Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The Exam

At the end of every semester it was crunch time! We had attended, listened, worked, partied, and studied little but now it was exam time. For many of our classes the exam was half of our grade! You would think we might have paid better attention, took better notes, and studied more. Yet, we did not. Instead, we would plan these elaborate all-nighters just before an exam. Yes, the night before! For some reason we thought it was smart to saturate our bodies with coffee and study all night to take the tests the next morning on no sleep.

In the words of my wife, "Stupid, stupid people!" In fact it was not the smart thing to do. We all knew it was coming. Why did we not prepare? Why did we act like it was a surprise? Those answers were apparently above our pay grade.

In Luke 4:1-2, we see that Jesus had just finished one of the greatest moments in life in baptism. As he rose from the water the heavens opened and the dove descended. The Father spoke to His Son in whom he was well pleased.

That same Spirit that landed on his shoulder now led Him to the wilderness. He fasted, prayed, and prepared. He was not shocked. He was not surprised. At the end of 40 days he was tested by the Devil.

Why am I so shocked in my own life? Why should I be surprised? After any "big" spiritual moment in my life the Devil hammers me in the weaknesses of my life. The Spirit of God leads us through different mountains and valleys in life. While always our light, He is most useful in the dark places of life. I am not speaking of the seedy spots to which we go. I speak of the desperate moments and experiences such as tragedy, death, loss of job, etc. I speak of those issues you thought were off limits. When we are led to a dark spot we need the light of God more than any other time. Not to say that we are not in need of Him in the good times. It is in those moments that we must praise, adore, and worship to prepare for the moments we encounter that are antithetical to the peace and prosperity gospel being sold to us.

I need God AT ALL TIMES! It is in the best of times that I must remember to study, read, and adhere to the Word of God. In this way, when the exam comes I will not have to pull a spiritual all-nighter. I can rest in the everlasting arms of Jesus because I have studied and shown myself approved. I have learned that dependency on the Word of God and power of the Spirit is like food and water. I cannot live without them and I certainly cannot thrive without them.

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