The speedometer read 40 miles per hour. I sat white-knuckled behind the wheel, flying through the empty school parking lot, my heart pumping faster than a techno dance beat. It was my first driving lesson with my dad. I was merely following his instructions to give it some gas, but the faster the car sped, the more nervous I became.

“Now break hard,” he commanded.

woman driving

My foot slammed on the break. The wheels locked-up and the Buick sedan screeched to a halt. The seatbelt bit into my shoulder, and my head jerked forward then back. This was not how a lesson was supposed to go. A young driver is supposed to ease the car into drive, maneuver some cautious turns, and crawl to a stop. I’d done something wrong. This felt like a test—one that I failed. I eyed my dad and waited for an angry reaction.

“Feel that?” He adjusted his seatbelt. “We were only going forty. On the highway, you’ll be going nearly twice that.” His voice remained surprisingly calm. “Now, you know why you leave a good stopping distance.”

Stopping short had been a test, but at the same time, also a lesson. To this day, I still leave a fair amount of stopping distance between myself and the next vehicle. If my dad prepared me for his test, then the experience of a one and a half-ton vehicle going from a high velocity to a dead stop wouldn’t forever be etched in my brain. Today if I brake hard, it’s not a big deal because I’ve grown accustomed to my car and confident in my driving. The test was impactful because of insecurities and lack of familiarity.

Often, God gives us the test before the lesson.

woman walking into fog

We tend to expect a detailed plan. We want God to chunk down his vision into small digestible bites so that we can grow comfortable before we take a step of faith. But God knows we’re more dependent  on Him when we’re stepping out into the unfamiliar. Our ears listen intently for His voice and direction when we’re wandering into unknown territory. He’ll use the opportunity to embed a deeper faith into our hearts.

Venturing out in faith can be a test. No one’s saying it’s easy. However, tests can make the best testimonies.

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