“I’ve read the entire driver’s manual!  I know everything there is to know ABOUT driving.  Now all I need to learn is HOW to drive!”

I laughed as my almost-16 year old son went on to describe all that he knew about driving yet how much he still had to learn about how to driveHe had the knowledge; he needed the experience.  We went on to discuss how that parallels life and even our walks with the Lord:  I can know what the Bible says and yet not truly have experienced its power or promises for myself.  

In considering what often caused me to go from knowing the Bible to experiencing the Bible, from knowing God to experiencing Him, I realized the catalyst was often the very thing I would have preferred to avoid: trials.  In fact, the catalyst often felt like a crisis.  The change often came from a challenge.

I knew 2 Corinthians 1:3, which states He is the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort.  But I did not know Him as my Comforter until I went through a devastating loss and needed comforting.  

I knew He promised that His grace would be sufficient and that His power would be made perfect in weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9).  But I did not experience His power perfected in me until I was truly weak and had no strength left in myself.

I knew He was my Shepherd and like David, I shall not want (Psalm 23:1).  But I did not know the satisfaction that He could bring until disappointment piled upon disappointment.

The same is true for knowing Him as Provider, Restorer, Miracle Worker, and so much more: yes, the trials, crisis, and challenges of every day life served, and continue to serve, as my “driving school.”  They are the opportunities to experience what previously I only knew.  We could call them “divine disturbances” or as Spurgeon called them, “sanctified trials.”  

The next time we are met with such disturbances of soul or with the trials of life, may we dig deep into the Scriptures and what we know to be true about our God, asking Him to reveal Himself more to us.  He will surely prove Himself to be faithful and true to His Word.  

Describing David’s words found in Psalm 31:2-4, it has been said: “Be what Thou art; manifest Thyself in act to be what Thou art in nature: be what I, Thy poor servant, have taken Thee to be. My heart has clasped Thy revelation of Thyself and fled to this strong tower” (Maclaren).  

In other words, “‘You are…then be…,’ should be the prayer of every Christian” (Boice).

May we not shun the opportunities (though they often come in unwelcome and undesirable packages) that invite us to make this our prayer: Lord, You are _________.  Then be ___________.   They are, indeed, the “driving school” of our faith.

{The next time you would like a reminder of this truth in order to pray over or journal with, consider printing and personalizing this “You are / Then be” page, found here.} 

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