenging situation, I try to ask myself a question. How is it that God wants me to grow from this experience?" I sit back and ponder that, and it gives me some fresh resolve, insight and hopefully, maturity.