We live in an age of testing. The food we eat, the medicine we take, and the toys our children play with have all been rigorously tested before being sold to us. This helps us to be assured of their safety, quality, functionality, usability, and reliability.

Because of their unbelief and disobedience, God forced the Israelites to spend 40 years wandering in the desert (Numbers 14:29-35). He didn’t abandon them but protected and provided for them during their lengthy journey (Exodus 13:21-22, Exodus 16:35; Deuteronomy 8:4, Deuteronomy 8:15-16, Deuteronomy 32:10). God put them into an intensive 4-decade “training program,” purposefully leading them into difficult circumstances for three reasons:

• to prove their character, seeing if they truly loved Him with all their heart and soul (Deuteronomy 8:2, Deuteronomy 13:3).

• to test their faithfulness and obedience to God (Deuteronomy 8:2).

• to teach them the necessity, centrality, and sufficiency of God’s Word in their lives (Deuteronomy 8:3).

The troubles and difficulties you’re going through are part of God’s training program “for your own good” (Deuteronomy 8:5,16). These trials are like final exams in God’s school of discipleship—designed to prove the quality of your faith (Proverbs 17:3; 1 Peter 1:7) and to help you mature in it (Job 23:10; Isaiah 48:10; Romans 5:3-5; James 1:2-4; 1 Peter 4:12-13).

It’s normal for us to insist that the things we use must be vigorously tested before they’re sold to us. But sometimes we resist and don’t have a similar acceptance or gratitude for the spiritual tests that come our way. We can even become bitter or angry at God when He allows them to enter our lives. Instead, may we realize that an untested life can’t be trusted.

NLT 365-day reading plan passage for today: John 8:21-59