Why Does “God” Test Us?
Recently in a forum of Metaphysical Ministers this question was posted.
“Does anyone in our group believe that God tests us, or tests the strength of our faith?”
The question isn’t an uncommon one. Nor is it one that is accepted on blind faith by Ministers. There are many answers and perspectives of course, because we all have a different way of looking at spiritual belief and practice. A Christian may say “Yes, God may test your faith and devotion of service to his teachings by placing challenges upon your path”. Unitarians might say “No, God doesn’t set up challenges to test our faith. But we set up problems in our lives to learn lessons”.
The wonderful Metaphysical Ministers within this group have similar perspectives to my first response. But when asked this question I have two perspectives to reply to this.
My First Response:
From a pagan perspective, we are the God/Goddess in our world. If there is testing being performed we are doing it to ourselves. Perhaps its karma that we are repaying to the Divine scale of balance. Perhaps its part of our spiritual mission and the lessons we face are ones we need to experience in order to advance our soul toward enlightenment. Or more likely, perhaps we created the challenges because we feel unworthy of what we would like to achieve in life or at this point in time in our life. As such, we allow our fears and trepidations to create blocks that we must knock down and move forward through to get to the next fork in the road when we will face new choices.
We all come to a cross road in life at one time or another. Those who are confident in their connection to the Divine and are able to perceive the choices before them from this higher view, have the ability to see what lies on the roads ahead. From this place of positive balance, they can identify the easy road where everything seems to fall into place and lays before them with ease.
But those of us who view the forks from a place that lacks confidence, or struggles with feelings of being unworthy, the lack of confidence in them self or their abilities, will feel pulled toward the path that is filled with pot holes to learn lessons of self worth, self love, Divine connection and spiritual balance.
It is our choice to pick which path we should take. Thus it’s our choice to create the tests that challenge our faith, or ourselves or both. It’s not God putting us through a test. It’s something we do to ourselves.
The second response takes this to a different philosophical level.
There is another perspective, but to put it in context you might want to read “We are the other people” by Oberon Zell.
In his story Oberon explains that the Abrahamic storytellers recant a tale of how the Universe was created. In its original story books (what we know as the Torah, or the Old Testaments) the Universe was created by the Elohim (Elohim is a plural word, including male and female, and should properly be translated as “Gods” or “Pantheon”; Genesis 1:26). Later in their story, they tell of a God named Yahweh who established his own little botanical garden and created his own servants to honor and worship him; Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden (Gen 2:7).
Throughout these Abrahamic tales, Yahweh seems to test his servants. Most often to test their loyalty to him as opposed to the Elohim as a whole. One of the first tests occurs in the Garden of Eden itself when Yahweh tells his servant Adam “(2:16): Then Yahweh gave the man this admonition, “You may eat indeed of all the trees in the garden. (2:17) Nevertheless of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you are not to eat, for on the day you eat of it you shall most surely die.”
To me (remember I’m pagan) this sounds like a very arrogant, self-serving and jealous God who doesn’t know all, or see all. But rather who insists on total devotion without thought or question. Who does punish, perhaps for his own amusement, out of hurtful feelings or because of anger that his words were not adhered to by the very letter.
In this context, when one asks “Does God test us?”, perhaps the first answer would be another question “Which God are you referring to”?
This has long been a question presented to non-Pagans from those who do not follow those Abrahamic beliefs. When you speak of “God” which God are you referring to? God is a job title, not a name. And which God you’re honoring is important in the scheme of things. Some are jealous, some are indeed fallible and few, if any, truly deserve our worship.
Not all Pagan traditions honor or worship a Pantheon group. Many, especially those that lean toward Shamanistic paths, see the Divine as an all encompassing existence. I am not the Goddess, you are not the God. But you and I, and all things, seen and unseen, throughout the Divine multi-verse and dimensions of space and time, make up what the Divine is.
If you allow yourself to be conscious of that Divine connection you have within you you can walk through your day with the Divine perspective.
Looking at the world before you from the perspective of the incarnated being who must wade through the weeds, we can easily miss the “why” this happens vs. that.
But when we are in balance as the physical being making the choice, who has the ability to rise above the trees and see the entire landscape before us with clarity, we develop the understanding and spiritual insight that answers the why before we even make the choice.
From this higher Divine perspective, you make little choices throughout your day, that are based on what your soul needs, instead of what your physical desire wants or your emotional fears say you cannot have or don’t deserve.
You can begin your day with that interconnected balance of Mind, Body, Spirit with a simple meditation to raise your consciousness to that higher level of Divine connection. If you forget to do it then, take 5-minutes at your desk at work, or on the porch in your backyard. It doesn’t matter where you are or what time of day or night it may be. The Divine Universe doesn’t have hours of operation. It’s always open. The important step is to try and build that balance of connection and see the why before the challenge occurs, when you can still make choices to walk the path that avoids the tests in the first place.
Try our 5 Minute Alignment Meditation (it’s free) for an example of how you can connect to that divine force in your life, when and where you need it.
© 2013 Springwolf, D.D., Ph.D. Springwolf Reflections / Springs Haven, LLC. All Rights Reserved.