Testing

German Cockroach Insect Pest Blattella Germanica

The Roach Mobile Home

Our Praise

Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

Hebrews 4:16

God is good to His children. Good beyond what we can understand or fully grasp. His love is active love. He is constantly at work in everything. By faith, the Spirit of Truth leads us into the unknown. We enter by the name of a Man we’ve not seen, whose greatness we cannot comprehend, to do a work that is not ours, by abilities we don’t possess, so our Father may glorify His One and Only Son.

I want to share an experience my family and I had when we were preparing to minister through foreign missions. I hope that you find encouragement from our amazing God, the God that did the impossible for us.

The Roach Mobile Home

Because of a delay in our departure to Romania, my family and I were thrown into a difficult time when we were homeless and without an income. Living in Florida, we rented a cockroach-infested mobile home by the week. While amid this filth, the Holy Spirit “fell upon me” and gave me a promise. Here is what I understood from God:

“There are some situations that are delaying your departure. I am fixing those. While I do, I am picking you and your family up and putting you in a new place, a safe place. It will feel like a vacation. It will be a good place for you. You will have an income. You will know when to leave and go to Romania.”

Our Deliverance

That day I called a man I’d worked for. He immediately offered me a software development contract. We drove to Tampa and found an apartment in a large complex near where I’d be working.

Our life there was a vacation. We had a swimming pool close to where we lived, lots of open, green spaces for the kids to play, an income, and more. It was a joyful time. Only later did we learn that the previous occupant of our apartment had been a dope dealer. However, during the whole time we lived there, a spirit of peace covered the apartment complex. God changed the nature of an entire apartment complex just for us!

Our time there was safe, but the complex became rough again at the end of our stay. Police cars were coming at all hours of the day and night. But it was time for us to go. God had opened the door for our foreign missions adventure!

Our Praise

Indeed, God had picked us up from a terrible situation and sat us in a place of rest while He cleared the way for us. This was the beginning of a phrase our family continues to use today: “Every delay is a good delay.”

God is amazingly good to us. He sees us and knows when we are genuinely in need. He makes a way where there is no way. How can we not trust Him and find our joy in Him? Praise be to the God that saves completely!

Amen!

Click if you want to know the gory details and God’s great blessing. ⤵️

Why We Were Homeless

When my family and I prepared to move to Romania to be missionaries, we were given a date when we would move. We sold nearly everything we had, and I quit my job. Then our departure schedule got pushed back. Suddenly, we found ourselves with no income, no departure date, and no place to live.

Our wandering

At first, we found a small motel we called home, but the cost wasn’t sustainable. Then, a local missionary family (and friends) opened their home to us, but our delay continued. Finally, we found a mobile home to rent. We paid by the week, and the mobile home park was filled with the dregs of society.

Our mobile home was full of cockroaches! We had to keep our eating utensils in plastic bags as well as plates and cups. We were greatly concerned for our kids. We never left them alone or allowed them to play outside our trailer. Instead, we took our kids to a public park. We had rented a house already occupied by an army of critters. To this day, we still refer to it as the “roach motel.”

God’s Love

At this point, we were beginning to worry. We had budgeted and saved for life in Romania. Most Romanians lived on the equivalent of $50 a month at that time. We budgeted for $500/month but were stuck in America, where $500 didn’t go very far. Our savings were rapidly shrinking.

One night, as we sat on a filthy couch and watched the cockroaches climbing the walls in the kitchen, the Holy Spirit suddenly fell on me. I don’t want to mess with your theology, but I have no other way to explain it. I stood up, looked around at the disgusting conditions, and spoke what the Holy Spirit communicated to me. Here is what I understood from the Holy Spirit:

“There are some situations that are delaying your departure. I am fixing those. While I do, I am picking you and your family up and putting you in a new place, a safe place. It will feel like a vacation. It will be a good place for you. You will have an income. You will know when to leave and go to Romania.”

Deliverance

My wife and I thanked God and rejoiced. I thought I should call a guy I’d worked for in the past. I called him, and he immediately offered me a software development contract. Within days, we moved to Tampa, Florida.

We found an apartment in a complex in the city, close to where I would be working. We were confident that it was the right place for us. It was summertime, and a swimming pool was within 50’ of our apartment. There were plenty of green spaces for our kids to play in, and we felt safe. I met some other people I’d worked with when I started work. It was great.

We lived there for probably six months. The whole time it felt like we were on vacation. Then the door opened for us to move to Romania. At the same time, domestic problems in the complex began happening. The police were constantly coming to the complex. We learned that the previous occupant of our apartment had been a dope dealer.

Our Departure

We packed our suitcases and moved to Romania. God was so good to us. He made a way for us where there was no way. He pulled us out of a terrible place and put us in place with a long history of not being safe, but He made it safe. It was safe the whole time we lived there. He gave us safety, an income, and a place to regroup. Then, at precisely the right time, He opened the door and moved us.

The Two Lessons We Learned

My family and I learned two critical lessons from this experience. Sometimes, God tests us for our good. We learned that we were “all in” for Jesus. And we learned that God would do astonishing things, like change the conditions of a large apartment complex, for us when we remain in His will.


Image by Erik Karits from Pixabay


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Tested by God

My wife and I enjoy watching British Mystery tv shows. We like the “foreign but familiar” aspect of them. All of them are birthed from the same template. There is always someone that is a respected DI (detective inspector), a team player, but due to the crime, they struggle with leading their team without violating their oath to the crown. The crime puts the DI to the test, but they (almost) always come out successful and honorable.

Tested by God

We know that, from time to time, God tests us. In today’s passage of Scripture, we see the word “tested.” This word means “to test, to investigate.” Like in tv shows, God assigns us to difficult cases, ones that test our moral fiber and faithful obedience while facing insurmountable odds.

10 For you, O God, have tested us;
you have tried us as silver is tried

12 you let men ride over our heads;
we went through fire and through water;
yet you have brought us out to a place of abundance.

Psalms 66:10,12

Tested by God for Our Good

Unlike imaginary tv shows, God’s tests are real and they often tear at our faith as God investigates whether we have true faith or cheap imitations. God investigates us, not for His knowledge, but for ours. His love for us is a motive for His tests. He wants us to know if we are obedient to Him in spite of suffering and loss. Will we be like Jesus or fall back into worldliness? We need to know us.

Good News

A refiner puts silver into immense heat, causing the impurities to leave the silver and flow to the top. There the refiner removes the dross. So, God’s tests often put us into a metaphorical fire. His testing places us under immense fire to bring out our impurities that need to be removed. In the end, if we pass God’s test, He brings us out to a place of abundance. God is so good to us, and that’s good news!

Image by Shutterbug75 from Pixabay


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Failing the test

An old preacher told me many years ago that the test of God does not take place when you’re on the mountain top. It happens when you come down. How right those words are. I have personally experienced this as have so many other Christians both my contemporaries and those recorded in the Bible.

It’s when we’ve had the blessing of God upon us, and we feel strong. That opens a chance for God’s enemy to strike at us. And, there are times when God allows us to be tested for our benefit. If we believe our strength is ours by possession or by some individual channel to God that has come from this mountaintop experience, we will fail. For God’s highest gift from a mountaintop experience is humility.

Jesus, our Lord, humbled Himself and we are not higher than Him. Likewise, when we spiritually come down from the mountain, we must remind ourselves to trust God and not our natural skills. We will struggle during our testing, but we must not fail. We see Hezekiah fail his test after God’s mighty victory over his enemy. Notice what it says in 2 Chronicles 32:30-31, “…He succeeded in everything he undertook. But when envoys were sent by the rulers of Babylon to ask him about the miraculous sign that had occurred in the land, God left him to test him and to know everything that was in his heart.

First, the king had great blessings, including a life-saving miracle, but pride entered into Hezekiah’s heart, and the Lord was not pleased with Hezekiah (2 Chronicles 32:24-25). Notice Hezekiah’s test came right after his mountaintop experience.

We pray for God to touch us, to intervene in our lives, yes, even for miracles, but are we able to stand the test after our time with God on the mountaintop? We must be on guard when God does take us to a special time of prayer, fellowship and miraculous acts. These can easily puff us up. When God’s test comes, let’s pass with flying colors!

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