The Lord examines the righteous. (Psalm 11:5)
The Lord examines us—not because He wants to hurt us, but because He loves us. We are precious in His sight, so He will refine us in His fires of affliction so that we come out more pure than when we went in. This is true for all God’s children; none escape His examination.
It is out of a heart of eternal love that our God tries and tests us. There is no other way to experience the removal of the self than through the examinations of the Savior. If Jesus did not love us, He would not examine us; and if we knew just how much He loves us, we would echo David’s cry for His continual examinations:
Test me, Lord, and try me, examine my heart and my mind. (Psalm 26:2)
Remember, our Lord does not take us through His examinations so He can gain a deeper understanding of our commitment to Him. Rather, it is so that we will grow in our own awareness of what our hearts beat for and how deep our love is for Him. God knew Abraham’s heart when He asked him to sacrifice Isaac, but Abraham did not fully know his own heart of love for God until he was put to the test. God’s examination ultimately proved to Abraham why he would be known for all eternity as the father of the faith (Romans 4:16).
The examinations we go through are the proving grounds of our faith. It is only when we emerge on the other side of the furnace of affliction that we know how real our faith truly is. We need look no further than the story of Job to see this truth. God allowed Satan to examine Job through unimaginable trials, and what was the result? Job never rejected God’s right to examine him; he trusted God through every trial, even when he could not trace Him in them. And in the end, Job acknowledged that he was a sinner in need of a Savior (Job 42:4-6), and he rejoiced that “My Redeemer lives, and . . . in the end he will stand upon the earth” (Job 19:25).
Know this: Whatever depth of faith you have today is a result of the examinations you have been given by God in the past. Growth does not happen when we are secure within our zones of comfort. It is when God forces us into those places where we are most uncomfortable that He is conforming us more and more into the image of His beloved Son.
Our Sovereign Lord is working all things for our good (Romans 8:28)—even those things that don’t feel so good at the time.
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!