Don't Always Blame The Devil: Sometimes It's Just Another Of God's 'Good' Tests
By Michael H. Brown
Yesterday I had one of those days where events just cried out for aggravation. You know how it is: everything and everyone who could get in the way did.
When this happens, we often blame it on the devil. A lot of time, it is him. But a lot of times it's just the Lord testing us. In our daily lives, God often sends trials, and he often does so through those around us -- especially those we love. It's not always the enemy. I heard a preacher recount the other day how his wife always takes longest to dress when they're late!
God uses others to test us but also us to test others. We shouldn't forget that: those around us are often inconvenienced or aggravated or distressed by what we do or don't do. I realized this the other day when I was driving through the parking lot of a supermarket and a car kept getting in my way. I was ready to feel aggravated when I realized that I was as much in his way as he was in mine.
The answer? Patience. With patience comes peace. The answer? Love. Love (1 Corinthians 7:13) endures all.
Anyway, about the other day: it started with computer problems. On the internet, this happens often. Everything will be going fine and then suddenly there's a slowdown that prevents proper uploading or corrections or some other website glitch (which is why we always ask you to bear with us if you can't get us). We took care of that, but it's hard to summarize the day's other potential aggravations: cars that cut me off, a bus that blocked a parking lot, SUVs clogging a road where my kids go to school, folks taking forever at the supermarket checkout (naturally the woman in front of me lost her credit card). And more. Much more. I mean, it was really one of those days. At the copy center they told me they couldn't help me with something I urgently needed and then, after a tense back and forth -- when they decided they could help me -- I was told they couldn't do the copying in the exact manner I requested (even though shortly after another employee said they could!).
Enough to make you want to yank at your hair.
Or was it? Was it something that would make you want to yank your hair -- or was it an exciting test?
I think it was at that point that it all fell together. It wasn't demonic interference -- no, not in this particular case -- it was a series of tests. At various times, we are all used by the Lord to test each other. These are "good" tests because if we respond to them in the right way they strengthen us, they gird us, they bring us up the ladder.
They are "good" tests because we gain spiritually. And even when it is the devil, God will bring good from it. God will count it as an exam -- giving us the chance to pass another test!
When we look at it from that standpoint, it almost becomes enjoyable to confront the daily grind we all face.
That's God's love for us. He wants us to draw close, and He wants us to change -- to meet new challenges, to graduate. Often we pray to change something or some situation or someone who is bothering us -- when first we should be praying to change ourselves.
Next time you're aggravated, see it as an opportunity to pray for patience. See it as an opportunity to love. See it as an exam you can pass.
When we do that (when we handle things with equilibrium, when we detach at "flashpoints," when first we pray to change what God wants changed in us), things soon fall into place -- without our even asking.
[Postscript: we kept our peace and traffic? It was a clear sail the next day... like every parking lot was empty. The computer problems? They vanished before our eyes. The copy place? The next day they gave us a huge discount because of the mistake.]
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