It’s Sunday. That would make this post SUNDAY SABBATH STUDY.

“LIFE IS A CLASSROOM – NOT A TEST. One of the great struggles of religious thought is the belief that mortal life is a pass/fail test that determines whether we are good enough to go to heaven.”

Brooke goes on to preach that nowhere in ancient scriptures is the word “test” used. Rather, we find the word “prove”.

And then she offers us Webster’s definition of “prove”: archaic: to learn or find out by experience.

Well, that very much changes the meaning of God’s revelation to Abraham:

“We will go down, for there is space there, and we will take of these materials, and we will make an earth whereon these (souls) may dwell; And we will prove them herewith, to see if they will do all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command.”

Abraham 3:24-25

Rather than “testing” the souls He sent to earth, He is sending us to dwell here, where we have a chance to “learn or find out by experience”. That makes so much sense! Our experience on earth is not a pass/fail test. Rather, we are given the opportunity to learn for ourselves, from experience – the positive experiences and the negative experiences.

“The false image of God includes a characterization of a being who expects flawless perfection, who is disappointed in your weaknesses, disapproves of you, teaches through pain, suffering, and punishment, is far away, is critical, is always finding fault, condemns, believes you are never good enough for Him, and withholds forgiveness and love until you comply perfectly with His expectations.”

I’d never adopted, in its entirety, that false image of God. I only remember my parents teaching me of a loving God. The God I love and worship is the same God who, even when Jonah was sinning, angry, unresponsive, dishonest, disloyal, judgmental, shortsighted, and unforgiving, prepared “a gourd, and made it to come up over Jonah, that it might be a shadow over his head, to deliver him from his grief” (Jonah 4:6).

Over and over again in my life, the Lord has not condemned me for being every one of those same things – angry, unresponsive, disloyal, judgmental, etc – but rather He has protected me, shaded me, and “delivered (me) from (my grief)”. He does not condone this behavior. But He has many times over given me a safe place to work on my myself, repent, and learn from my mistakes. He has shaded me, lovingly and patiently.

“Jesus Christ turned the purpose of life from a test, into a classroom.”

When I was sixteen, our Bishop, Bishop Johns, asked me in a conversation one evening about my feelings for Jesus Christ. I remember choking up. I remember it well because it surprised me that I was choking up.

Christ is, most literally, my Savior. I knew that then. And, if possible, I know it even more surely now. And am grateful to tears for His tutelage and for His mercy.


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