AFTER SPENDING much of his life—perhaps from birth—in Ur of the Chaldeans, Abram was instructed by God to go to a place to be disclosed later. Sadly, he didn’t respond with complete obedience; he obeyed only in part. When he left Ur, Abram brought along his father, Terah, and his nephew Lot.
FOR ABRAM, this season of hunger represented a major test. While God didn’t cause the famine, He certainly used it as an instrument in the development of Abram’s faith.
You can expect more than one divine test in your own faith journey, but God doesn’t use difficult circumstances to find out what we’ll do. He already knows us better than we know ourselves. He uses tests to reveal us to ourselves! He often uses a test to show us where we need improvement.
A divine test usually exposes what might be called our default response to crisis. It starts as a self-preservation reflex. In time, we learn to respond to stress with expert agility without even thinking. And before we know it, we have a full-blown coping mechanism that takes over, keeping us from trusting in God. For Abram, it was deception.
In case you’re feeling superior right about now, thinking you’d never lie the way Abram did, let me offer a warning from Scripture: “If you think you are standing strong, be careful not to fall. The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience” (1 Corinthians 10:12-13). No one wakes up in the morning with a spectacular moral failure planned. More often, our days begin with the best of intentions, and then a crisis comes. A challenge to faith arises. Suddenly, the default response takes over, and the brain thinks only in the horizontal direction.
When your faith is put to the test, what is your default response? Ask the Lord to help you rely on Him instead of your usual coping mechanism.
When your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.
1 PETER 1:7