The words, “Testing 1, 2, 3, 4” are most often heard when a person is doing a microphone sound check. It is a way to check sound clarity, levels and balance in a room. One day I woke up from a dream where the last thing I remember in the dream were the words, “Testing 1,2,3,4”. As I woke up I the Spirit speak the words from the Book of James, chapter 1, verses 2, 3 and 4,
“2 Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, 3 for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. 4 And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”
This was the testing that the Lord was highlighting to me. In the past three years our lives and world has been altered on so many levels but within it there has been a testing that “if we let it” will produce steadfastness. It is a testing of our faith.
Most of our Biblical heroes of faith had their faith tested— and for some, their testings lasted many years. But these tests took ushered them from what appeared to be absolute defeat and into a greater victories than they ever imagined. Here are just a few…
Young Joseph was given a dream and a coat of many colors that promised him authority, honor and favor but the promise surely did not play out like young Joseph thought. His journey or the testing of his faith quite honestly seemed at best cruel and harsh; betrayal, slavery, isolation, abandonment, false accusation, imprisonments— but then the promise came to pass. The journey looked nothing like the dream but the outcome was so much greater and saved a nation in a time of great famine!
Then there was Moses. He went to Egypt as a deliverer of the Israelites but each time he approached Pharaoh to say, “Let my people go!” Pharaoh’s heart was hardened and the Israelites labor and suffering was increased. They watched as plague after plague came upon the land. The very people that he was sent to deliver most likely wanted him to go away. Can you imagine the accusations against Moses and Aaron as the people’s suffering intensified? But Moses was steadfast and not only were the Israelites delivered from slavery and from Egypt but their enemies were swallowed in The Red Sea.
Then there is Lazarus! He was a personal friend of Jesus; a family friend where Jesus found a home away from home. Lazarus and his sisters were intimate friends with him. Yet, when Jesus is traveling Lazarus gets gravely sick so his sisters know that they should send for Jesus. Surely he will come quickly and heal his dear friend. But no. Jesus not only delays his coming but when he finally heads to their home, he seems to stroll without any urgency. When he finally arrives Lazarus has been in the grave for days. The pain felt by all is real and raw. The questions of “where were you” and “if only you had been here” were intermingled with deep pain and grief. Yet, once again our God was not late but He was narrating a different story than anyone understood. The natural was not going to dictate the sovereignty of God or His ways. Although Lazarus was dead and it appeared final (nothing could be done)— Jesus showed up and spoke, “Come forth!”
Lastly, Jesus came into the world through a virgin birth, he lived a sinless life, he healed the sick, he gave sight to the blind, he fed thousands with only a small lunch and he raised the dead. His disciples knew He was their long awaited Messiah. They had such hope and so much confidence in Him changing the world. They had seen the miracles and watched power flow from His hands. They knew that victory had come into a world of deep oppression. He would surely put an end to the tyranical Roman regime! But suddenly their precious Master was betrayed, arrested, beaten, crucified and then his lifeless body put into a grave. Can you imagine the grief, the shock, the confusion and the questions. I am sure that there were many moments of chaos as His disciples and followers tried to figure out what had just happened. I would imagine that there were fingers pointed at one another and accusations made. Pain often looks for a reason or an explanation of what went wrong and who is to blame. Their faith was not only tested in this moment but severely tested. But then the third day came and once again God’s narrative prevailed. In the greatest moment of hopeless despair the greatest victory known to mankind came forth. All who witnessed the resurrected Lord became steadfast the in their faith.
For many— the past three years have proven to be one test of faith after another. From a global pandemic to public divisions within the Church today— our faith has been tested. Will we do what James 1:2-4 says and count it all joy and allow a steadfast faith to be produced in us? Though it appears that Jesus is arriving too late— are we about to see a resurrection of His Church? Can we remain steadfast in our faith or will we decide the outcome by what our eyes are seeing? Just when the enemy begins to rejoice and believe that he has won— our Savior appears and the victory ends up far greater than the suffering.
Will we allow the testing of our faith to produce within us a steadfast faith that is complete and lacks nothing?
We are in a sound check that tests the levels of our faith. It’s like God has put a stethoscope to our hearts and is saying, “Testing, 1, 2, 3, 4.” God is clearing and purifying the sound of our faith and the condition of our hearts. He’s balancing and aligning us to His heart, His ways and His pure sound. He’s removing every obstacle that blocks the pure sound of His good news and perfect love.
We have been in a James 1: 2,3,4 season. Let us count it all joy and then watch a greater victory than we ever imagined come forth as we see a bride emerge without spot or wrinkle. What appears dead will be resurrected. We have not been defeated but our faith is being tested and we must allow Him to make us steadfast so that we will be complete and lack nothing.