Examine yourselves to see if your faith is genuine. Test yourselves. Surely you know that Jesus Christ is among you; if not, you have failed the test of genuine faith.

2 Corinthians 13:5 NLT

Before I go into story time, I would like to sincerely apologize. I thought Mother’s Day was May 3rd, it’s May 10th. But if you celebrated it early like I did, great! If you are waiting or corrected me, thank you for still reading my blog despite the mess up. I got a little too excited for it and wanted to tell my mom I loved her. So again, I apologize for the misinformation. Back to Story Time!

So, this is an actual story in my life (before the whole quarantine thing). I have a class of seven kids, age range of eight to nine. Just to give you the idea of the dynamic in this class, there are six girls and one boy. It was testing day and the kids were freaking. Well, most of them were. The queen of the class was not.  She came bursting into the class, late, posing like Elsa because of her new Elsa costume. The shyest girl in class follows silently behind her. Everyone, but the boy who is freaking out about the test in his chair, admires the queen’s dress. I call everyone to their seats so we can review for the test.

Now, the test I have to give are mostly oral with four writing questions. To correctly take the test, I have to pull them out one by one into the hall. It was panic inducing for some of the kids, especially for this class. So, before I do the actual testing, I review with the students as a group. I change the questions up a bit to review the content we learned, or I just speak horrible English and let them fix it. Well, the shyest girl wasn’t participating, but she was gripping her chair really hard. Her knuckles were red and her shoulders were hiked up to her ears.

I sat down in front of her, and asked her a question. It was a question that was on the test, but I hoped that she could see that she could do it. She started to answer, her words quiet and shaky as she looked to her lap. I softly praised her and began nodding my head, but since she wasn’t looking at me it didn’t help. She was still struggling. Then the loudest whisper I ever heard came from the other end of the row.

The queen herself was leaning out of her chair and attempting to whisper the answer. It wasn’t the exact answer, so the boy blurted out the correct answer. The queen let out a little oh, before whispering the boy’s answer. The shy girl glanced at the queen, eyebrows furrowed. I guess the other girls thought she couldn’t hear the loud whisper, so they began “whispering” the answer in time with the queen. The boy even joined in.

Now they’re old enough to know that you don’t speak or cheat on a test. Review is a different matter. They’re in a group, they’re allowed to help. So, I just sat back and let out a giggle at how quiet everyone was not. Even my assistant was smiling.

The shy girl finally looked to me. I nodded, a smile on my face, before I silenced everyone and asked her the question again. She was still quiet and her words came out slowly when responding, but she was able to look at me. I praised her and nodded. When the time for her test came, and she saw that the question we practiced was on it, her shoulders dropped and she let out a breath. She passed the test with a very high score (higher than the queen’s too), but for me, the best thing was that she stopped gripping her chair, for most of the test.

REAL TALK:

I love being a teacher. It has taught me so much about God and it continues to. I used to be one of those kids that panicked during tests. When I read scriptures where it said God tests us, I would freak out and think about all the ways I could fail. When I became a teacher, I dreaded test days even more because now they affected my job and I had to deal with panicked students. But God showed me a different way to look at it.

My job isn’t to test them on content, it’s to make sure that they are getting better. Even if they fail at the content, if they are able to not stutter, hey they got better. Them knowing the content is my test. Was there a better way I could have teach them the content, or did I focus on the right parts of the content? That’s my test. And I can’t force the kids to know something that I didn’t teach them. I can’t cheat on the tests. I just have to know that the kids know what I taught them. If it’s on the test or not.

God examining us, is similar to that. He’s ensuring that we are better, and trying to see what He needs to show us differently. But most importantly He’s showing us that we can do it. The shy girl knew the content, she could do the test and I knew this. I believed in her. She didn’t. She was so panicked that she didn’t even look to me for the answer. I don’t know exactly why, but it was heartbreaking to watch. Because I knew she knew it, and if she looked at me, she could see that she was on the right track. But she didn’t.

The queen did, though. She helped the shy student by pulling her out of her panic. While not correct, I loved that moment because instead of letting a fellow student suffer, the queen knew she could do something to help so she did. That was what probably encouraged the boy to correct the queen’s answer. So, thanks to the queen’s bravery, everyone was ensured one right answer to the test. But that wasn’t what made me smile. What made me smile was that these kids, were able to see past their panic, to help each other. All thanks to the bravery of one.

God examines our hearts, but He never tells us that we’re alone. In fact, He states that it’s not good for man to be alone. This is a group test. We can help each other, if we are brave enough to do the right thing. If we are willing to build each other up. Yes, some of us are choosing to fail because it’s easier. Some of us panic and end up messing up even more. But remember to look to the teacher. God is encouraging you to the right answer. And if you’re too scared to look to God, look to those who are brave enough to do what they think is right. It may not be right, but at least they were brave enough to present what they have. Let that courage inspire your own. Let go of your chair and look to the teacher, to God. So that the next time the one who is speaking out, helping out and doing the right thing confidently, is you.  

Dear brothers and sisters, I close my letter with these last words: Be joyful. Grow to maturity. Encourage each other. Live in harmony and peace. Then the God of love and peace will be with you.

2 Corinthians 13:11 NLT

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