Family: Trials and Testing

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God has many provisions which He uses to cause us to depend on Him and while parents can protect their children from much, children will be nonetheless affected by what happens to their parents. Therefore, it is important for parents to teach their children about the purposes of God in trials, the purposes of God in testing and how to spot when we are being tested and how temptation can develop in to committing sin. When God was about to bring His people into the promised land He warned His people about the influence that ungodly neighbours can have on the nation, but He also warned them about loving Him first in order for them to be able to handle the blessing which God was giving them.

They would come into a land where they would enjoy good cities that they did not build, houses full of good things which they did not fill, cisterns which they did not dig, vineyards and olive trees which they did not plant. They were to enjoy all these things, they were to eat and be full, but they were to do this with care. They were not to forget the Lord God (Deut 6:10-12). When God tells his people what they will come to enjoy, He is also warning them of the potential forgetfulness which can come through enjoying the blessings of God more than their devotion to Him. God hasn’t said these things so that the people are reminded to be thankful, though thankful they should be. The reason He is telling them of all the things which they can enjoy and which they have not worked for is so that they would know where it all came from, in others words, each family moving into the promised land where they were to know and not forget God by their enjoyment of His blessings.

Giving thanks

As a family sits together in the home each eating what they enjoy, or not, whatever the case may be given the developing taste buds of children, they are to be thankful. This is to continue as they leave the table for other places within the home, this thankfulness should also be found when wardrobes and draws are opened and where a choice of clothing can be found. It is to continue as each member pulls back the blankets as they get into bed and as they put on their shoes and coats the next day for work or school, as they get in the car or as they walk. The family must remember God as they enjoy the many blessings He has given them. This is how God will be remembered in the family, lest he be only remembered at the table but is then quickly forgotten everywhere else. God has provided more than food and by each member being mindful of this, they will be kept from forgetting the Lord God.

Trials

Sometimes families can have very little and this in itself is a provision from God, a blessing designed to keep the family dependent on God. As parents look to God, they must encourage their children to do the same, lest the parents take upon themselves an overwhelming burden which only God can fulfill. Parents are to be parents to their children, they are not to be God, they must recognize that they cannot provide that which only God can.

One of the ways that God uses to develop a person in Christ is by maturing them through the trials they face. They will come in all forms for no person can become mature by only learning the same lesson over and over again, we may have to learn the same lesson more than once but they are designed to move us on to maturity. When God works in the lives of our children, the trials they face will be designed in such a way where they will need to realise that this is such a time where they are to depend on God for themselves. Peer pressure and the desire to have what others have, have been addressed in the tenth commandment, yet how many parents try to deal with this by trying to give their children what other children have rather than deal with the real issue in a way as taught in the word of God. Parents may not think that they are operating in the opposite direction to the will of God here because it’s under the cover of providing for their children. However, leaning on God in such temptation is necessary for a child to mature. Parents are to lead the way rather than succumb to the pressure of neighbours, for if they do then this is something which they will imitate to their children.

Testing

Testing which comes from the Lord like many other tests seek to prove either way if we can put into practice what we have learnt if we have remembered, able to call to mind and show our working out for why our answers, decisions and actions are what they are. Testing is not the same as temptation, for the Lord God tempts no person, however, the separation is not so straight forward. For instance, a father, mother or child with a particular weakness, but who has received the wisdom of God can be tested in such a way where it looks like temptation but this has more to do with the desires of the heart than it is with the situation that the Lord has us in (this we will address at a later point).

The father could be tempted at work by his work colleagues male or female, the mother could be tempted in other ways and by other people, their children in the same way and while the temptation comes from those who they are encountering, the Lord uses such situations as a test in which God always provides a way of escape. What’s being questioned is whether or not we can apply the wisdom of God. If we relieve the peer pressure our children can feel by giving them what others have, we can keep them from being tested and this in turn is a way of not allowing them to trust God for themselves in difficult situations.

Provisions

It might be hard to imagine and believe that trials and testing are provisions from the Lord and at the same time the provisions such as material blessings must be handled carefully lest we forget God. When it comes to trials we tend to believe that they are too much to cope with and when it comes to the blessings we think that we could handle more without being corrupted by them. The truth is that only God knows and because He knows He is able to protect us in the trials with His grace and keep from us many material blessings which can so easily corrupt our faith and trust and love for Him.  Children need their parents to be faithful to the Lord God whether they realise it or not. Parents who are faithful to the Lord will shape their children in the same way they are being shaped and while parents may feel the pressure of the trial, or the potential dangers of having much, they are are the same time demonstrating to their children how they are to be handled.

 

 

By Daniel Ralph

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