I just had a rather unpleasant experience related to probably failing a major test in one of my majors and therefore having to retake the course (if I fail, which I’m 99% sure I did). This sparked a rather un-Christian head rant, especially because of the way the lecturer has been treating me/treated me today, which in turn got me thinking about God, the tests he gives us, and how life is actually really, really freaking hilarious.
My pastor talked a few weeks ago about how God shapes and transforms us. One of the things he said was that when we fail a test in life, the opportunity for the change God wanted to bring about isn’t gone forever; when the time is right, he’ll give us the same test, again and again, until we pass. He is a God of endless second chances and endless mercy and patience. I’ve just tangibly experienced this, so I’ll tell you about it and maybe it’ll help you out, too.
In high school, I had several truly amazing teachers…you know, ones who care about you as a person and a student, who truly want you to succeed, who go above and beyond the call of duty, and who pour so much effort into educating and enriching you that you have to wonder where they get all their energy from. But then I had one teacher…let’s call her Mrs. Drawls…who was possibly the worst teacher I’ve ever had. I’m sure some others had a great experience with her, but we just didn’t get along, and I wasn’t the only one in this predicament. When this happened in the past, I would stop putting effort into the class for some ridiculous but secretly satisfying reason (even though the only one it affected was me). In short, by the end of the first semester, she pulled me aside and told me in so many words (and in a seriously condescending tone) that I’d better just drop out of her class because I obviously couldn’t do the work, and that I was also distracting my friend from doing her work (when in reality the only time I talked to her in class was to tell her to stop drawing and pay attention). She had absolutely no desire to figure out what the actual problem was and help me fix it, and besides that, she talked to me like I was an idiot. I’m not saying teachers should care, since that isn’t in their job description and life is hard, yadda yadda. I’m saying that they have an amazing opportunity to help raise strong leaders and hard workers, and it’s really freaking sad when they just throw that chance away.
Anyway. So I transferred to a lower level class the next semester, where that teacher told me it was stupid that I was in his class, and gave me different work from the rest of his students even though it was more effort on his part, since he was essentially handling two different lesson plans. THAT’S an amazing teacher.
So all was well and I was never in Mrs. Drawls’s class again. Until now. That’s right, one of my lecturers, let’s call him Mr. Mascara, is like her twin, even in appearance, except he’s British. Anyway. I won’t go into detail, except to say that he is, quite obviously, my second test in this area. It’s possibly harder now because I’m no longer a wimpy fourteen year-old and almost gave him a lecture today, but luckily God tied my tongue into a knot. The “love your enemies” thing is especially difficult when they handle your marks.
My point in this long and rambling blog is that if you gave yourself to God, and asked him to purify you, you can be sure that he will. If you ask for his fire, he’ll send it. Better to ask for it and enter into it willingly than to be thrown in, though, you know what I’m saying? (By fire I don’t mean hell, I mean the refining fire God uses to burn away impurities in our lives). And if you get out of one fire without passing through, you can be sure that he’ll bring it around again. But ALSO remember this: God gives us everything we need to handle anything that comes our way. He gives us strength for the day, and he knows how much strength we need. So don’t worry. Jesus doesn’t just douse you in flames in watch while you burn; he stands in them with you, holding your hand.