Some Tests Can Bring a Person to Tears

Ed, my neighbor next door, was full of questions last week. He wanted to know why I wasn’t using, my snow blower rather than shoveling the snow. I told him that my snow blower needs a repair and won’t work until I fix it. My neighbor’s observation was that it was stupid to have a broken snow blower in the garage when it is now regularly snowing. I was to see that this was not nearly as important to Ed as me bringing a bunch of books into our house. That caused Ed to come over in panic on the pretext of needing coffee. “You haven’t changed your mind about moving have you?” he asked with anguish. Ed had seen me carrying books out of our house, as I have been donating books since our house went up for sale. Ed was a little calmer when he heard I was doing a college writing course online, and the books were reference reading. I have heard that men will cry in their beer, but when Ed heard that we had rejected a couple of offers to buy our house, he seemed to be crying in his coffee.

He claimed it was a little speck of something in his eye. I suggested that maybe Ed needed to pray in earnest that we would get an offer on our house we could accept. I then added that the only other answer was for him to buy our house, and rent it out. Then he would have his pick of neighbors next door. That brought a faint smile to his teary eyes.

I asked Ed if he realized that he was being tested in regards to the sale of our house. There are never easy solutions to sticky problems. Ed would love to see us move, but not at the cost of him buying our house to get rid of us. Mostly, we want answers that cost us nothing. The message of the church Season of Lent focuses on the cost of our sin. God was willing to sacrifice his only Son for sinners. God provided forgiveness for sinners through the sinless life and sacrificial death of Jesus his Son on the cross. It was a test of 100% obedience.

In the Old Testament, Abraham was tested by God when he was told to take his son Isaac, and sacrifice him as a burnt offering on a mountain. It was an immense test of Abraham’s obedience and trust in God.  He trusted God to provide an answer to his severe test. Abraham was willing to slay his son Isaac, but God prevented Abraham from doing so, and provided a ram for the sacrifice. Abraham’s test was a glimpse of what would take place at Calvary. Since Adam and Eve, all people have been stuck in sin. We see sin in others but deny it in ourselves. God acted to undo sin’s eternal punishment. He gave His own Son as the needed sacrifice.  Jesus’ earthly test was to obey His Father in heaven, by willingly laying down his life as an offering for sinners. He sacrificed himself so that God His Father could provide a pardon for all sin once and for all time.

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