On March 15, 2011, I found out that my GPA was point something short for me to graduate from college with honors. Then I asked God what comprised that point something. Didn’t I burn the midnight oil enough?
Didn’t I shed enough tears for a challenging project? I asked God, “Didn’t I pray enough Lord?”
Did you not pronounce victory for your children? Is it not your will to share your glory with your people? Have I not been faithful enough for you to deprive me of that point something?
I have learned answers to these questions by theory. I knew Romans 8:281 and Proverbs 3:52. But instead of rationalizing with Bible verses, I chose to grieve over it for a night and cried out to God in utter honesty.
I have done my part, yes. God knows I did. Even more than the people around me, God has seen my hard work, my determination, my willingness to glorify Him by doing my best in school. Modesty aside, I have also not cheated in any examination, assignment, project, activity, name it. Whenever things got very difficult, I would cry in prayer, seek godly counsel and move on. Despite the many hardships under the BSE English program, I enjoyed my student life. I lived it to the fullest in the most diligent and honest way I knew. So what went wrong?
At that moment, all I could do was ask and tell God what was in my heart. I was scared to get some spiritual impression because I did not know if I could believe it. The issue was not mere academic, it was very spiritual.
Before I went to bed that day, I asked God to make me understand. The next morning, my spirit was so heavy within me, I decided to read the Bible. I was reading Isaiah 44. I didn’t get any specific insight but I felt comfort. I still did not understand but I chose to trust Him. That day, I was to have lunch with a friend who was yet to know if she could graduate or not. When I arrived in school, with a tight hug, she told me she could. We had prayed about it and in our lunch together, we celebrated God’s favor upon us with laughter and a prayer. For a time, I forgot about my point something.
By this juxtapositioning, I realized that God indeed gives and takes away. He always has the last say in everything. His will is not determined by anyone’s opinion or understanding. He does things based on His sovereign will and sometimes, it is hard to comprehend it.
As time went by, I hung on the notion that I could trust in His goodness, and that He never does anything against my well-being. I went home from church one day starting to relearn the truth that though I could try my best in doing things, God’s will is still sovereign. If He deemed it necessary for me to not receive that award, then so be it. God in his omnipotence could just stretch that GPA, to make me happy, but He did not. He could but He did not - which led me to realize that God’s ultimate will for me is not happiness, but holiness. To be holy is to trust Him, to remain humble, to praise Him, to thank Him despite any circumstance.
I will never know what would happen had I been a part of the honor roll. But I can only guess. Could it have made me proud? Could it have affected my plans for the future? Could it have changed the way I look at myself?
Where I am now (even without the award) is where God wanted me to be and this is not the end of my story. God will use both my defeats and victories to mold me into the kind of person I ought to be. I will be shaped by the steps that I take, the attitude that I develop, the insight that I hold on to, out of my not being in the honor roll and many other events in my life. If I participate with God, then He can make something good out of it.
I realized that God’s love does not only give, it also withholds. If withholding that point something will do me good then He will do it. He knows it will hurt me and he takes the risk that I will be disappointed in Him for a time but He will do it anyway.
With that point something come a new attitude, a humbler spirit, and an exercised faith. Ultimately, it is Him who will give the final judgment:
“.. But my work seems so useless! I have spent from my strength for nothing and to no purpose. Yet I leave it all in the Lord’s hand; I will trust God for my reward.” (Isaiah 49:4)
Besides, I said I did my best in school; I enjoyed it and became intimate with God along the way. I have met wonderful people and through these things, God has made me into the kind of person I ought to be at this point in my life. These are my rewards – down-to-earth and undisclosed, yet priceless and eternal. To God be the glory!
1 “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.”
2 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding.”