"Life is not a game. It's a test"

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March 10, 2014

DD January Monday

"Life is not a game. It's a test" 
Richard L. Floyd

"Because (Jesus) himself was tested by what he suffered, he is able to help those who are being tested." - Hebrews 2:18

I grew up in a family that loved board games. Scrabble was popular in our house, and Monopoly and Clue. My mother, the librarian and avid mystery fiction reader, was killer at Clue. I would still be organizing my thoughts on the little clue sheet when she would correctly guess who the murderer was, in which room, with the right murder weapon.  

When my own children were little we also played board games, first Candy Land and, as they got older, Risk. Then there were the video games.  

We were all tempted to think of life as a game, a series of challenges to be mastered and problems to be solved. That is how much of the world still sees life.

But I think a more accurate metaphor for life is "a test." On our faith journey we face constant tests, tests of character and courage, tests of faith, hope and love.

I look back on my life so far and see some tests I have met well and some I have failed at miserably. I know that God's unconditional love for us means my relationship with God does not depend on passing all the tests.

At the same time I know from the Bible that tests accompany critical times of vocation and identity. So I know they are important; unlike a game, there is no reset button, no "do over."

I take comfort that Jesus, who passed all the tests, knows what we go through, and "is able to help those who are being tested."

Lord Jesus, help us meet the tests that come to us in our life journey.

Richard L. Floyd is Pastor Emeritus of First Church of Christ (UCC) in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, and author of A Course In Basic Christianity. He blogs at richardlfloyd.com.

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