OPINION: Testing, testing and more testing


We can all say that this has been the year of testing. Since the intrusion of COVID-19, all we hear about is testing, more cases and more deaths unfortunately. Since the beginning of this new normal, anytime I mentioned that I wasn't feeling well, my wife would immediately ask me whether I checked myself for fever.

We are accustomed to testing in this generation. It seems like we take a test or some type of oral exam for everything. We take a series of tests before we can legally operate a motor vehicle. We take quizzes, tests and exams throughout grade school, college and post-graduate studies. Some employers accept applications and issue a number of tests before making an offer to a new employee.

The objective of administering a test is to determine the difference between what people say they know versus what they actually know. Growing up, we used to say, "Mouth can say anything." Our parents had a way of testing us without our knowledge to determine if we were telling the truth or not. My mother was smoother than Columbo, Matlock and Perry Mason! She would make some biscuits, and somewhere between preparing and serving them, I would tell on myself.

Testing can be very stressful. During the time of final exams in school, students can easily lose their way. They get agitated, grumpy and short with almost everybody. The most important thing about testing is to prepare for it as much as you possibly can. If you have an important medical exam, eat right, get plenty of rest, and reduce the stress in your life. If you went shopping and overspent, be prepared to answer the series of questions from your spouse! If you are taking a professional exam for licensing, study, study, and study some more. The key once again to doing well on any test is to prepare accordingly. Nobody enjoys failing.

Here are some facts about failure according to Psychology Today.

- Failure makes the same goal seem less attainable.

- Failure distorts your perceptions of your abilities.

- Failure makes you believe you're helpless.

- A single failure experience can create an unconscious fear of failure.

- Fear of failure can be transmitted from parents to children.

- The psychologically healthiest response to failure is to focus on variables in your control.

The fear of failure is very evident in and around our society. Please understand that there are some tests in life that no matter how hard you try, you still may end up failing them. Some of them, we get to redeem ourselves if granted another chance to retake the test, while other tests are used as learning experiences. There is, however, one test that we all must take. This test is administered at the end of the road by the person who made the natural resources for the road. We have our entire life to prepare for this final exam. It is the most important test that we will ever take. It is the test to determine where we will spend eternal life after we die.

Revelation 3:19-21. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.

God rebukes and chastises us when we fail the quizzes of life, hoping that we would repent to prepare for the final exam.

This test is only issued once in life. So prepare for it every day!

Sam Livingston is pastor of Antioch Missionary Baptist Church in Manning.