Psalm 26:2-3 Test me, O Lord, and try me,
examine my heart and my mind;
for your love is ever before me,
and I walk continually in your truth.
This strikes me as a rather foolhardy prayer! David loved God, certainly, but he was not aware of his own capacity for self-deception. A far wiser posture is that taken by Paul: “My conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent. It is the Lord who judges me.” (1 Corinthians 4:4) Here, David comes across as self-righteous, and that is very foolish. God knows our hearts at all times, but He does put us through what the Bible calls testing, not so that He will learn something but so that we will, and grow in the process. Here again Paul had a very good revelation: “No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.” (1 Corinthians 10:13) Often enough, the process isn’t very enjoyable. However, the outcome is always good, if we will respond as God intends for us to do. (Hebrews 12:11)
As a school teacher, I have to test people regularly. Because I teach in the medical field, I always stress to my students that they aren’t to study for the sake of passing the tests, but rather so that they will be equipped to serve their patients in the future. However, the tests are important tools in gauging their progress, not just for me as their teacher but for their own self-awareness. As a matter of fact, we have major tests coming up this next Thursday. In the Medical English class, I would not be surprised if one or more students get 100% of the answers correct, though I am even more confident that more than one student will come up short and have to be retested later. In the Pronunciation and Vocal Production class, I can guarantee that no one will get a perfect score, but it is also very rare for someone to fail. A major purpose of that class is to help my students become aware of their own limitations and make progress in overcoming them, because when they become Speech Therapists, that is exactly what they will need to do for their patients. I have no joy in marking people down, but rather rejoice in good performance. That gives me understanding of God, as He puts us through various tests. He never wants us to fail! As a pastor, I seek to help people understand that about God, but some of them really struggle with it. Maybe they had vindictive teachers! I am to be the sort of teacher, in school, in church, and in my daily life, who encourages, even when correction is called for. I am to remember God’s grace toward me, and apply it to those around me in turn.
Father, thank You for the privilege of teaching, and for equipping me to do the job. It has its joys and its frustrations! Help me grow as You intend through all that You take me through, whether it feels like a test or not, so that I may be the son that You desire, for Your pleasure and glory. Thank You. Praise God!