Tuesday, February 7, 2012

This Is A Test

The LORD your God is testing you to find out whether you love him with all your heart and with all your soul. Deuteronomy 13:3

Several years ago we were in a bad situation: we had just resigned from a troubled church, we were wounded emotionally and feeling like we were all alone and without knowing if we would qualify for unemployment benefits or not, finances were pretty tight. We had no prospective churches waiting in the wings, no home to live in and all of our earthly possessions in storage. We were at an all time low.

The denomination that we were affiliated with sent us to Tennessee to stay with friends and receive pastoral counseling, so we went away to heal for a month. It was good to spend time in the pew being ministered to and seeing good friends again who took such good care of us, but all the while there were nagging thoughts and doubts lingering in the back of our minds. Of course, we tried to keep a good attitude in front of the kids, but they knew that we were worried. A long vacation is a wonderful thing IF you know you have a job and a home to return to at the end of it, but we didn't. 

Near the end of our stay we went to Chickamauga, Georgia one evening to a church service where our friends, Jamie and Darlene Chant, were pastoring. It was a lively service with much interaction from the congregation. There were several people waving huge flags, each a different colour, praising God. The meaning of each flag's colour was projected onto the wall so that everyone knew the significance and could praise God for it. 

I don't remember what each colour symbolized but I do remember that green signified new life. During the time of worship, Pastor Jamie left the platform and brought me a green flag to wave. He didn't say anything. He just gave it to me. Immediately my pride rose up in me and I thought 'I'm not going to wave this flag. I don't do things like this. This is not how I worship.' And the Lord spoke very clearly to me and told me to let it all go. Let the pride go and stand before Him humbled. Let the hurt and anger go and allow Him to heal me. He was starting a new thing. A new life and the flag was a test. Would I trust Him and let my own feeling go?

I started waving the flag and I felt uncomfortable, but the more I waved it the more release I felt and the more I knew that God was going to make everything alright. I started to weep before my Lord and ask His forgiveness for ever doubting that He could take care of us. I had passed the test. Little did I know, at that point, that my husband would be tested that same night and that the Lord would begin in us a wonderful work of restoration and healing.

After the worship service, which lasted almost two hours, Pastor Jamie asked for the ushers to come forward to take up the offering. He said that there were many visitors in the sanctuary that night and that all of the offering would be going to help a needy family. I could feel my husband fidgeting next to me and I wondered why he was so restless. What I didn't know at the time was that God was dealing with him and asking him to trust Him. We had only $25. left to our name. We didn't know how we were going to pay for the gas to get back home to Canada. Brad was going to put  $5. in the offering plate but the Lord was telling him to put it all in. That's why he was fidgeting. This was his test. Would he rely completely on the Lord to supply our needs?

Brad put everything we had into the offering plate and felt a peace after doing so. We sat through the ministering of the Word that night as new people. We felt like we could face anything because God would take care of us. We had both been tested that night, but we had passed the test. We had given up our own way of doing things and done things God's way and we felt good about it. The Word ministered to our souls and at the end of the service we got up to leave feeling refreshed.

As we were making our way to the doors an usher came up to us and said that Pastor Jamie would like to see us in his office. We were glad we would get to see our friend once again before we had to leave. He invited us into his office and after inquiring if we had enjoyed the service and other small talk, he invited us out for a late supper, at the Red Lobster, with his family and few friends, as his treat. I thought how wonderful it was that the Lord was blessing us with a nice meal all paid for. God is good!

Before we left his office he asked if we remembered that the offering was going to help a needy family. He said: 'that family is you. We wanted to bless you and nobody knows who the family is except me and the treasurer.' Then he handed us a white envelope. We hadn't told anyone of our financial situation. Only God knew. We thanked him profusely and we all left to go to the restaurant. Before we arrived I felt the Lord saying to me that if we would trust Him, He would pour out His blessings on us a hundredfold. So I told Brad that I knew how much the cheque would be for. 

When we opened it, we saw that the Lord was true to His Word. He had blessed us a hundredfold: the cheque was made out for $2500.! Brad had obediently put our last $25. in the offering plate and the Lord blessed us with $2500. We both started crying and thanking the Lord. The Lord knew that not only did we need the money but we needed the assurance that everything that concerned us was in His hands. He would take care of us. And He always has. 

Many times we view the trials that we are facing as just a bad time we have to go through. But sometimes those trials can be a test and if we are obediently following after God and we put aside our own way of doing things and do what He asks of us, He will bless us more than we could ever imagine. We passed the tests the Lord had put before us and He showed us that we weren't alone or without hope. He would always be there for us, taking care of us and providing for us, if we would only completely trust Him. 

Trust the Lord and see what He will do in your situation. God is good!

Matthew 13:23  "But the one who received the seed that fell on good soil is the man who hears the word and understands it. He produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown."

Psalm 34:8 "O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusts in him."

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