Proverbs 27:21 -  The crucible is for silver and the furnace for gold, And each is tested by the praise accorded him.

Here in this proverb we see a powerful lesson on testing. There are certain environments that test us. Many things in this world have environments that test them. Silver has the fining pot. Gold has the furnace. And the man is tested by the praise of others. Testing is needed, and it is normative. Even our marriages have seasons of testing. I think sometimes the temptation is to hide the fact that in our marriages and in life in general, we get tested.

Testing reveals, exposes, and refines. It is actually a good thing to the person who is after what is truly authentic. Testing feels like the enemy, but it is actually the friend of what is true. I don’t know many who enjoy testing, but to the one who understands its purpose…it is a tremendous blessing. It is a blessing to perceive that you are being tested and to be able to respond with acceptance, knowing that the one administering the test is still in control. To be tested and to not know it can lead to panic. I thank God for times of testing, especially in marriage; even more so, to be tested and to be aware…in the midst of it.

The odd thing in this verse is that praise can be a test. Praise doesn’t feel like a test, but it is very much so a test. It is especially a test to the soul who craves affirmation and then he receives praise. Praise pulls out of you what is truly in you. Praise reveals the true desires of the heart. I have seen couples who pretend to have a marriage of perfection only to receive the praise and admiration of others. Those tend to become the marriages that truly fail the test.

May God give us lives and marriages that see testing as a good thing. May He give us an awareness of our tests in life so that we will respond accordingly. May we arise out of our test like gold refined by fire.
In Christ name,

by Marc Stern

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