Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Failing the Test

I just had a small moment of insight.  I'm hoping I can articulate it here -- for my own remembrance, and for someone else's enlightenment, if God so uses it.

My alarm didn't wake me up this morning (which, on another day would be a great thing because it meant I slept long and hard).  I rushed to get dressed and check on our eldest whom I needed to drive to school.  She was still pondering a decision I had asked her to make last night before she went to bed.  And, of course, this set me off.  I snapped, we bickered, I stomped and pouted, she gave excuses and rolled her eyes . . . I'm sure you can picture the scene.  It was not attractive.

Well, now she's off at school taking her first final of the day (Chemistry -- prayers appreciated), and I drove home with a sinking feeling that I'd already failed my first test of the day. 

In my readings lately, I've been considering the idea of "practicing the presence of God" -- an old term for, basically, developing a constant awareness of God's presence and communication.  I've also been considering the idea that God is completely in control, that nothing bad happens to me apart from his permission and he only gives permission if he has good to bring out of it.

So, I wondered, what good could come of me waking up late in a tizzy and then snapping at my daughter?  Was it a test?  Probably.  A test of my peace and patience.  And I failed.

But I had a sudden thought: what if this wasn't about God testing me . . . what if this was about me testing God?  Maybe God was giving me a chance to really try this "practicing his presence" stuff out in the trenches and see that he really is there, waiting to talk me through these moments.  Test me in this and see . . . (Malachi 3).

So, I failed the test this morning.  But not in the sense that I, personally, should have been patient and wasn't (although that's kind of true, too).  More in the sense that I clearly haven't yet learned to automatically lean on my Great Resource who gives me patience.  And that's an easier failure to swallow.  Because if my living a "victorious Christian life" depends on my becoming a better person, I don't have a lot of hope.  I've tried that my whole life, and it doesn't work.  But if it depends on my learning how to let God get it done through me -- that I can do, eventually.

At least this wasn't a final exam, like what my daughter's taking.  There will be more tests -- new ones every morning.  Fortunately, His mercies are new every morning, too.

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