In school, I can remember well the nerve raking anticipation of tests – all kinds of tests, but especially pop quizzes. If a test was announced ahead of time I could stay up all night before, memorize what might be on the test, take the test and then promptly forget all I had “learned.” I would catch up on the sleep I had lost and go on to other things I wanted to do.
This was not so with pop quizzes – a favorite with some of my teachers. For some reason, they wanted to see if I really knew the material and so unannounced, they would say, “Close your books. I am passing out a quiz which counts for ¼ of your grade.” Ouch! Depending on the subject, I ranged from OK to not so good on these pop quizzes. What I did learn was in that class I must expect the unexpected. Because pop quizzes were a norm in some classes, I found I studied more for those. I knew I had better be prepared.
Life is like that. Rarely can we anticipate everything that is going to come our way especially in the area of trials and tests. Satan intentionally takes us off guard with a new temptation. The only way to combat his onslaught is to be prepared. When Bible study is a holy habit and the test comes, the Holy Spirit can remind you of the answer just when you need it.
Joel C. Gregory in his book, “James: Faith Works!” says, “God tests believers to bring out the best; Satan tempts them to bring out the worst. A person chooses whether or not tests become temptations. Trials may refine people or ruin them, depending on their reactions. God’s intention in every test of health or wealth is positive.”
When we are tested by God and tempted by Satan, we need to be ready.
You may not know when or how trials will come, but expect them. The same word James uses for “fall” into various trials, Jesus used in the story of the good Samaritan when the man “fell” among thieves. Trials are unpredictable. They can only be resisted when one has trained himself adequately ahead of time.
My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing (James 1:2-4).