"The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love." ~ Psalm 86:15
Karl massaged his throbbing temples, glancing at yet another flash card. As the figures blurred together, he pressed his forehead onto the card hoping that might stamp it to his memory. As a 6th grader, he had to find a way to pass the math midterm.
Stifling a yawn, Karl rubbed bleary eyes. Despite his best effort, this was just not working. He pushed the chair back and decided to make a little ‘cheat sheet.'
For the week leading up to the exam, Karl studied really hard. At one point, he almost thought he didn’t need it. But on the day of the test, he put it in his pocket - just in case.
Faced with a sheet of math problems, Karl started freaking out. In less than an hour his fate would be sealed. He choked down rising bile and placed the cheat sheet under his desk.
Then he closed his eyes and said the little prayer below. Almost immediately, Karl felt a calming presence wash over him. His focus became razor sharp. Attacking the problems with vengeance, he didn’t even need the silly cheat sheet.
Karl proudly placed his fished work on the teacher’s desk. In his exuberance however, he completely forgot the paper he’d left on the floor; one that had not gone unnoticed by a glaring teacher. Busted – for not even using the dumb thing.
Karl felt so embarrassed. “This couldn’t be happening to me!” He waited outside the Principal’s office until his teacher arrived after class. When he saw the disappointment on her face, he wanted to cry. Only in his silent prayers could he speak to God and beg for mercy.
Karl tried to explain how the cheat sheet had given him the confidence he needed to complete the exam without using it. Even he thought his account was hard to believe.
But his teacher did believe in second chances.
“For your punishment,” she began, “you’ll create a completely different exam. It must be at least 100 good, thoughtful questions long. I’ll choose 25 of them for your make-up exam (imagine the lesson here). A perfect score on your test will gain no better than a “B.”
“And don’t even ask what will happen if this ever happens again,” the principal added.
Karl learned two lessons that day … the hard way. His teacher helped him and so did the principal. No one had ever done that for him besides his parents. And secondly, intentions are as sinful to God as completing the act itself. But one of the amazing facets of God's character is His incredible patience with us.
“Dear God, I know there’s probably no prayer that can change a "D" to an "A" but I still need Your help as I take this exam. Let there be a peace that flows over me when I walk out of the classroom after knowing that I did my best to prepare. Thanks” ~ Karl