The sign I wrote about in Meditation 515 was recently updated.
GOD TRIES OUR FAITH
SO THAT WE MAY TRY
When I criticize these church signs, I generally try to understand the intention of the message before I put my own spin on it. This time, I don't have a clue. I don't understand what this sign is trying to convey.
Oh, I understand the first part all right. Troubles and tragedies experienced by believers are considered tests set by God to try their faith. When we non-believers get the same troubles and tragedies, supposedly they are punishments sent by God. For some obscure reason, there is no discernible difference between believer's tests and non-believer's punishments.
But what does the second part mean?
I did a web search on the sentence - it seems to be a marginally popular unattributed quotation in religious quotation web pages - but I did not find a relevant commentary.
How are we supposed to "try His faithfulness?" "Try" seems ambiguous here. Are we supposed to be sampling God's faithfulness? Or are we supposed to be testing God in the same way he is testing us? But we are not supposed to test God - or so they claim whenever another double-blind study on the power of prayer shows prayer has no significant effect.
All the quotation brings to mind for me is an unflattering analogy.
Remember the "cool" clique in high school? And this self-selected group might graciously allow one or two of the other slightly less cool kids to hang around the periphery and bathe in their aura. The cost of being allowed to hang around was to be the butt of jokes and the recipient of mean tricks. And if the hangers-on did not complain, trusting that the clique would accept them as full members at some distant undetermined future time, they were allowed to continue to hang on the periphery and accept more mean tricks.
That seems quite apt to me.
An alternative explanation from a believer is welcome.