It was only as I was brought to the point of sheer frustration, recently, that God was able to show me a new thing; that is, a new thing for every person who follows Jesus. The point I was brought to would have caused a different response until a short time ago. Yet, like He did first thirteen years beforehand, the Lord showed me that everything in life is a test. Seeing this is most of the battle.
“The trials that confront us are faced by all human beings; however, God is dependable: he won’t allow you to be tried beyond the limits of your endurance, but with the trial [he] will also provide a means of escape, enabling you to endure it.”
– 1 Corinthians 10:13 (USC)
This is such an important theological principle. One that is most often misread. The trials we face are common to everyone, and yet these trials will push us to the limit, before we learn that our limit isn’t actually where we think it is. We think we’re pushed too far, but limits were made to be pressed too far. It’s how we come to be resilient. It’s only when our limits aren’t pushed that we fail to grow. But when we’re pressed past our limits we find God was always there to catch our fall.
So, in this, we learn a vital lesson. In being tested, and in being taken to the brink, even to the point of stumbling and failing, God provides a means of escape which enables us to endure it.
Then we find the resilience within us is like the treasure Jesus speaks of:
“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.”
– Matthew 13:44 (NIV)
The treasure is worth more than any tangible possession, just as it is worth treasuring up within us – the experience of being confident in our faith to endure the test.
Within the testing time comes with the snapping point. And it’s only as we reach and go past the snapping point that we find we’ve discovered a new resilience.
It’s that point where we have been cajoled to rage, succumbed to despair, or simply pushed through it.
Resilience is what helps us to know that the point of discipleship is to be pushed beyond our limit; to be stretched to breaking point, and to realise that that point is the very precipice that brings us to learning.
God needs to break us out of our dependence on comfort, to bring us to the discomfort that comes in the test, which is the nexus of learning.
Within the snapping point is the treasure. By noticing what once would break us, but now no longer does, we’re shown our growth in the grace of resilience.
God won’t expose us to every test common to humankind, but we all experience the tests He ordains for us. Some of these tests will push us to and beyond our limit, for which there is growth in the faith. When we reach breaking point, we find there is something more; a great treasure worth hiding and hoarding. If the tests of life cannot destroy us, nothing can.
God’s goal in our practical lives is expose us in experiencing His gospel power at work in us, resurrecting us to a victory over the tormenting tests simply because we pressed on.
Steve Wickham holds Degrees in Science, Divinity, and Counselling.
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