The student/teacher dynamic is an interesting one, isn’t it? You’re given an assignment from your teacher and, while you’re primary objective is to do well and thereby please them, there’s this sense that you two are on opposing sides.
When it comes time to complete an important task – such as a test – teachers can almost feel like the enemy, with that judgmental red pen of theirs and the power to decide who will pass and who will fail.
A prime example of this is back in my ice-skating youth. Every few months, it would be time to advance to the next level which required passing a test. Passing these tests took months of learning and practicing the moves before finally performing them for a panel of coaches.
I would typically experience the natural onset of nerves at the beginning of a test. Added to that was the fact that, financially conscientious child that I was, I was desperate not to waste the money my parents put up for the testing fee.
I remember one test very specifically. I had a few minutes before it was my turn to step out onto the ice and I was a bundle of nerves. My coach took one look at my pale face and pulled me aside.
Looking me in the eye, she told me, “Leah, don’t worry. The judges want to pass you. They’re going to do everything they can to help you succeed. If they think you need to re-do a move, they will give you the change to try again. They want to pass you.”
Sure enough, with this reassurance in hand and feeling much calmer, I went out and passed the test, but only after the judges let me re-do a move (the camel spin, I think).
My coach’s words have stuck with me to this day because, even now, I feel like another test is always around the next corner.
God has set certain assignments for me. He has tasks He wants me to complete and a way in which He wants me to live. This is because He, as an all-knowing God, sees exactly what will be best for me and wants to make me part of His plan. Because He designed me for a purpose.
I should be honored and excited by this. Instead, I’m a bundle of nerves as I picture God sitting in the judging panel, scrutinizing my every move, red pen poised and ready.
This image I have of God is so wrong.
God wants me to succeed. He wants me to pass me, to tell me “Well done, good and faithful servant.” He is for me, not against me.
And no matter how hard I fall, or how badly I mess up, He will always let me retest. There will always be another second chance. It’s like the ultimate open-book test, where whenever I have a question, I can just ask Him for the answer and He’ll give it to me.
Does this mean I can fail on purpose, or put no effort into succeeding at all? Does this mean there will never be consequences for disobedience?
God loves me and He’s going to stick with me until I learn that lesson, not matter how many do-over’s it takes. That’s just the infinitely patient God I serve.
Take a look at 2 Chron.36:15. This is the final chapter of this book, the point right before the temple is burned and the Israelites are lead away into captivity.
“The Lord, the God of their fathers, sent word to them again and again by His messengers, because He had compassion on His people and His dwelling place;”
God wants to pass us. He wants us to win the race, to receive our crown. He wants the best for us. So much so, that He will let us learn things the hard way, if that’s what it takes. But hard or easy, He’s going to patiently walk through every lesson, every test, with us, not only as our Teacher, as our Father as well.
With His help, how could we ever fail?