Loud and Clear

“Can you hear me now?” It was the “the Verizon guy’s” advertising tagline as he crisscrossed the country to test the company’s network coverage. Seemingly every square yard or so, he would stop and ask his unseen correspondent if he could be heard. Verizon at the time could not engage in a price war with its more well-heeled competitors, so it devoted itself to connectivity and launched this highly successful ad campaign. Its market share took off and the telecommunications conglomerate soared.

There are moments and seasons in life when we are the ones being tested and tried. At times, it seems our signal with God is weak, or that we have lost connection altogether. “Hello? Hello? You’re breaking up!” or so it seems to us. We question our faith; we question God’s faithfulness. We feel out of touch, and we despair. “Can you hear me now, God? I can’t hear you. Please don’t hang up.” In these times, however, God truly is with us and very much at work in us, using the challenges of a fallen world to test our faith and commanding them ultimately to work for our own good. For testing reveals that which is going well and exposes that which is not; trials show us where we are safe and alert us to where we are exposed. Then with clearer understanding, we savor God’s correction, embrace His ways and seek His guidance. As King David penned to lyrics: “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”1

It was James, the brother of Jesus, who instructed the early church, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”2 The apostle went on to add, “Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.”3 God never neglects us in our testing or abandons us in our trials; He sees us through them and ultimately removes us from them—stronger, wiser, humbler. Our spirits soar. “Can you hear me now?” “Yes, Lord, we hear you, loud and clear. Thank You.”

For you, God, tested us; you refined us like silver. —Psalm 66:10

Father, hard lessons are the best lessons, the ones that stick. So we thank You for testing and trials; though they are never fun, they are always helpful and, in the end, gratifying. So have Your way in us. In Christ we pray. Amen.

1 Psalm 139:23-24
2 James 1:2-4
3 James 1:12

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