Until we are tested, we think that we are living on our own strength. It is, however, God alone who keeps us from falling by his preventing grace. We might say, “All men may do this or that, but we will not!” When the trial comes, however, we quickly see that only God’s preservation upholds us. So it was with Abimelech (Gen. 20:6), God withheld him from sinning. God also reveals his renewing grace through our testings. Paul in his prayer for deliverance from his thorn in the flesh, found God’s sufficiency and renewing grace (2 Cor. 12:9).
We do not realize the power and strength that God puts forth on our behalf, and the sufficiency of his grace, until we compare our trials with our weaknesses. God’s power and grace are then seen clearly in our lives. The effectiveness of an antidote is not realized until one has been exposed to the poison. The preciousness of a medicine is revealed by the presence of the disease. We will not know the power of grace until we feel the power of testing. We must be tried, to realize the glory of being preserved.
—John Owen “Temptation”