Ann Farabee: Those tests
This is a test. This is only a test. If you remember hearing those words interrupt your program on TV, you most likely knew to cover your ears, because a loud noise was soon to follow. Yes, it was a test of the Emergency Broadcast System.
Testing… testing. The word does not bring joy to the heart. No one cheerfully says, “I’m having some tests done,” or “I have a test tomorrow.”
This time of year seems a little ‘testy’ for some. ‘Testy’ means there may be some irritation, impatience, or bad-tempers. (None of us, of course, but some may show signs of testiness.)
That could be a result of testing time! It is the one tiny little barrier standing between the end of school and summer break – THE TEST!
For many, the test is called the EOG. It stands for End-of-Grade, but occasionally feels more like End-of-Game, because ‘play time’ is definitely over.
Students have been learning at school all year, and that learning has included ongoing test prep. The pressure begins to appear. Fun notes are given to them with comments like, “I know you will do ‘berry’ well on the test!” with a pack of fruit snacks attached, or perhaps, “You are so sharp!” with a pencil attached, as a means of encouragement.
TEST DAY arrives! The atmosphere changes. Seriousness abounds. Classroom doors that were always open are now closed to allow for total concentration. Desks that were placed in groups to allow ‘working together’ have now been separated. The phrase ‘quiet as a mouse’ overtakes the school. Testing begins.
Time crawls for some and speeds by for others. Students glance at the clock with the ‘deer in headlights’ look, and then look toward their teacher – for strength and reassurance that all is well. Test days may be difficult, but also end up being days that teachers feel so very proud of their students – because they withstood the test! They faced the challenge. They showed courage. They showed character. They showed commitment.
Then, results come in. Some pass. Some do not. Some pass some. Some pass none. They are then given additional results that are an important factor, but often overlooked – how much growth the students showed since last year’s test.
This seems similar to some of the tests we go through in life, doesn’t it?
And… I do mean THROUGH!
• We spend time in test prep, which is sometimes enjoyable, and sometimes – well – unpleasant.
• We receive encouragement from others as we head into the test.
• The test begins…
• During the test, some doors close. It can get a little too quiet at times. We may be surrounded by others, but yet feel we are separated and going through the test alone.
We can look up and see that our ‘teacher’ is still there to strengthen and reassure us.
We may pass the test – and we may not. But… the tests sure do show growth.
I like what A.W. Tozer said, “God never uses anyone greatly until He tests them deeply.”
We WILL go through times of testing in our lives, but God gives us calm assurance in verses like Philippians 4:13 – I can do ALL things THROUGH Christ who strengthens me.
I like that ALL means ALL.
I like that THROUGH means from one side to the other.
As we send our children off to school to take that ‘test,’ just think about our great love for them – a love that no test results could ever change in any way, shape, or form.
It is incomprehensible that our love for our children totally pales in comparison to God’s love for us.
Perhaps that should help us to accept that it may be all right with our Heavenly Father if we do not pass every single test that comes our way.
Remember – it’s a test. It’s only a test.
And God loves us just the way we are – perfectly imperfect.
Ann is a speaker and teacher. Contact her at email@example.com or annfarabee.com