VERSE: You have tested us, O God; you have purified us like silver. PSALM 66:10

It's like a sandwich: Psalm 66 has substance between the slices, but it's not very pleasant. It begins and ends with praise, recounting God's great works in the past and trusting Him for answered prayer in the present. But in the meantime, He has allowed the people to be oppressed and taken captive. In other words, He has given them enormous contradictions to His goodness and His ultimate purpose for them.

But this is why we need to stretch! We need to stretch our faith so that it can encompass all of these things at once—so that our hearts can hold space for both suffering and joy. If we don't stretch ourselves if we don't grow beyond what we think we can handle right now—if we don't learn how to trust God when it seems like everything is falling apart under us—then how will we ever be prepared for what comes next?

God promises us good things and then allows evil. He promises to answer our prayers, and yet it seems that He remains silent. It is as if He is putting contradictions right in front of our faces.

The reason this happens, however, is because God wants us to live by faith—not by sight. God insists that we invest all of our affections and hopes in the unseen world and not the seen. Only when we do that are we ready for the manifestation of what was spoken.

So much of our lives is a waiting game. We wait in line, we wait for the bus, we wait for the results of a test or an interview. And then there's the waiting on God.

We pray and ask Him to meet us where we are, but it doesn't always seem like He does. It feels like He's making us wait too long for His answer. We can question His goodness and faithfulness in this relational dynamic with Him, but this is by design—our capacity for faith grows only by stretching.

If God has called us to great things, He stretches our faith a lot. He wants us to believe despite the contradictions and paradoxes that threaten to make it impossible to trust His voice above all other voices out there. And the only way to do that is to hear those other voices and still choose His.

How do you know if you're ready to hear God?

If you're still stretching yourself, if you're still growing, then you're ready.

When we can do that, we begin to hear God more often. He trusts us with His secrets and reveals His plans. He never removes the need for faith —we will always see and hear in part, not in full —but we see and hear more than before. Why? Because He has tested us, and we have passed.


Father, please help me understand Your ways and not mistrust You when circumstances seem to contradict You. You are always working out Your best purposes for me.

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