I’ve never been much of a gamer. I’ve saved a ton of money by not being addicted to the latest video game craze. That said, when Covid hit and I found myself secluded to my Las Vegas condo for days at a time I downloaded a game on my iPad to help pass the time. As my body weakens with age I rely on more cerebral exercises. I assumed I would go through the levels of this game and then delete the app and find another game to keep me busy. I easily breezed through the first few levels with little real challenge. Before long I was at level 100. Surely there must be an end to this soon. Suddenly I’m at level 200, then 300. Does it ever stop, I wondered. As of last evening I’ve now cleared level 1040 and there appears to be no end in sight with this game. With each level I clear, there is a new and more difficult level waiting for me. Will I ever master this game? Is there a final level of achievement?
It dawned on me recently that my spiritual journey is very much the same as this game, and while I’ve been on this game for over a year, my spiritual journey has been ongoing for over 50 years, with no end in sight. As I ponder the two I see several correlations between my game and my faith walk. The first is that if you are serious about growing your faith, there is always another level waiting for you. Even the Apostle Paul realized this when he says in Philippians 3:12 “not that I have already attained all this”, or not that I have cleared all the levels. I just recently started school again and being reintroduced to passing tests. Scripture tells us to consider it a joy when we are tested. It’s a process with no apex of completion.
Another similarity between the two is that each level is more challenging. The first few levels of my game I completed with just one attempt. Soon it was taking two or three. These past few levels have taken me many attempts or even days to clear. You don’t grow if you aren’t tested beyond your current capabilities. How boring would my game be if each level was different but with the same easy degree of difficulty. I’d soon grow weary of it and stop playing. God continually tests and refines us to be suitable for the purpose for which He formed us. You can’t get there by skipping levels. I also saw that with each level I needed the skills or wisdom I learned from the previous levels. When a barricade pops up and you recognize it from a previous level, you recall what it took to clear the obstacle. Our tests aren’t trivial, they are by design. I can’t become a doctor without going to Med school or a lawyer without going to Law school. I can’t pass a generic curriculum and then decide to be an architect. I have to study the applied sciences specific to my calling. So it is with your faith walk. God will equip you with all the skills necessary for the task He has for you by putting you through tests that will teach them to you. He does nothing haphazardly.
Another correlation I see is this; when I clear a level, I receive a new tool or weapon I will need in the next level. I may not realize this at the time because I haven’t been in the next level yet, but God has. God is already in all my tomorrows and He knows full well what I will need when I get there, so he tests me and equips me today on this level. It may be a surprise to me but He has already laid out my next 1040 levels and should I live that long, with the clearing of each test I become better equipped for what’s ahead. God said He formed us while we were yet embryos. He knew before we were born what His will and purpose was for our life and put us on a course of specifically designed levels to get us where we need to be. Life would have been much less difficult if I had learned this in my 20s and not my late 50s.
What level are you on? Do you embrace the challenge for what it is or are you like I was years ago dreading each new day and giving up numerous times before advancing to the next test? We are never left alone during these tests. God says many times in scripture that He is with us THROUGH each level. He doesn’t lead us around the barriers but shows us how to clear them to gain wisdom for the next. Growth is painful but true strength comes from endurance and being stretched beyond our comfort zone. See God’s testing for what it is and embrace it with joy. God bless you on your journey.