“Do not bring us to hard testing, but keep us safe from the Evil One.” [Matthew 6:13]
DO NOT BRING US TO HARD TESTING
Testing is a reality in Scripture, beginning with Adam and Eve. Even Jesus was tested. Immediately after his baptism, the Spirit led Jesus into the desert to be tempted by the Devil. (Matt 4:1) During this time of hard testing, Satan tempted Jesus with everything from food to power. Jesus defeated Satan with the first commandment: Then Jesus answered, “Go away, Satan! The scripture says, ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve only him!’” Then the Devil left Jesus; and angels came and helped him. [Matt 4:10-11]
KEEP US SAFE FROM THE EVIL
In his letter to the Ephesians, the Apostle Paul wrote about how Christians should live. He concluded with instructions for how Christians can keep safe from the Evil One: “So put on God’s armor now! Then when the evil day comes, you will be able to resist the enemy’s attacks; and after fighting to the end, you will still hold your ground. So stand ready,
- with truth as a belt tight around your waist,
- with righteousness as your breastplate,
- and as your shoes the readiness to announce the Good News of peace.
- At all times carry faith as a shield; for with it you will be able to put out all the burning arrows shot by the Evil One.
- And accept salvation as a helmet,
- and the word of God as the sword which the Spirit gives you.
WHEN TESTING COMES
Testing often comes when we are at our weakest: Jesus had been fasting for forty days when Satan came to test him. Paul was in prison when he wrote about testing. The prophet Elijah went through a period of testing after he was exhausted by a battle with the prophets of Baal.
I went through a time of testing when I faced divorce and a custody battle. Over a period of almost two years, I prayed the whole armor of God daily. At the end, I lost everything. I was bankrupt financially, physically, and emotionally. The day I received the judge’s final ruling against me in the mail, I lay on the floor, too drained to even get in bed. I didn’t understand why God allowed this result.
After fighting to the end, I wasn’t able to hold my ground. I even couldn’t pray. All I wanted was to die. But God kept me safe from the Evil One. Like Elijah*, I heard a soft whisper I knew was God. I still didn’t understand, but I couldn’t escape that Love. I got up off the floor. The testing wasn’t over. For a long time I was tempted by hatred, despair, and fury at God, but always I heard that whisper of Love. I emerged from that difficult time a changed person with a different understanding of faith.
*After the earthquake there was a fire—but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire there was the soft whisper of a voice”. [I Kings 19:12]
When have you been tested? How were you protected you from the Evil One? Did the testing change you?
Our Father in Heaven, keep us safe from the Evil One today.