Take Out Your Pencils and Clear Your Desk
This week got away from me. Not to cry on your shoulder or anything, just filling you in on the highlights: Stress filled worship service Sunday, plumbing repairs with two extra trips to the hardware store Monday, schedule changes Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday: completely forgot a Zoom Meeting… You get the picture. Stress eating, missing workouts, changing sleep patterns… I will let you guess about prayer, bible reading and other spiritual pursuits…
I ask myself, did this bad past week rise to the level of the testing of Job? My answer is a resounding YES! Not in absolute accounting: God’s fire didn’t fall from the sky, most of my family didn’t die, I didn’t have to scrape skin sores with broken clay pots, all things that happened to Job. However, Job’s outcome and my outcome are the same.
We have a very “American mindset” on the word “test”. We think “test” in terms of academics: pass or fail, maybe somewhere on a sliding scale of “outstanding” to “needs improvement”; “make the grade”; process information and give back the answer the teacher desires, that type of language. It is performance based. Mastery of the subject is the goal, then no more tests. That is not the biblical understanding. The biblical idea is not mastery oriented, it is a measure of what is. It is a measure of character, not a measure of accomplishments and failures.
Through faith you are being protected by God’s power for the salvation that is ready to be revealed at the end of time. Because of this you rejoice very much, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various kinds of trials so that the proven character of your faith—which is more valuable than gold, which passes away even though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise, glory, and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. From <https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1%20Peter%201&version=EHV>
My faith and Job’s faith (as well as yours) is “the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law.” (Galatians 2:16 AKJV) The “works of the law” likes to measure, compare, and yes, even test; through Word and Sacraments the Good News is that Jesus is the Christ! (Acts 5:42) The final outcome: the communion of saints, the forgivness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting.
And I won’t say, when the test comes, Jesus is the answer.
As I start a new week, remembering my baptism, forgiven, knowing trials will come; I pray it will be said of me (and you also): ” You see that his faith was working together with his works, and by his works his faith was shown to be complete.” (James 2:22)
Because of the faith of Jesus Christ!
Did I pass the test?