May 22, 2010


"Don’t be surprised by the many trials you are facing"
I am importing a rather good post by John Stumbo...He is our friend who just recently swallowed for the first time since the Bush administration..he has been eating small bites of things for two weeks. Though swallowing is a huge improvement he is still not eating just like you or I would. He is making progress in baby steps. Some times baby steps are still to be celebrated. He has some great things to say about life's not so good moments.... we often call them tests.

Hints for Taking Life’s Tests  by John Stumbo

#1 Every test is an open book test. It didn’t happen very often when I was in school, but I always loved it when my teacher or professor announced that we could use our notes or text book in taking the test. Good news: God has given us the finest resource—the Bible—and welcomes us to keep it wide open during our trials. Joanna and I have always been students of the Word, but in this era of testing, our commitment to turn to the Word every day has only increased. This has been a key to our emotional, spiritual and relational health during this hardship. If you are in a trial, stubbornly resist the temptation to withdraw from the Word. This WILL be a temptation for you. There were months in this journey that my Bible reading time was 100% determination and 0% inspiration. I’ve referred to that era of Bible reading as feeling like “sandpaper” to my soul. Yet, Joanna and I persisted and testify that we are the better for it. Keep the Book open. Feed your weary soul. Seek your Father’s heart.

#2 Every test is a group project. On a rare occasion, my teacher or professor would announce that the project or exam was going to be done in a group context. I didn’t always appreciate this. I liked to work at my own pace and do my own thing. I can be a bit of a “loner.” However, in the tests of life, God never intends for us to bear them completely alone. He’s placed us in a family with brothers and sisters for a reason. To be sure, some of those family members will disappoint us in our time of trial; forgive them knowing we have done the same thing to others. Resist the temptation to isolate. Determine that you won’t wallow in your private pool of self-pity. Keep opening your heart to others who in a direct or indirect way will walk with you through this trial.

#3 Every test is a personal encounter with the Instructor Himself. If I am able to finish my doctoral program, I will have to give an oral defense of my work. This will be a “test” unlike any I’ve had in my academic past. However, I look forward to it because it will be a personal encounter—a dialogue—with people I’ve come to respect. In a much more significant and personal way, every test we face can be a personal encounter with God the Father, Son and Spirit. Our mysterious God reveals more of Himself to us through trials than in any other way I know. You don’t have to like your personal test, but you will have less angst and more hope it you see the test as an opportunity to enter into new dialogue and deeper relationship with God.

#4 Every test elicits something deeper from within us. In our school days, exams drew out of us knowledge that we had acquired. Often we didn’t realize we had learned something until we were tested on. Of course, the opposite was also true: we didn’t know how little we knew until we were tested on it. I want to encourage you today that in your “life-test,” you are not being graded so much as you are being guided. The Guide, our kind God, wants to use the test to draw deeper things out of us…to carve deeper furrows into our shallow hearts so that roots of truth can reach further into our being. I think this is part of what A. B. Simpson (founder of the Christian & Missionary Alliance) was suggesting in the following:

Pressed out of measure and pressed to all length;
Pressed so intensely it seems, beyond strength;
Pressed in the body and pressed in the soul,
Pressed in the mind till the dark surges roll.
Pressure by foes, and a pressure from friends.
Pressure on pressure, till life nearly ends.
Pressed into knowing no helper but God;
Pressed into loving the staff and the rod.
Pressed into liberty where nothing clings;
Pressed into faith for impossible things.
Pressed into living a life in the Lord,
Pressed into living a Christ-life outpoured.
Traveling with you,

"I was crushed…so much that I despaired even of life,
but that was to make me rely not on myself,
but on the God who raises the dead."
II Cor. 1:8-9

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