Am I a Total Failure, God?
When the teacher handed my test back to me face-down, I immediately noticed those telltale red-ink squiggles showing through the back of the paper. As I stared nervously at the back of the test, the butterflies in my stomach were doing the Macarena double time. Eventually I gathered up my courage, said a quick prayer, then flipped over the test. Well, the good news was I didn't get every problem wrong.
But that wasn't much consolation. I'd very rarely received a test grade that low. And it wasn't like I had blown off the test, either. I'd spent hours studying for the exam. I'd studied by myself and with friends. I'd studied in the library, in the study lounge, in my room. While the teacher returned the rest of the tests and answered questions about the exam, my imagination veered out of control.
I thought of all the people I'd let down with the grade now etched permanently in bright red ink at the top of my paper. This is definitely not the best way to make a good impression on a new teacher, I thought as I watched him explain a test problem to a classmate. Across the room, I saw my study buddy chatting with a classmate. She's so smart. I bet she did a whole lot better than I did. And my heart plummeted when I thought of my parents. They're always so proud of my grades. What will they think? And maybe worst of all, I'd let myself down. I felt ashamed, embarrassed and just plain miserable. I'd done my best on the test, but that wasn't good enough. Or was it?
A question floated through my thoughts: Does God really care that I did poorly on the test? The answer I came up with: No. He accepts me for who I am, not for the grades I receive. It doesn't matter whether I received an "A" on that test or an "F." His love is constant.
There's another test coming up this Friday. I'm sure I'll go into it with butterflies in my stomach, clammy hands and a throat as dry as the Sahara. But I'm determined to do my best. And no matter how I do, I know God loves me just the same. And that's all that truly counts.
Christy is a freshman at the University of Evansville. If you have any topics you'd like her to handle in a future column, please drop her a note at: "My Life as a Student," Campus Life, 465 Gundersen Drive, Carol Stream IL 60188.
Copyright © 1997 by Christianity Today/CAMPUS LIFE magazine.