Yes, You Will be Tested
Yes, you will be tested. If you are looking for immunity against deep despair in this world, those five words may provide it. Mind you, the immunity is not against pain and suffering. It is against throwing in the towel. It is against believing all is lost. It is against believing that you have been forsaken.
You must never throw in the towel. All is never lost. You have not been forsaken. But, yes, you will be tested. It is the nature of the universe. It is part of the plan. The fire is meant to turn you into fine steel.
Seen this way, human beings are not final products at birth or after adolescence or after having their own children or at retirement age or even up until the very instant we take our last breaths on this planet. We will be tested again and again and, therefore, have the opportunity to grow stronger and stronger, while remaining loving and empathetic (which are just metaphors for strength).
I recall a phone conversation I had with talk show host Glenn Beck. He had been diagnosed with a vision problem that threatened him with blindness and called me very late at night to tell me. I immediately offered help getting him an appointment with a friend of mine at the Wilmer Eye Institute at my alma mater Johns Hopkins. But that wasn’t what he needed.
“I have that all set,” he told me. “I don’t need to see your friend. I need you to think with me about what is being asked of me. I need you to think through with me what I may not be seeing in my life. Have I been blind to something? What darkness might be in store for the world that I can help to navigate?”
I remember thinking that I would be hard pressed to respond to adversity in the way Glenn was able to that night. I’m not sure how many could. Sometimes it takes time to find one’s strength amidst adversity. Sometimes it takes a lot of time. For me, too. But, even in moments like those Glenn and I shared that night, even in the dark moments Glenn certainly faced alone, I think the five words Yes, You Will be Tested can be a kind of amulet against, as I said, throwing in the towel or believing all is lost or believing you have been forsaken.
Is it wonderful to wake up and breathe deeply and feel that all is right with life? Yes. And what treasures those mornings are. Yet, there are mornings and nights that will test the soul. Inevitably. And you can always, always pass that test. I promise.
Dr. Keith Ablow