The sweat forms on your brow, anxiety sets in as the professor hands out the test. You have spent weeks in the classroom listening, nodding as it all seemed to make sense. But now you are being tested, and your true knowledge is about to be revealed.
For years you have gone to church with Mom and Dad, said amen’s, and sang songs praising God. Will you be the only one who wants to keep your faith in college, will it be as easy as confessing your faith in a pew surrounded by fellow believers, or will it be harder? The real world is harsh and your faith will be tested. This is what your pastor has been preaching about all your life, it is time to test your faith.
Months and even years can go by of running mile after mile, day after day. For most athletes, conference is the biggest meet of the year, the chance to qualify to extend the season and show their hard work has been worth it. Any runner can brag about splits in workouts, but it's what happens in the race that counts. All those miles come down to just one race.
The professor does not see a test as punishment, but instead a reward for growth, proof that the students are learning and ready for bigger things.
As much as a pastor enjoys being with his congregation, he will truly smile to see them out in the world spreading the good news in the midst of adversity.
A coach knows that it is in the race that his runners will either succeed and reach their goals, or if not, that they will learn from falling short.
1 Peter 1: 6-7
6 In all this you greatly rejoice,though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. 7 These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.
It's easy to brag about how smart we are, but until we are tested we really do not know our potential. If at the first chance of temptation you cave to peer pressure, how strong is your faith? One can lead every workout, but until the athlete leads his team in a race, what has he accomplished? The journey will not always be easy, but it's not supposed to be easy. Throughout the Bible, God tests his followers again and again. Before moving forward one must first be tested and pass. Stop looking for cheat sheets, short cuts, other Christians to lead you, or excuses for a bad race. When you fail, you will grow and be more prepared to take the test again, and when you succeed the hard work and failures will be worth it.