God’s ‘Big Tests’

God’s ‘Big Tests’ November 21, 2021



I walked around a ‘C’ student in my high school math class-and not a solid ‘C.’ Math and I as well as Chemistry did not get along. Come to think of it, my German class was even worse.  Apparently, I had a moment of stupid when I registered. I can only remember one line in that language from two years of study, ‘how are you’ in the formal form. Don’t ask me to spell it out for you. Use your computer translator and find it. That’s it. We would have tests and I got cold and clammy, so it wasn’t always too surprising my eyes would wander to neighbors’ answer sheets.

We define it differently than I think Dad does. It was a term He inspired the writers to use because people could, even today, relate to it, in our simple gooey minds, what He is doing. I think, as we move through this life, we do not see ourselves in situations which are completely controlled, completely known, their outcomes are completely written by our Dad to grow us to Him.

        Is God really in control?

We feel, sometimes, there is not a God in control. We don’t feel it is made and perfectly crafted by God. He chose us to to bring us to a faith in Him where we are not alone-never alone, always loved, always found joy in, and in who we are able to rest in—God’s son. Jesus walks us there. We are being refined like gold and silver it says in Psalms. I like that word-refined. I like the idea He refines us in the dumpster fires we sometimes find ourselves in.


If you want to run a marathon, you will be physically and mentally tested. You are in that experience knowing it will hurt-sounds fun, eh? Then, after some ‘testing’ your time drops, your endurance builds, and you are able to compete. God does the same thing, only all of it has to do with our character and our relationship with Him. That little element, I think, is between me and Him.

In a simple, elementary image, I imagine God is like I was when my kids learned to ride bikes, running next to them with my hand gripping the back of their shirts. When they started to fall, and they all fell, I would have hold of the shirt so the crash was not, well, a crash. They experienced the loss of balance, the speed, the need to adjust and the fear of the fall, but I had their shirt and kept them from winding up too badly broken. It’s terrifying and for the Evil One who loves to pour fear on us, it is the tool used most. But for those of us who can turn our heads and experience who is holding their shirt, we can smile, take a breath, and close our eyes in the bath that is His love.

    His love….

I realized this when my wife was dying.

There was a part of that season, between when she was diagnosed a second time with cancer and the final few days, when fear walked in. I was looking at a long run and a financially scary one as well.

Written on a chalk board in her room, and in the back of my mind, these words “Be still and know….” resonated. Eventually, filling me with the knowledge some things are just too big to manage and eventually surrendering to those simple words.

With nowhere else to turn, I gave up control. The outcome might not be what we want, but the outcome is always perfect because of who wrote it. Why chase anything else if the perfect story—my story, is written perfectly for me?

“Be still and know….’


Eventually, God does that thing where all roads, eventually, lead back to Him. He is—His Plan. Nope, we do not get to see it, not always. That’s where my faith comes from, I have found out. We find ourselves crying, angry, growing bitter sometimes, frustrated, scared to death, of a life with no backup in the loss. At least if she was alive, I would have someone to call the paramedics if I fell off the roof.

Don’t ask what I’m doing on the roof in the first place.

“Hey, has anyone heard from Dad? He was suppose to get up on the roof yesterday.  I called him twice and no one picked up. One of us should run over there—tomorrow.”


Every day we wake up with the thought of how the day will go, how the day will end and if we will get there. We look down the road and see we could be doing this for quite a while, for a long time, all alone. Maybe we will remarry, maybe sell the house. Both things steer us into major course changes from the decades we just finished. In all of it. The Author of the Plan prods us to remember. It was written before time began, just for us. All your feelings, even anger towards God, are known. God knows your feelings even before you do. He is never—never angry at you.

We run in a world saturated with the infection of sin. Until we accepted the cure from God himself, we had no hope. Just us with a roll of duct tape and some toothpaste to fix us. Helplessly inadequate. Then, the Plan activated as we step on stage.

Now, you are white as snow.

It was part of The Plan.

About Mark Williams
Mark is the fourth generation in his family to live in the valley.

He attends Open Door Fellowship in Phoenix, Arizona, is widowed after being married for almost thirty-eight years, has three children, and ten grandchildren. He has published eight novels and one non-fiction book.

His idea of the perfect ending to any day is curling up in his comfy bed with a good book and reading until his eyes cross. You can read more about the author here.

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