First Things First
Today's Miracle Monday is for all you students out there who are facing exams, papers, presentations, and other projects leading up to the Christmas break.
Before my last semester of undergraduate school, I attended the Southwest Area MBA Camp, and the theme was Rock Solid in Christ. During my seminar, the leaders emphasized the importance of reading the scriptures and challenged us to make it a daily habit. I decided to accept the challenge and see what would happen if I tried to read the scriptures every day, no matter what.
Despite the challenges that came with taking my first graduate courses, I did my best to study about one chapter every day before doing my homework. Although I didn’t end up reading scripture every day like I had hoped, that semester turned out to be the period of the most consistent scripture study of my life up to that point (and possibly since). There were many weeks when I read the scriptures so much that I would barely have enough time to do my homework.
As I tried to honor God in this new practice, my grades started coming in very low in one particular class. I was getting regular C’s and D’s on assignments, which was well below the class average in most cases. However, I was determined to stay the course and keep reading scripture.
When the midterm rolled around, I scored 87 percent! To me, that was 100 percent — a miracle. With that score, I figured that I could improve my homework grades and pass the class with a B. I was happy with that, but God had other plans.
As the semester continued, I did worse on my homework, still regularly scoring as much as 30 percent below average, but I kept with the reading challenge.
When finals week came around, I had a plan to study all week. Unfortunately, that fell apart due to unforeseen circumstances. As I started studying the day before the exam, it was very apparent to me that I really needed a full week. I said an earnest prayer, essentially: “God, you don’t owe me a good grade, and I don’t deserve a good grade. But I really made an effort to honor You with my time this semester, and I would really appreciate it if you could help me out here.”
The next day as I sat at my desk waiting for the final, I was asking people around me for last-minute explanations of some of the concepts. When the test began, I barely had enough time to write down just about everything I felt that I knew. After the test ended, everyone was commenting on how impossible it felt.
A few days later, the instructor posted the grades online. The average final exam score was 72 percent. My score was 107 percent.
Before you start thinking that I’m just smart, remember the following facts:
- I scored below average on a majority of the homework, often by several letter grades, and I was not confident in the material.
- I was asking people for last-minute help right before the test, yet I scored better than the people who gave me advice.
- Take my word for it. I could not have achieved that score by my own merits.
As if my exam score was not already enough of a miracle, the instructor said that in his university back in France, if someone did well on the exams, then the homework grades didn’t count, so he averaged my test scores to 97 percent and gave me an A+ for the class.
Although a good grade is nice, making scripture study a habit came with spiritual benefits that far outweighed any grade I could have received. Even if I had gotten a B or C in that class, the peace and joy that comes with having a regular communion with God would have made the scripture challenge worth it by far. To me, the A+ was God’s way of letting me know that reading His word was the right priority and that when I make a small effort to honor Him, He will be with me.
This article has undergone ministry review and approval.