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                           Don't panic! This is only a test


"My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete lacking nothing."  

James 1:2-4


Hard times in life, we all go through them. Why do they happen? I'm learning that God is bigger than any of my problems. He's always there and He always loves me and wants to help me take something negative in my life and use it to do something really good in the end.


He uses these challenges or trials to test my faith so I can become even closer to Him and be stronger than I was before.


That's right. Trials can be "tests" used by God to bring about His divine purpose for our lives. Now, let's be very clear: God doesn't cause every trial, but He will use them in our life to draw us closer to Him and to help us become all He has created us to be in Christ.


James 1:12 says: "Blessed is the man who is patient under trial and stands up under temptation." We might ask, can I really be blessed through this trial? Believe it or not--no matter how big or how small the test or trial--we can be blessed. But first there are seven words that will help us keep the right perspective and see the blessing through the trial.


                      Don't panic! This is only a test.


These words remind us that God is working behind the scenes on our behalf in every situation. For example.


In July of 2003, as Sally and I were having lunch in our log home, I noticed a smoke stream coming right over our house. The Wedge Canyon Forest Fire had broken out and the live embers of a roaring fire were falling down on us like snow.  We were trapped in a situation in which we felt completely powerless. Not one of us is immune to the assaults of the devil or the trials of life. But God was saying, "Don't panic! This is only a test." The devil was telling me that God would desert me and God was saying this trial by fire was a test of my faith. Would I trust that God was bigger than the events of my present trial and would I rest in Him knowing that He is sovereign over all?


This trial turned out to be a real blessing. Sometimes God orchestrates events like this in our lives so He can actually make our lives better and also He be glorified through the process. It is often through tests and trials that God will teach us, heal us, guide us and bless us. I'm not just making this up--it's right in the Scripture! "When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, nor shall the flame scorch you. For I am the Lord your God, the holy one of Israel, your Savior." Isaiah 43:2-3


You see, faith is developed when we look past our problem and focus on our Provider! We need to believe that God is on our side today. That means we can stop focusing on our problem and begin to focus on our Protector. If we'll LOOK to Him, we can find peace in the midst of our trial. God assured us that if we didn't give way to unbelief, He would protect us. That's just exactly what happened, He protected us. The fire came roaring down on our property with 35 mph winds. Flames were 50 to 100 feet over the top of the trees. The Fire Chief came in with his hot shot fire crew, fire trucks and water tankers. Helicopters were flying over the top of our property preparing to drop their load of water. When all seemed helpless, that's when God said this far and no farther. The fire chief said it was as though God put the cleft of His hand around our property and the fire went over the top of us and around the sides of us. The fire crew did not have to lift one hand, nor one ounce of water to spare our property. Praise God!


The entire story of the fire is one endless tale of divine intervention. You can read all about it in my book, " Come, to the Quiet." There are 5 chapters dedicated to it. After over 63 years of living, I've learned that the seven words--Don't panic! This is only a test, can be the key to having the proper perspective and a victorious attitude. No matter what you are going through right now, trial by fire, trial by health, trial by finances, trial by friends, church or employment, God wants to stretch you. He wants to prepare you for His plans for your life, which are bigger than you can imagine.


So if you're being stretched right now, don't despair and don't give up. Keep encouraging yourself by focusing on your Protector--Provider and reminding yourself, Don't panic! This is only a test. He will give you the grace to get through your test and trials victoriously. Keep remembering, that God is working out all things in your life to good. Romans 8:28. "He will never leave you nor forsake you. So we may boldly say: The Lord is my helper; I will not fear what man can do to me." Hebrews 13:5-6. As you put your trust in Him, he will always help you get through the test and trials in your life and do something great in you through them.


With this attitude, freedom is yours!


Learning to live worry free,


            Jim & Sally  

Sally Hohnberger
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