“Tried and Found Wanting”
“For you, O God, have tested us; you have tried us as silver is tried.” – Psalm 66:10
I’ve noticed that many of the people I follow on Twitter describe themselves as “Jesus Follower.” I’m guessing they think this is more personal and less institutional than just labeling themselves “Christian.” Some of them seem aware of the bold audacity of their claim, and modify “Jesus Follower” with something self-deprecating such as “I’m not very good at it.”
I have tried to be a Jesus follower most of my life, so my profile could well be “trying to be a Jesus follower.” I’m not very good at it! G. K. Chesterton famously observed, “Christianity has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and not tried.”
As I get older it seems to me that faith is less about what I try to do, and more about what God is trying to do with me.
In our text for today the Psalmist employs the word “try” in a different way, to describe the testing through which God has put Israel. The metaphor is from the smelting process used to tease precious metal out of rocky ore. The Psalmist says God has tried God’s people with tests that have deepened their faith and dependence on God.
In much the same way God tries and tests all of us Jesus followers, as we go about our business in the world. If too often we have tried to follow Jesus and been found to be not very good at it, still God never withdraws the divine love and mercy from us. And for that we can give thanks!
Keep trying us, God, as we keep trying to follow Jesus.
Richard L. Floyd is Pastor Emeritus of First Church of Christ (UCC) in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. A writer and author, his most recent publications are Romans, Parts 1 and 2 (with Michael S. Bennett), new titles in the “Listen Up!” Bible Study Series. He blogs at richardlfloyd.com.