I was so disappointed.  I really had tried hard.  Maybe I have too much on my mind.  Maybe I didn’t try hard enough.  Maybe I need to be more dedicated.  Am I easily distracted?  There’s got to be some way to make this up!

I’m sure we’ve all felt this way after a crappy test.  We try so hard, get the grade back, and just want to curl up and not tell anyone.  Anyone.

I’ve been dreading telling my mid-term score to Adam. I just found out earlier today, and I was so frustrated.  How could I have done so poorly?? I knew most-everything covered on the test, and heck, I even took the test twice because the website the exam was on shorted out!  Maybe that was it?  Did the website face a technical difficulty that took my answers and the partial essay I was writing and submit that as my test?  As much as I wanted to rationalize that as the answer for the reason my test score read 61/100, I knew that wasn’t the answer.

I emailed my professor.  There has to be some sort of extra-credit I can do.  He needs to know I’m trying and that I’m willing to try.  I even shared a little of how busy my life is, not as excuses, but saying that despite all of those distractions, I am trying!  I am wanting to do well in this class (Intro to Biblical Counseling).

The message I got in return left me crying as I sit here on the couch, trying to hack away at the to-do list I was mentioning last time (yeah, the one that keeps growing and never diminishing).  He said that the computer “grades” the test, but he gets on to individually grade the essay section and check over the answers.  My correct score: 91/100.  As a result and judging from my other assignments, I didn’t need any extra-credit.  Also, great job, he said.  He could tell I put a lot of effort into the mid-term, and I did very well.

It’s been a while since I’ve cried tears of joy like I did just about twenty minutes ago.  Tears that fell while my body shook in relief and gratitude.  Tears that streamed down and got caught in the crevices of my smiling lips.  Tears that were of happiness and not sorrow.

The Lord knows our struggles.  The Lord know our hearts.  Just twenty minutes ago, I was (and continue to be) reminded of His gracious and supportive Love, His guiding Hand, His mercy, and His comfort.  I was so upset when I saw my first grade, when I thought I had failed, when I thought I had more work to do now to make it up, when I thought I couldn’t take much more added to my schedule or to my mental to-do list, or to my list of present concerns.  I wasn’t overwhelmed (or so I thought) until I saw the message with the corrected grade and felt the load of concern get lifted off my shoulders.

Isaiah 41:9-13

 I took you from the ends of the earth,
       from its farthest corners I called you.
       I said, ‘You are my servant’;
       I have chosen you and have not rejected you.

 10 So do not fear, for I am with you;
       do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
       I will strengthen you and help you;
       I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

 11 “All who rage against you
       will surely be ashamed and disgraced;
       those who oppose you
       will be as nothing and perish.

 12 Though you search for your enemies,
       you will not find them.
       Those who wage war against you
       will be as nothing at all.

 13 For I am the LORD, your God,
       who takes hold of your right hand
       and says to you, Do not fear;
       I will help you.

Isn’t the comfort and strength of the Lord so assuring?  Is it not so calming?  Is it not so reviving?  Isaiah 41:13 is one of my favorite verses of all times.  What a picture we have of the Lord reaching down, taking us by the hand, leading us through dark, scary, and insecure places, and whispering in our ear the whole time, “Do not fear; I will help you.”

Despite the variety of hard times that I have been going through – something I unfortunately won’t share on here right now – He is there, comforting me, giving me everything I need (and more!!!), showering blessings and supports and reminders of His faithfulness and Love, and showing me everyday that I have nothing to fear, that He will help me.

May you be reminded of that today, whether you’re skipping through another perfectly happy day or whether you’re stumbling through the moments of failure, disappointment, and struggle.  He has you by the hand, and He’s not letting go.

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