Our office at David McCracken Ministries is situated in a lovely, semi-rural area here in Melbourne, Australia. A few days ago, I went on my regular walk past a vineyard during my lunch break. I was amazed to see fresh green shoots springing from the harshly pruned vines.

What seemed so barren and dead for months is now a picture of resurrection life.


I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. (John 15:1-2)

In the same way that a plant is pruned in order to blossom and bear more fruit, seasons of testing are crucial to the development of our spiritual gifts.

During these times, the best that we have produced seems to have been stripped away from us. God is allowing fruitful areas of our lives and ministries to be cut back, in order that we can focus in a significant way and be even more fruitful for His Kingdom.

11 Signs that you are in a Testing Season

Some signs that you may be experiencing a testing season in relation to your spiritual gifts include:

  • Feeling that you have been shut down in your God-given abilities
  • You might have voluntarily or involuntarily released ministry responsibility and feel displaced as a result
  • You long for the honeymoon period when you first discovered your spiritual gift
  • You might have made mistakes and wonder whether you will ever recover
  • You experience doubts about your ability and wonder if God really called you
  • You find yourself going through character-testing circumstances and coming up short on the character side
  • You wonder whether the prophecies once made about you will ever be fulfilled
  • You feel as though you are being criticised, blocked or resisted
  • You feel battle-worn and weary
  • You feel displaced, separated or hidden in relation to your gift and ministry
  • The opposite of God’s call and the destiny you believed for seems to be happening to you.

A testing season can be specific to a single gift. I have often heard prophetic people relate, mystified, that their prophetic ministry feels as though it has been blocked and yet they are experiencing fruitfulness in other areas of service.

The Season of Trial: What is God Doing?

1. Developing Skills you will need in the Future

Joseph knew that his destiny was one of rulership, but it seemed that his life was taking the opposite course. However, during the time of slavery and unjust imprisonment he developed skills that would be invaluable to his future. He learned the Egyptian language and customs, along with principles of stewardship, leadership and resource management.

During the season of trial, God may be working gifts and skills into your life that you need to fulfil His destiny in the long run.

2. Refining Your Character

During wilderness times, the people and circumstances that try us are instruments that God uses to develop our character and point us towards our destiny. Joseph understood this. He later said to his brothers, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives” (Gen 50:20).

3. Repositioning You

During a testing time, God may actually be repositioning us for a new season of fruitfulness.

Elijah went on the run from Jezebel, overnight going from success to mess. (1 Kings 19) He sat under a tree in the desert and actually prayed that he would die. The Lord visited Him and gave him directions for a new season of his ministry. He was to call Elisha as his successor and anoint a new king who would bring Jezebel’s reign to an end.

Elijah had an appointment with God in the wilderness and so do we. During the times of difficulty or separation, allow Him to speak to you about the next season He has for your life.

4. Calling You to Intimacy with Him

Testing times are seasons when we have the opportunity to get closer to God than any other time. Perhaps there are fewer distractions. Perhaps need or barrenness causes us to draw nearer to Him. It is on God’s heart to reveal His love to you in fresh ways during a desert time.

5. Awaiting the Right Timing

While we feel as though we are fighting to survive, God is moving to change the scenery on the stage of our lives—positioning circumstances, others and us for what is to come. [1]

David went on the run from Saul in the wilderness. He was destined to become a king, but he became an outlaw first. He stayed in the desert while God worked things out on his behalf. Saul died and eventually the people called for David to be their new king.

6. Strengthening Your Faith

Abraham is known as the ‘father of faith.’  It was twenty-five barren years before Isaac was born in fulfilment of God’s promise to make him a great nation; God waited until it was physically impossible. Paul later said of Abraham:

Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead—since he was about a hundred years old—and that Sarah’s womb was also dead. Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God. (Rom 4:19-20)

In the Father’s Hands

It is important to recognize that God is at work during the testing season. He is refining both your character and your gift.

How you respond in this season is very important. No matter what you have done, no matter what people have done to you, and no matter what the enemy has done against you, God is sovereignly working ‘all things together for good.’

If you can relate to this today, I pray that you will perceive the hand of God on your life. During pruning, the vine-grower’s hands are closer to the vine than at any other time.

May you sense the Father’s loving touch on your life and receive a revelation of His goodness that will empower you and cause your heart to flow with gratitude and praise.


This post contains an excerpt from my e-book, ‘Grow Your Prophetic And Prayer Gifts.’

The six phases of spiritual gift development are beginning, desiring, emerging, developing, testing and maturing.

‘Grow Your Prophetic And Prayer Gifts’ is a high-value e-book specifically written to help you grow in your gifts of prophecy, intercession, healing, discernment and more – at whatever stage or season you are on the journey.

Check out my e-books page for more e-books related to prophetic and prayer ministry.


Related Posts:
4 Signs You are in Transition in Your Gift or Ministry


© Helen Calder – Enliven Blog

On team with David McCracken Ministries: Prophetic Ministry That Empowers The Church

44 thoughts on “Going Through A Testing Season In Your Spiritual Gifts”

  1. Thank u so much I relize I am going thru testing and attack as well my granddaughter who is now 4 woke up and spoke their were snakes on the floor days later coming down stairs she stop me because of the snakes she did something with her hand and said I could go now I was told from a profit about the snakes a lot of them my eyes r open my mind is aware I understand my walk and because of it what I will have to deal with and making me stronger for what is to come and my purpose I so grateful to sit and receive understanding of things that have happen in my life and that it is a process I must go thru to do Gods will

    1. Hi Angela, I’m sorry to hear about the testing times, thank God you serve a powerful and loving God and have all the resources of Heaven at hand as you pray.
      ‘You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.’ (1 John 4:4)

  2. Hi Helen. I have stumbled upon your posts and have read with great interest. This one is especially timely. I had a season of high frequency of hearing from the Lord and several visions but had not heard or seen as much in the same way recently. I have been in that awkward stage of with whom do I discuss such spirit realm things (makes you feel like the odd one out at times) but lately I had also wondered if this wasn’t my calling. I am now in a season that does feel like a battle of sorts (and I see light up ahead!). I think I have come to the conclusion (and your post persuades me further) that this is a time of testing. I must fix my eyes on Jesus and just hold on. I am sure the Lord will unfold things in his time. Thanks for your insights.

    1. Hi Andrea, thanks for leaving the note, I’m glad the article’s been encouraging for you.
      The Holy Spirit gives a witness to us when something is personal from Him to our situation and it sounds as though a light has turned on for you as you’ve read this. I pray that you remain empowered and encouraged, He certainly will unfold things in His time.

  3. I woke up this morning and as I was standing outside I heard the phrase of a song in my spirit, ” when the time is right for me” (Awaiting the Right Timing) I wait for the Lord.Psalm 130:5&6.
    Confirmation, thank you so much.
    God bless you

    1. Hi Elmarie, I love it! Our Father is so gracious to speak His Word and confirm it. May the song of the Lord continue to pour through your spirit.

  4. um…. hello i was wondering what happens when god strips you of your gift??
    *need answer asap by tomorrow at 8:30

    1. Hi Dana, I’m not sure what time zone you are in…I’m in Australia.
      God doesn’t strip the gift away, but He does allow us to go through pruning seasons where the visible evidence of that gift at work seems to have disappeared. (For the reasons I outline above)
      People sometimes quote Romans 11:29 in this regard, where it says ‘for God’s gifts and his call are irrevocable’.

  5. I am really going through a tough time trying to get to a stable place within myself for the Lord Gods will. I am determined to pull through some how. Every test and trial is coming against me and has been for a while. It’s gotta get better I know. I am separated from my husband for six months now, With the intention to Divorce. My family has turned their backs on me so has all of my In laws. I live alone but I know God is right here with me. I’m in a very vulnerable state as well. Can you encourage me my Sister.

    1. Sorry to hear that, Princess, what a difficult time.

      The Psalmist says,
      ‘Though my father and mother forsake me,
      the Lord will receive me.’ Ps 27:10
      ‘I remain confident of this:
      I will see the goodness of the Lord
      in the land of the living.
      Wait for the Lord;
      be strong and take heart
      and wait for the Lord.’ (Ps 27:13-14)
      These verses come to mind. I pray your heart will be opened at this difficult time to receive the love, strength and hope of the Father deep into your inner most being.

      1. Thank you my beloved sister in the Faith AMEN I know God has great plans in store for me I won’t ever ever give up.Amen I thank the Lord for you.Amen

  6. Ugh. I’m glad this popped up in my news feed this morning.
    Was talking to my hubby yesterday about feeling so frustrated. Both with the articles subject and with healing in my foot.
    For years no one seems to be able to figure it out and it’s just a lot of pain. All the time. I have asked God for healing for years as well.
    As with my spiritual gift, it’s just quiet. I’ve got nothin’. I can relate to many of the above points.
    Both a long story…lol but I told him it just feels like what faith I had is gone. I don’t understand it and I soo dislike feeling this way and not close to Him.
    And I don’t like feeling like time is a wasting!
    He said it sounds like it’s a trust issue and it may be connected.
    Which could be accurate as much as I don’t want to admit it… ????
    I know acting solely on how you’re feeling at the moment is rather childish and I need to push through and pray and read my Bible anyway. It’s just really hard to get over this little hump.

    1. Hi Amanda, I’m sorry to hear about the difficulties you’ve been having. I hope the article I wrote has been an encouragement to you. I remember going through a trial where trust was a real struggle for me. I was waiting to FEEL trust, and it wasn’t happening. Then one day the Holy Spirit spoke to me, that trust is a position I take, not a feeling or emotion. That took a heap of pressure off, I didn’t have to wait to feel trust, I could just choose the position of trust and decide to make that my address, believing that God is trustworthy because the Word says so and because He loves me. Something lifted off me that day and I experienced peace…I pray the same for you.

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