This is a test.

This is a picture of my bubba, my oldest child. He has blue eyes, blonde hair, my grandpa’s jaw and my grandaddy’s butt chin. He’s also funny, charming and very smart. I love him.
There was a time after high school that he was a bit of a wild child. When it was happening it seemed like it was lasting for an eternity but now it just feels like a minute, a blip on the screen. 
He successfully pulled himself together, changed direction, became focused and started going to school.  He went to college while working two jobs, supporting himself. He flourished, taking honors courses and getting great grades. 
He then set his sights on finishing his degree at a university and began the process of applying. His top choice would be UCLA he said, “but I probably won’t get in”. (he’s entirely too hard on himself, I should have told him more often how wonderful he is).  I remember the day he called me, I answered the phone and said hello but all I heard  was “mom” and then the phone went silent,  like any self-respecting mother I began to worry and asked him once, twice, ten times. ” What? What is it?. Finally he spoke, “I got in!”. I knew immediately what he meant, UCLA. I haven’t heard that much excitement in his voice since he was a young, carefree boy. And the good news didn’t end there, he was getting enough scholarships and grants to pay for his first year almost entirely! Whoohoo! 

Of course the best news for me (selfish thing that I am) was that he was moving from Northern California to Southern California, where I live. I had visions of going to the beach, going to Disneyland and him coming over for Parmesan chicken. ( Silly, I know, but a mother can dream of having a little bit of her kids childhood back.).  Time passed and none of the above took place. I was talking to him on the phone one day and  reminded him of the fact that he hadn’t come to visit and he said some thing I don’t think I’ll ever forget, “I can’t mom” he said in a gentle tone, ” I have to study because I have a test coming up and I have to do good on the test.” then he said the following which still rings in my heart to this day, “no, I can’t just do good on this test, I have to do great on this test because there’s so much riding on it.” 
After saying our good byes and hanging up the phone, the Holy Spirit spoke clearly to me, “If only everyone would have that same attitude in life.” You see, this life we live is a test and the whole reason behind a test is to find out what you know so that you will become qualified to fulfill the plan for your life. 
So how do we pass the tests of life? The tests that come in the forms of crisis, tragedy, difficult bosses, disappointing relationships, health scares etc. We study. 2 Timothy 2:15 tells us to “study to show yourself approved…a workman who has no cause to be ashamed…”  When we study Gods word we are studying his heart, his nature, his character along with his plans, his will and expectations. We begin to know him intimately, understanding how and why he works. This study brings trust to our heart so that as we are passing through the difficulties of our life we can confidently say, ” ..though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil for you are with me Lord…” We begin to trust him as our loving father who is refining us and daily crafting us more and more into his image and likeness so that we can be a light to this world so full of darkness. Because that is the crucial thing that all these tests are riding on; people. People who are going through the same troubles, the same trials, the same disappointments as you but they are in darkness. The bible says that they are without hope and without God in this world. These people are watching you, at work, in your neighborhood, in your family even in your own home. They are watching to see if this God that you claim loves them can bring a peace, a hope a stability in the midst of their trouble and despair. 
So study, trust, lean your entire being on Him, because there is so much riding on it.