Monday, August 31, 2009

The Test

We've all experienced it. Some accept it with a grateful attitude, while others reject it, although it would ultimately help them. The 'it' is correction. Not a very popular topic in today's culture of tolerance, but an invaluable tool in God's hand; used to chip away the rough edges from our lives, so we can be more like Jesus Christ.

When I was in eighth grade, I attended Central Intermediate in my hometown of Midland, Michigan. As I recall, one of my most challenging classes that year, happened to be Science. Our teacher was funny and had a knack for making the dullest topic interesting, nevertheless, the tests were hard. On one of our tests, we were allowed to use a handbook to assist us with some math problems on the test. I remember studying the material the night before the test. It was late and I still had a few formulas to memorize. Hmmm...Since we were permitted to use our handbook for the test, I rationalized that it would be so much easier just to write the last few formulas on the back of one of the handbook sheets, rather than memorizing them. After all, I'd studied the majority of material, and I was tired. No one would ever know. Or so I thought.

I got to class a few minutes early the next day. I even asked my teacher a few last minute questions. With the formulas written on the back of my handbook, I was feeling pretty confident about the test. When the bell rang, the teacher stood up to give some final instructions prior to distributing the tests. Because he was allowing us to use our handbooks, he said he would be coming around to check them to be sure we hadn't written anything else on them. With my heart pounding and my mind racing, I tried to think of a way I could flip to the page I had written on, and erase the incriminating evidence...Whether it was a guilty expression on my face or merely where I was sitting, my teacher came to check my handbook first. He tapped me on the back to indicate that he was aware that I had attempted to cheat. Today, I can look back and see that God was correcting me. At the time, I chose to reject His correction. Instead of admitting my guilt, I lied. I told my teacher that I had copied the formulas onto my handbook after I'd missed a day of school and had forgotten that the information was there. Regardless of whether he believed me or not, there were immediate consequences. I earned a zero on the test, and spent the remainder of the quarter doing extra credit projects to regain the eighty points I had so foolishly forfeited.

Although I didn't appreciate it at the time, I'm so thankful I got caught. It helped me to realize the harsh realities of cheating. It also revealed my stubborn attitude toward correction. The Lord is faithful to remind us in Proverbs 28:13, "He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy." (KJV) How wonderful to know that our God's mercies are "new every morning." (Lamentations 3:23a; KJV)

When we're corrected, it's for our own good and is a sign of God's love for us. How will we respond to His correction? Meditate on the words of Job 5:17, "Behold, happy is the man whom God correcteth: therefore despise not thou the chastening of the Almighty." Accept His correction with a grateful attitude today.

1 comment:

  1. I agree, sometimes God comes down hard on us so we can avoid a lifetime of bad habits and sins. My husband laughs at me because I'm too honest! Although, I don't think there is such a thing :)

    So glad I found your blog!