Deuteronomy 8:2 Remember how the LORD your God led you all the way in the wilderness these forty years, to humble and test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands.
Suppose the Lord spoke to you in a dream and let you know that the next day you were going to be tested by Him, but He didn’t go into the particulars of what it would entail. When you got up in the morning you were excited and a bit nervous because you wanted to pass the testing.
Spend a moment and think about what kind of things the Lord might do to test you. Might it involve work – dealing with what you do and how well you do it? Would it involve relationships? Would it involve the possibility of a promotion, where it would be an interview or performance evaluation regarding how well you know your job? Would the testing involve big things or small things? How do we tell the difference between big things and small things?
Suppose when you got to work, your boss told you that he needed you to prepare an important presentation for that afternoon that could result in major new business for the company. This unexpected opportunity would involve you working with a bunch of people throughout the day to put it together. A lot to do; with little time to do it; with a major opportunity as the potential outcome – what a test!
Most of the day was an adventure interacting with co-workers to obtain what was needed. They were all so busy as it was and helping you seemed like just one more unwelcome task. Their responses to you ran the gamut from helpful to wanting to ignore your requests. Fortunately, the presentation was completed, delivered to your boss and the big opportunity was won.
But at the end of the day, you discovered that winning the opportunity wasn’t the test the Lord was referring to. Your boss was pleased with the end result, but the Lord had been looking at something else. His test involved all of the human interactions that you had in preparing the presentation.
Given the importance of the project, did you fall into a more abrasive style where ‘the ends justify the means’ mentality kicked in – in order to get the job done? Did you take offense at some of the resistance you encountered and respond in kind? Did you assume fences could be mended later?
Or, were your attitudes, words and actions consistent with your faith? In difficult human interactions were grace and kindness there? Would your co-workers be grateful for the way you performed your task in spite of how they might have behaved? We have a real tendency to focus on the ‘destination’. The Lord is vitally concerned with how we get there. In His eyes, the process is the goal.