The Pressure Test

 http://www.flickr.com/photos/tzofia/270800047/

Today’s Truth: Job 36:15 He rescues suffering people through their suffering, and he opens their ears through distress.

From My Heart To Yours:

My husband and I love to watch a television show called “MASTERCHEF”. It airs each week on the Fox TV Network and is now in its 3rd season. The show features three judges, famed award-winning chef Gordon Ramsay, restaurateur Joe Bastianich and acclaimed chef Graham Elliot. The best amateur cooks, approximately 100, are brought in from all over the US to compete for the title of MASTERCHEF and a grand prize of $250,000.00.

Through several individual cooking test the total is then reduced to 18 contestants competing for the title. Individuals are then separated into two teams to compete. Members from the losing team members have to participate in a “pressure test” challenge. The amateur chefs are given a dish they have to create in a very short time. Once the time is up, the dishes are presented to the judges. The judges critique then eliminate one or more contestants.

As we were watching the losing team participates in the pressure test I began to think about the pressure tests we have to deal with throughout our lives. Like the cooks we should have the skills and knowledge to help us face the pressure test challenges we face. Job immediately came to my mind. I think he had the biggest pressure test a Christian could face. His test was given to him in a short period of time and like the contestants, he had no idea what was coming up.

All the amateurs considered themselves to be the best chef and were shocked they were even on the losing team participating in a pressure test. You know, kinda like Job. In the beginning of the book Job was riding high, on the top of world, living life large, confident in himself. As the pressure test hit him, he was a little shocked. He, like the amateur chefs, thought he was too good to find himself in the situation he was in.

Under the pressure of the clock and the food task given each chef handled the stress differently. Some wept, some cursed, some cried, some became panic-stricken and were almost immobilized, some gave up and some a combination of all. As you read further into the book of Job you see that Job too responded to his pressure test in a variety of ways.

After the pressure came the judging by the experts. This was as true for the amateur chefs as it was for Job. Job’s critics, however, were the worst kind; his friends and family. At least in the show everyone knew that the judges are going to rate your food, cooking ability, then insult you personally. Job on the other hand was discouraged when it is his very own friends who were judging him so unkindly instead of encouraging him.

From the book of Job I learned SIX ways to help us pass pressure tests we face:

1. Realize that God knows what we are going through and understands how we feel. Though Job could not begin to understand why all of these things were happening to him, he knew God knew about it. Jesus suffered while he was on the earth and because of that suffering God understands how we feel. Job told his wife, “Shall we indeed accept good from God, and shall we not accept adversity?” (Job 2:10).

2. God is not the cause of the pressure test, but he is there to help us make it through it. God is involved in every test that we undergo and God is in charge! James 1:13 says, “When under trial, let no one say: “I am being tried by God.” For with evil things God cannot be tried nor does he himself try anyone.” God does not bring problems on us. He is not the source of the trials we may face, but he does allow us to be tried, and he will help us, if we rely on him.

3. Sometimes there is no clear “why”.  One of the difficult things for us to accept is that many of the sufferings we go through simply cannot be explained. The why is often a question unanswered. Bad things do not only happen to bad people. Job recognized that many times the wicked live to reach old age and even appear to prosper.

4. Trust God. It is relatively easy to trust God and believe he is in charge when things are going right. But what about when things turn upside down and inside out? It is in the midst of such perplexity and anguish that faith in God is most needed.

5. There are blessings for obedience. It is easier to quit when tough times come, to curse God and jump right back into our past life of sin. At the conclusion of the book reveals, “Now the Lord blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning” (42:12). In the end, there were blessings for his obedience and for staying true to God.

6. Our trials can make us bitter or they can make us better. Once the trial passes we should have a better understanding of ourselves and of God’s mercy and grace. Whatever the trial or test, there is always growth that can be achieved. God wants us to grow and mature spiritually. Therefore, we must undergo periodic pruning to stimulate that growth (John 15:2).

Let’s Pray:

Dear Lord, we know that even as Christians we will face pressure test in our life. Sometimes, we forget you are in control when things are turned upside down. Help us to trust you, to rely on you and stay faithful to you during these stressful times. We ask for wisdom, during these tough times, to understand what lessons we are to learn about ourselves, others and/or our relationship with you. In Jesus Name.  AMEN.

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