The Test

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding Proverbs 3:5 (NIV)

A first year university student made every effort to prepare for his ornithology exam. He studied his text books, reviewed the field trip notes, and evaluated previous test papers. He felt ready until he walked into the lecture room to discover the test consisted of thirty pictures on the wall. Pictures of birds’ feet. Nothing else. There were no test booklets, no multiple choice questions and no photos of the birds – just their feet, and the expectation that the students would identify the birds. He was flabbergasted.

Approaching the professor, the student complained. “This is ridiculous! You can’t expect me to do this!”

“But you have to,” said the professor. “This is the final and it must be done.”

“Well I won’t do it,” replied the frustrated student. “I’m leaving!”

“If you do, you’ll fail the exam.”

“In that case, fail me,” said the student as he headed for the door.

“Okay, that’s your choice. You’ve failed. What’s your name?” demanded the professor.

The student bent down, took off his shoes, removed his socks, and rolled up his pants to reveal his feet. Then, glaring at the professor he said, “You tell me!”

We laugh. But the truth of the matter is, life can sometimes be like that. We try to be prepared, plan for contingencies, do the things that prudent people do, and still end up striking out. Unfair? Maybe. Tough? Definitely. A reality? Certainly.

So is it possible to prepare for the test when life has a habit of throwing a curve ball? I believe it is. You need to do three things: First, realise you can never cope on your own. You need the Teacher. Second, have faith in the Teacher. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart” Proverbs 3:5. Third, listen to the Teacher. Do what God tells you to do. Persevere. Be obedient. Don’t lean “on your own understanding” Proverbs 3:5. Then the Teacher will be with you through times of testing and you’ll “receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him” James 1:12.

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