I attended a Sports Medicine conference this past weekend and I was reminded of the time I was doing an internship with an orthopedic surgeon during graduate school.
I had the opportunity to stand alongside this physician in the operating room…scrubs and all…and observe the repair of an Achilles tendon rupture.
For those of you not familiar with the Achilles tendon…it is the thick cord-like tendon that you can feel just behind your ankle…a few inches above your heel.
Pretty thick cord, huh? Well I have seen my share of this thick cord rupturing in both the athletic and non-athletic population…causing the person to no longer be able to walk. And unfortunately, surgery is inevitable.
When an Achilles tendon ruptures it actually looks quite frayed…just like the ends of a mop. Sorry I don’t mean to gross anyone out!
And so this is what I observed during this procedure. In this particular case, the surgeon first tried to repair the torn frayed ends of the tendon and re-attach them by suturing them together.
Once he completed this…he tested his repair. (FYI…the patient was still under anesthesia) He forced the ankle into a dorsi-flexed position which stretches and increases the tension of the Achilles tendon.
The surgeon tested the reliability…the trustworthiness…the strength of his repair.
And guess what? It failed! The repaired tendon did not hold together! It tore apart again!
So plan B was put into action and another tendon from the lower leg called the plantaris was removed and used to interweave throughout the frayed ends to repair the Achilles tendon.
After this 2nd repair attempt… the surgeon again tested the reliability…the trustworthiness…the strength of his repair…and guess what? It worked!
The physician was now confident that this repair would hold strong and allow the patient to eventually return to their sport and normal activity after rehabilitation.
If the physician did not test the integrity of his repair…he would not know whether it was reliable…He would not know whether it could be trusted…He would not know its strength.
Sounds a lot like our faith as Christians… doesn’t it?
Ok yeah…there are some parallels here…
In this analogy…there is a physician. As Christians…we know our God is the Great Physician… (not really my point here)
In this analogy…an Achilles tendon is tested. As Christians…our faith is tested. Hmmm…Did you hear that?
As Christians…our faith is tested…hands down…100%….whether we like it or not!
For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. James 1:3 NLT
Note: This verse says when…not if your faith is tested!
A good reminder! There is no getting around our faith being tested…just like some of us trying to get around taking a test in school while growing up!
Our faith is tested!
Where does your faith stand today? Is your faith tested today? What is testing your faith?
Are you stressed that you can’t pay your bills?
Are you shaken by a bad doctor’s report?
Are you facing challenges in a relationship…such as your marriage or with another loved one?
Are you tired and frustrated with parenting your children?
Are you overwhelmed with worry?
This list can certainly go on…
The question here…however…is not whether or not your faith is tested (because clearly it is!)
But the question you may have is…Why? Why is your faith tested?
The purpose of these troubles is to test your faith as fire tests how genuine gold is. Your faith is more precious than gold, and by passing the test, it gives praise, glory, and honor to God. This will happen when Jesus Christ appears again. 1 Peter 1:7 GWT
Because just as with anything in life…how do you know how reliable something is….how trustworthy something is …how strong something is…if it is not tested? …Just like the surgeon tested his Achilles tendon repair.
Untested faith is unreliable faith!
I am not quite sure who first coined this phrase…but such biblical preachers and teachers as Charles Stanley and Kay Warren have used this term in their teachings.
Perhaps their statements have stemmed from the well-known preacher and powerful author…Charles Spurgeon who said…
Untested faith may be true faith, but it is sure to be small faith…and it is likely to remain little as long as it is without trials.
Spurgeon goes on to say…
Tested faith brings experience. You could not have believed your own weakness if you had not been compelled to pass through the rivers; and you would never have known God’s strength if you had not been supported in the flood. Faith increases in quality, assurance, and intensity the more it is exercised with tribulation. Faith is precious, and its trial [test] is precious too.
What good is untested faith? Untested faith is unreliable faith! You can’t rely on it…you can’t trust it…you can’t depend on it.
How reliable is your faith today?
You won’t know until it is tested.
“Tested” is defined as “subjected to a means by which the presence, quality, or genuineness of anything is determined; subjected to a means of a trial.
Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well developed, not deficient in any way. James 1:2-4 MSG
When you are under pressure and your faith is tested…your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors.
Yeah probably not what any of us want to hear…But check out the scripture that comes right after! Our faith tested is a good thing…in order for our faith to grow!
So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well developed, not deficient in any way. James 1:3 MSG
Check out these other bible translations for James 1:3…
Because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. NIV For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. NLT For you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. ESV Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. KJB
Perseverance…Endurance…Patience…Steadfastness are all produced when our faith is tested. And as a result…our faith becomes reliable…trustworthy…and strong. Our faith grows!
When you find your faith being tested…turn to the Lord in whom your faith rests.
When you are stressed that you can’t pay your bills? Remember JEHOVAH-JIREH (Genesis 22:13-14)…meaning “The Lord will provide”
When you are shaken by a bad doctor’s report? Remember JEHOVAH-RAPHA (Exodus 15:26)…meaning “The Lord our healer”
When you are you facing challenges in a relationship…such as your marriage or with another loved one? Remember EL-SHADDAI (Genesis 17:1, Psalm 91:1)…meaning “The God of the mountains or God Almighty”
When you are tired and frustrated with parenting your children? Remember EL-ROI (Genesis 16:13)…meaning “The strong one who sees”
When you are overwhelmed with worry? Remember JEHOVAH-SHALOM (Judges 6:24)…meaning “The Lord is peace”
And most importantly remember…
Your faith is more precious than gold, and by passing the test, it gives praise, glory, and honor to God. 1 Peter 1:7
So when your faith is tested through your finances…health…relationships…loss of a loved one…or another life circumstance, is your faith reliable? …Will it hold together? …Or is it unreliable and fall apart like the first Achilles tendon repair the surgeon attempted?
When your faith is tested…will it pass the test? As 1 Peter 1:7 states…Will it pass the test and give praise, glory, and honor to God?
Untested faith is unreliable faith….BUT tested faith is reliable faith! And in the words of Charles Spurgeon…
Tested faith brings experience. Faith increases in quality, assurance, and intensity the more it is exercised with tribulation. Faith is precious, and its trial [test] is precious too.
- Where does your faith stand today? Is your faith tested today?
- What is testing your faith?
- What good is an untested faith? How reliable is your faith today?
- What is the produced when our faith is tested?
- What is the final result of our faith being tested?
- What should we do when our faith is tested?
- Determine if your faith is currently being tested…or reflect on a time when your faith seemed to be tested.
- Understand that the Bible says when our faith is tested…not if. Our faith will be tested!
- God allows our faith to be tested and challenged though life circumstances, in order for our faith to show reliability…trustworthiness…and strength.
- When our faith is tested, it grows stronger…it produces perseverance…endurance…patience…and steadfastness. The final result is reliable faith.
- When our faith is tested, turn to the Lord in whom your faith rests. Pray…spend time with Him to encourage you and help you get through the test. You will make it through!