beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. [1 peter 4:12]

there are basically two kinds of tests that we encounter. the first is designed to prove, while the second is designed to improve. for example, a finals test in freshman biology is specifically designed so you can prove what you have learned during the semester. the 51, 71, or 91 will prove what you know. this is the first type of test – it proves. another example, is a physical workout designed by a trainer. this workout “tests” you every time you do the work. while it does reveal or prove what you can do, the greater design of the test is to improve you. this is the second type of test – it improves.

the phrase “to test you” in this verse refers to the second type of test. it is designed by God to improve you. read the verse again with this knowledge. how does it change what you just read?

what is God revealing about himself? his love, his care, his goodness?

one of the most common assaults of the enemy is to attack you for simply trying to live in Christ. Jesus calls this persecution. the enemy calls this trying to get you to shut up. the second most common assault of the enemy is to whisper in your ear and say, “this isn’t good. this isn’t fair. this shouldn’t be happening. i’m just doing good.” the attack is subtle, but deadly. the first attack is meant to assault what you believe about you. persecution is meant to make you doubt your resolve, your courage, your mission. the second attack is meant to assault what you believe about God. the whispers are subtle, but ultimately they are meant to make you believe that God is not good. you may believe he is Lord, Savior, All-Powerful, Almighty God, but if you believe he is not good … well that poison’s the well of his truth. the poisoning is very quiet, slow, and … effective. eventually, no matter how powerful you believe God is, if you believe he is not good, the enemy has begun to turn your affection from God.

today, hear the truth of God’s word, his voice to you …

God does not allow persecution and suffering to come upon you for no reason. he is testing us to improve us. literally, he is transforming us more and more into the image of Christ so we can reflect the beauty and power of his glory more fully. every ounce of persecution has a purpose. our Father is loving! our Father is caring! our Father is good!

but rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. if you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. [1 peter 4:12]

rest in his goodness this morning. pause, and ask him to reveal his goodness to you. be still, wait, and let him speak over you all the ways he is caring for you, loving you, and showering you with his goodness – even in the middle of chaos, hurt, pain, suffering, and or persecution.

LORD, i wait on you. speak over your servant. open the eyes of my heart to see all the ways you are loving because you are Love. open the eyes of my heart to see all the ways you are caring because you are Care. open the eyes of my heart to see all the ways you are showering me with your goodness because you are Good. may seeing you in all your fullness fuel my love for you and my desire to share your love with others today! in Jesus name, send me for your name, for your glory! amen!

~ john ryan