God's Stress Test

by Nathan Noble
(Redding, CA)


I thought I'd share a study I did this morning that was inspired by the Fractal of 2 - 6.1 Stress Test blessing.

I didn't have enough time to write less! :'D


“Do you default to fear or do you default to covenant. Do you default to believing that this happened randomly on maliciously in the world? Or do you default to believing that you serve the God of covenant and that somewhere in here we can find the fingerprints of God?” - Arthur Burk from Fractal of 2 DC - 6.1

This feels very significant for me. So much of my struggle is in fearing the random suffering in the world. When things are bad, I am scared because they are bad. Even worse, though, when things are good, I am also scared, because - who knows how long the good will last? What chaos is around the corner? What unexpected evil is lurking?

For me this fear comes from my sensitive nature (being a Mercy/HSP) and the state of somewhat constant panic/fear I lived in as a child with a dad who might explode in anger at any moment.

I heard Bill Johnson say once something to the effect of "wherever you live without hope you are living under a lie." Although I am saved, redeemed, there are still parts of me, my brain, my emotional memories that have yet to acknowledge it. There is a part of me that is secular humanist, who only knows myself and none other and relies only on what I can see/know/taste/touch/experience.

At a visceral level, how far does my faith in God's covenant go? Is it words only? No, it is more than words. It is in me. And yet, when presented with certain situations, I still respond with panic, anxiety, even sin, where I return to sinful habits to assuage the emotional pain.

I felt an impetus yesterday to study the following passage (Jeremiah 17:5-10, 14)

Thus says the Lord:

“Cursed is the man who trusts in man
And makes flesh his strength,
Whose heart departs from the Lord.

For he shall be like a shrub in the desert,
And shall not see when good comes,
But shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness,
In a salt land which is not inhabited.

The man with this attitude is the one who at a heart/kidney level does not believe. He might be a believer by intellectual assent but is not one at a heart level.

“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord,
And whose hope is the Lord.

For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters,
Which spreads out its roots by the river,
And will not fear when heat comes;
But its leaf will be green,
And will not be anxious in the year of drought,
Nor will cease from yielding fruit.

This is such a beautiful promise - a picture that combines of the tree-by-the-stream from Psalm 1 and the fruitful vine from John 15. In this picture is perhaps a key to a mystery. It is in the abiding that the tree thrives. It is not an instantaneous act. It is a relational process, as the root hairs of the tree dig deep and fasten into the soil (the ingrafting of the word?).

That same type of action needs to happen in our brains, hearts, and kidneys. As we become more rooted in God over time, the "Freudian slip" when the "heat comes" is less because our lives are more and more rooted to covenant rather than to the self or to idols.

The heart is deceitful above all things,
And desperately wicked;
Who can know it?

This passage is often quoted in the context of the sinful nature of man. And yes, that is true. But contextually, what comes next is just as, if not more, important, I think, because it answers the question posed above. If we quote just the verse above, we are left with a sense of a rhetorical, almost cynical question rather than an introduction to God's pending redemptive work/purpose.

I, the Lord, search the heart,
I test the mind Note - mind is "kidneys" in Hebrew,
Even to give every man according to his ways,
According to the fruit of his doings.

Because of the desperate wickedness of the heart and in the inability of man to know his own heart, we may throw up our hands in despair/hopelessness, but God does not. We cannot know the heart. But God can and does. And this testing is how He does.

In response the deceitfulness and wickedness of the heart, God searches the heart. Yes. That makes sense. But he tests the kidneys too (what?!) The stress testing of God places us in process and through that refining process, He works out the dross, the impurities that are in the heart that we cannot see: the errors, hidden faults, presumptuous sins, and transgressions (per Psalm 19:12-13).

After all of the above Jeremiah responds to all God has said above with an earnest prayer in v. 14:

"Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed.
Save me and I shall be saved.
For You are my praise."

And that is the answer. God's revelation of our condition and then God's healing and salvation. It is not just healing here on this earth with no chance of salvation. It is not just a powerless salvation without healing. It is both. It is Jesus. It is the gospel. No more and certainly no less.

Comments for God's Stress Test

Click here to add your own comments

Sep 18, 2019
by: lois

wow, thank you, Nathan for sharing this. i for one can relate to the 'false alarms' can we say of what once was but continues to haunt us.

i too would frame something good as potentially not going to last. i hear you. (HSP speaking) i am pleased to announce that God is more than willing to help us process out of bondage into promise. i initially thought, 'what a big ask!' but we sojourn on with him at the helm.

i love the verse in Micah 7:8

Do not gloat over me, O my enemy. Though I fall I will rise; Though I dwell in darkness, the LORD is a light for me.


Sep 23, 2019
by: Elouise Van der Merwe

Thank you for sharing, Nate! This is truth!

I’ve had a stress test and a half this past week, perhaps it’s the window of reconciliation. (I think it might be.) I grew up in an explosive environment too, it was the mercy RG in the house that would explode. I used to be able to eggshell surf, but I might’ve lost that art and I’m better off without it.

I wanted to thank you for something else, Nate. I was looking at your ‘Male Mercy’ course on Sapphire Training, not because I’m a male or a mercy, but I have a long list of questions and areas needing improvement (can you guess my RG?).

You have a book on your reading list "The Highly Sensitive Person". I saw it and was intrigued. Let me tell you something, that book helped ME! I have a mercy portion too, after all.

Sep 25, 2019
by: Nathan


I love that Micah verse - such a picture of grace!


Thank you for sharing your thoughts. So glad the HSP book helped you. Certainly a lot of Mercies are HSP, but we're not the only ones!

My sisters, I am captured at the moment at the beauty and simplicity of Jeremiah's prayer: "heal us and we will be healed. Save us and we will be saved."

Let that be true for the three of us today too. AMEN.

Oct 01, 2019
by: Elouise Van der Merwe

I was reading Ephesians 3, minding my own business and then BAM! these verses reminded me of this post.

"14 For this reason I kneel before the Father, 15 from whom every family[a] in heaven and on earth derives its name. 16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen."

"ROOTED and established in love!"

Yes, PLEASE! ( I feel a word study coming!)

Have fun, AND grow deep roots, folks!

Much love,

Oct 01, 2019
by: lois

i was meditating on these verses in the Passion Translation:

14 So I kneel humbly in awe before the Father of our Lord Jesus, the Messiah, 15 the perfect Father of every father and child[e] in heaven and on the earth. 16 And I pray that he would unveil within you the unlimited riches of his glory and favor until supernatural strength floods your innermost being with his divine might and explosive power.

17 Then, by constantly using your faith, the life of Christ will be released deep inside you, and the resting place of his love will become the very source and root of your life.

18–19 Then you will be empowered to discover what every holy one experiences—the great magnitude[f] of the astonishing love of Christ in all its dimensions. How deeply intimate and far-reaching is his love! How enduring and inclusive it is! Endless love beyond measurement that transcends our understanding—this extravagant love pours into you until you are filled to overflowing with the fullness of God!

20 Never doubt God’s mighty power to work in you and accomplish all this. He will achieve infinitely more than your greatest request, your most unbelievable dream, and exceed your wildest imagination! He will outdo them all, for his miraculous power constantly energizes you.

'the resting place of his love will become the very source and root of your life'

how i long for that. rooted in the resting place of his love. from this time forth and forever my friend.

Oct 02, 2019
Thank you, Lois
by: Elouise Van der Merwe

That is a beautiful translation! Thank you very much for sharing, Lois!
Yes, rooted forever and ever!
Much love to you.

Oct 07, 2019
Yes, yes, and YES
by: Anonymous

rooted and established in love - YES.

I love this statement from the Passion translation: "Never doubt God’s mighty power to work in you and accomplish all this." - "never doubt". Yes, Yes, a thousand times yes.

I am in the process of still studying/writing on this concept. Will reach out when I have fully fleshed it out in its next iteration. Sometimes these things take weeks, months, even years for me to fully work through. I guess that's part of the "rooting"!

Love to you both.


Nov 21, 2019
More roots
by: Elouise Van der Merwe

I was reminded of this conversation twice in the last week.
Yesterday, I was weeding my garden, and the prolific and robust weeds have these really anchoring (but shallow) roots. My hands are raw with weeding, and I did feel self-pity. And yes, I know self-pity is not a fruit of the Spirit, you cannot find it in Galatians not even if you read it backwards. But you know, I was weeding, so it all works together for good.

What really reminded me of this conversation, was the book I’m reading at the moment: "Stages of a man’s life" by E. James. Wilder. Reading about how a man develops reminded me of roots.

Have a fantastic, weeded or weed-free, day!

Click here to add your own comments