Now that summer appears to have visited these shores and the school holidays are in full swing we can take time out to enjoy our many blessings. This is the blissful period between the end of term tests, now but a dim memory and the ominous prospect the results, still far enough removed not to intrude into the present enjoyment. As the poet has put it: – What is this life if full of care, We have no time to stand and stare? No time to linger beneath the bough And stare at horse or sheep or cow! Which brings me to another test – one which every stock farmer knows – the herd test. This devise, invented many years ago, to ensure the National herd is kept free from disease, keeps farmers and vets busy. Preparation consists of something akin to the Calgary stampede as all cattle irrespective of sex or age have to face the vet equipped with a computer in one hand and a needle in the other. Maintaining order in the face of threatening chaos requires the patience of Job and is not helped by the knowledge that the whole process has to be repeated 4 days later! Failure to pass the test is something no-one wants to contemplate and mercifully is becoming a rarity in Ireland today. Failure to pass the test prescribed by the doctor however is what produces the most consternation. To learn that the first tests were inconclusive and that you will have to go through it all again is even more depressing. To be told by friends to “cheer up it may never happen” is more a commentary on the friends’ lack of willingness to face facts when, in fact, it has happened. Those who have put their complete trust in Jesus, have the assurance of knowing that he has passed the last test in their place and the risen Saviour is now their Lord whose spirit is in them. As St Paul says at the end of his second letter to the church in Corinth, “Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realise this about yourselves that Christ Jesus is in you? — unless, of course, you fail the test!” May none reading this fail the last test – put your trust in Jesus now.