[from my notes] the teacher who fails tests.

I have a long-standing history of being a skilled test taker. Multiple choice, pesky true/false questions, short answer – you name it, I’ve passed it with stars and stripes across me. Every time God presents me with a spiritual pop quiz, however, I consistently fail. The conundrum here, though, is that the answer is always the same: trust God’s will to prevail. The answer is consistent and yet, I can’t quite get it right. It’s like the answer choices are

A. Trust God.

B. Trust in God.

C. Be one who trusts God.

D. I will trust God.

and instead of choosing one variation of the same answer, I’m leaving the question blank. My students will occasionally skip a question on exams and I’ll bring it to their attention. They respond in one of two ways: (1) smirk and say, “Oh. Oops,” or (2) their heads begin to spin and they yell, “I’M SUCH AN IDIOT. WHO DOES THAT?”

Since October, I have been through two of these spiritual surprise tests. Once was when I was in a car accident through no fault of my own. I remember hitting the car that had pulled out in front of me and thinking I was living a nightmare. This is a nightmare I’ve had before. Automobiles in general make me a nervous wreck (no pun intended.) Over the course of the next few days, everything seemed to be rapidly getting worse: multiple trips to the emergency room, back and abdominal pain, panic attacks, and financial worries plagued me. I was in a constant state of confusion and emptiness. I kept looking around at my situation and thinking, Okay…this is the part where God arrives in glorious splendor and rescues me.

The next spiritual test occurred at the beginning of this year. My dad’s eyesight was slowly deteriorating and the way the doctors behaved had us believing he could go blind if surgery wasn’t arranged. We sat in my apartment for a full day as he made phone call after phone call trying to get something set up. The tension was tangible as we wondered how long he had before he wouldn’t be able to see any longer. The next day, we drove across the universe to get him where he needed to be. Phrases like, “We can’t help you” and “I don’t know what to tell you” were common over the course of those two days. I kept trying to be positive, but I couldn’t help thinking, What lesson could God possibly be trying to teach us right now? Is he just ever going to show up?

I’m not ashamed to admit that there have been numerous times in my life where I’ve theoretically shaken my fists at the heavens and literally shouted, “Where are you, God? Where is this maker of the heavens and the earths I’ve spent my life serving?” Instead, I should be saying, “I can’t wait to see how God is going to use this for His glory.”

As a result of my car accident, God has shown me how blessed I am to have my current job – my coworkers and students rallied behind me, showering me with encouraging words and candy (because we all know how helpful the latter can be.) God has used this situation to open an avenue of conversation about His goodness and faithfulness to me. He has even used it to provide for me financially in ways I never could have imagined.

The day my dad and I drove around to various doctor’s offices and were turned away, God was preparing us for the next couple of weeks. A week after this impromptu adventure, we were both driving back to those same offices for surgery and follow-up appointments. The weather was poor but since we’d been there before, we were confident in where we were going. Not only did this debacle allow my dad and I to spend some time together, cooped up in my small apartment, but it allowed us to share in God’s workings together. I am forever grateful to have been through a trial with my dad and to have conversations with him about God’s love and His perfect timing.

My prayer is that for us all, when trials come we remember the God who created us. The King of heaven and earth does not abandon His creations. He created us for His glory. How would it serve Him to leave us on our own? He isn’t going anywhere. Choose the correct answer choice: choose to trust Him.

In these moments from doubt to redemption, God’s glory won. In these small nuggets of time, we were thanking God for His goodness. These moments had me shouting from the rooftops wanting to tell everyone what He had done for me. I failed the exam at first, but He is faithful. His glory will always prevail.

“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.” James 1:2-3

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