So, April is drawing to a close and that can only mean one thing: exam season must be nearly upon us. It might be GCSEs, A Levels, Highers, Undergraduate, Postgraduate… the list goes on.
Whether you’re an early hard worker or a last minute crammer, completely focussed or a professional procrastinator, exam time can be hugely stressful. There’s all the energy and time you’ve spent over the past months all piling up, family members with high expectations and friends you can’t help but feel you’re competing against.
So what might Jesus have to say to this world of constant examination that we live in? Before I get sidetracked wondering what kind of tests he’d have had to pass working alongside Joseph as a carpenter, here are three thoughts:
1) God loves you
If there’s one thing we can learn from scripture it is absolutely this: God loves you, unconditionally – whatever happens on results day. God’s grace abounds so deeply and generously in the narrative arc of eternity, rather than the tunnel visioned revision cave that the months of May and June often turn into.
2) You are precious
You are unique (just like everyone else, as my Grandad loves to joke). You are created special, exactly who you are. Precious. In life we constantly measure ourselves against our peers and against arbitrary standards yet Jesus simply says: come. Whoever you are, whatever you think you’ve done wrong, whichever season of life you are in. Whether you come to me for the first time, or return after many times, come. The powerful humility that Jesus lived out showed that he wasn’t bothered by status or success – except when he was pointing out how we allow those things to become a barrier between us and him.
3) Lives of worship
As well as being reassured by God’s enduring love, we’re also called to worship God in everything we do – including our work. So can we glorify God in studying? Absolutely! And that’s a way of living we can try and choose not because his love is conditional, but the opposite: the love and grace of God have already been bought for us. We have the joy of living lives where we try to reflect that.
So, take a deep breath, know that God is with you, and crack on – whether that’s with coursework or early exam prep.
Throughout the coming weeks we’ll be holding all those studying hard in prayer. If you’re joining us in prayer and have any particular words or passages of encouragement, feel free to comment or share anonymously using the Contact Us section.