The Parable of the Mysterious Stranger

In time of war in an occupied country, a member of the resistance meets one night a stranger who deeply impresses him. They spend that night together in conversation. The Stranger tells the partisan that he himself is on the side of the resistance – indeed that he is in command of it, and urges the partisan to have faith in him no matter what happens. The partisan is utterly convinced at that meeting of the Stranger’s sincerity and constancy and undertakes to trust him.

They never meet in conditions of intimacy again. But sometimes the Stranger is seen helping members of the resistance, and the partisan is grateful and says to his friends, ‘He is on our side.’ Sometimes he is seen in the uniform of the police handing over patriots to the occupying power. On these occasions his friends murmur against him; but the partisan still says, ‘He is on our side.’ He still believes that, in spite of appearances, the Stranger did not deceive him. Sometimes he asks the Stranger for help and receives it. He is then thankful. Sometimes he asks and does not receive it. Then he says, The Stranger knows best.’

Sometimes his friends, in exasperation, say, ‘Well, what would he have to do for you to admit that you were wrong and that he is not on our side?’ But the partisan refuses to answer. He will not consent to put the Stranger to the test. And sometimes his friends complain, ‘Well, if that’s what you mean by his being on our side, the sooner he goes over to the other side the better.’

Basil Mitchell

You can read more analysis of this in its original context here.

The Trust Test

You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. (Isaiah 26:3)

Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’ ” (Matthew 4:7)

Know the difference between trusting God and testing Him.

You can trust God to heal you, but don’t test Him by refusing to visit the doctor He has made available to you.

You can trust God to provide the spouse you pray for, but don’t test Him by waiting for them to come and knock on your door.

You can trust God to provide the finances you need to live, but don’t test Him by sitting at home rather than looking for work.

You can trust God to comfort you when you hurt, but don’t test Him by turning away the friend He has brought into your life to be that comfort.

You can trust God to grow your church and its ministries, but don’t test Him by making promises to your congregation that He hasn’t made to you.

Yes, in Malachi 3:10 God does offer to be tested, but that is in a particular situation regarding tithes.

In all things, examine your heart, as He does, and be sure that you are putting your trust in Him, and not trying to pull His strings.

I’ve known people say that they don’t need anything except Jesus, but their eyes are so firmly fixed on Him that they don’t see the blessings He has surrounded them with. Don’t be one of those people.