The story of God’s test begins with four Egyptian boys.
The four boys had gathered in the grand courtyard of Pharaoh (that’s right, the ruler of all Egypt). He had gathered the boys together for one specific task: to produce a beautiful flower from the seeds he would provide them.
The one who could provide the biggest, most beautiful flower would be chosen as his heir. The task sounded easy enough. Pharaoh handed each of them their seeds and sent them on their way until the appointed time.
There is one boy in particular that deserves special attention.
The boy does not have a name, but he is remarkable. In fact, by luck of the straw, he is a talented gardener. He has grown up learning from his father and grandfather the way of the crops, and has tended to the family garden with his mother.
However, something had gone terribly wrong. Weeks had passed and the boy had done everything he knew to do to produce flowers from the seed Pharaoh had given him. He watered them daily, he gave them an appropriate amount of sun, yet despite his best efforts nothing had grown. Not even a stem.
The day finally approached for the four boys to gather again in Pharaoh’s grand courtyard. The three other boys toted in their pots. To our boys shock, the others had produced magnificent flowers of all types of shapes and colors. These were some of the most outstanding flowers our boy had ever seen.
When it came time to present, the three other boys went ahead, showing off to Pharaoh their extravagant flora. When it came his time, our boy dragged his feet to the front with empty pot clutched in his hands. There was a long pause.
The boy finally looks up to see a smile on Pharaoh’s face. “Congratulations,” he says, “you are now my heir.
It is then that the four Egyptian boys are informed that the seeds provided by Pharaoh were poisoned and unable to produce. The test was not in the product, but in the integrity of the gardener.
A fun story that reminds us of God’s intentions for us.
God is not interested in what we can produce. God is not interested in what we can “bring” to the table. God is not interested in our polished, finished product. God is interested in our transformation.
This is God’s test. (and please don’t get too caught up on the word “test.” Perhaps think of it like testing metal; you are exposing what it actually is.)
This has always been God’s test.
Cain and Abel.
Abraham and Sarah.
Jesus and the wilderness (with Satan).
The thing that moves God is our willingness to surrender everything. Regrettably, we exhaust our wisdom to push God’s agenda and attempt to bring about what we believe God seeks.
Consider the story of Abraham and Sarah. God had promised them, even in their old age, He would provide them with a child. Years passed, Abraham and Sarah grew impatient waiting on God to fulfill His promise. Therefore, they took matters into their own hands; they committed herndeous deeds to beget a child. Instead of surrendering themselves to God, they seized His will through their own voilition.
God wants to give you eternal life. God wants to give you his kingdom (like Pharaoh in the story above), but do not seize it on your own terms. The Bible is riddled with examples of people refusing to surrender; these are examples of failing God’s test.
However, we do not need these stories to understand this reality. We go through it everyday. Spend a moment reflecting on these questions:
How do you seek happiness?
How do you seek fulfillment?
How do you seek purpose?
God cares about all these things. God cares about your transformation. God cares about your integrity. God cares about your renewal. God cares about you.
That’s the test.