Test me, Lord, and try me, examine my heart and my mind. (Psalm 26:2)
God is in the business of testing His people. Those tests are as promised as they are promising. Unlike the devil, who tempts us with the intent of tripping us up and turning us away from our Lord, God tests us to strengthen our faith and conform us more and more into the image and likeness of His beloved Son.
Here is a question to ponder today: Do you receive God’s ways as readily as you receive God’s Word?
Every born-again child of God receives His Word with great joy, but there are times when “joy” is not our first response when we are receiving God’s ways! God’s ways are not our ways; we frequently expect God to respond to us in a particular way, and He responds to us in another way altogether. When this happens—and it happens a lot—we must remember this sublime truth, given to in Hosea 14:9 —
The ways of the Lord are right!
The prophet Hosea was telling us that no matter what way God has prepared for us, it is right; it is righteous and fair and just and merciful and absolutely what we needed at that time. You see, God created us for His good purpose, and, as Job said, “He will complete what he appoints for me” (Job 23:14 ESV). He made us for Himself to expand the cause of His kingdom in this world. He knows what is best for us at all times and He knows exactly how to deliver that “best” to us at just the right moment . . . even though that may not be what we expected or wanted at the time.
When we have difficulty receiving God’s ways, it is because we are seeking our will rather than God’s will for our lives. We are pursuing what we want for ourselves rather than what God wants for us. Because God made us, He knows what is best for us. Throw our sinfulness into the mix, and it is plain to see that God must intervene on our behalf by conforming to us His ways if we are ever going to live the life He is calling us to live.
So . . . have you been struggling with God’s ways in your life lately? You are not alone! We all struggle at times with God’s ways. But remember the words of Hosea: the ways of the Lord are always right. God loves us so much that He will cause us to walk in His ways rather than our own, knowing that in the end, it will be ultimately for His glory and our good. When the Lord tests us with His ways, we must trust Him, even when we cannot trace Him. Remember, “When a man’s ways please the Lord, he makes even his enemies to be at peace with him” (Proverbs 16:7 ESV). Now that’s a way worth walking in!
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!