According to anyone, that’s a failing grade. Yeah, I failed my final. I don’t even have a valid excuse. These things happen. Welcome to a world where we have very little control. In light of the last quarter of my undergraduate beginning this week, I thought I would share with you a story filled with stupidity, bad luck, and somehow a reflection of the gospel. Regardless of your beliefs, I invite you to listen to this story. I failed a final and still made it into my major. Praise God.
For context, I actually wrote this post a long time ago. I do not have an exact date but it was sometime around summer 2019. As I post it now, though I’ve changed some things, I’ve tried to keep my original wording and voice. Take it from yours truly, you can’t do everything. You can’t predict every situation. To my friend who believes they can do anything you put your mind to, this also applies to you. Be warned, my friend.
Let me give you the rundown of what happened. This was my intro to electrical circuits class (EE 215) which I took winter quarter 2019. I enjoyed the class. I thought I knew what was going on. Actually, let me first argue that I did know what was going on, I got nearly 100 percent on both midterms. I received full credit on all the labs. Those high grades were not purely luck. I took it seriously and put a tremendous amount of work into the class.
It was known that the questions on the final were taken strictly from the textbook, just like the midterm questions. Essentially, if you knew how to solve every problem, you’d ace the final. From looking at my midterm grades, I would say that I knew how to do most of the problems. That was the cardinal issue. The six problems on the final were six problems I could not solve. Imagine those odds. I remember scanning the problems, realizing I was doomed, and carefully whispering a prayer to God. Except it was more of a “God, what the heck, man?” conversation rather than anything David had prayed in the Psalms, anyway.
Moments where the unthinkable, unimaginable, and unforgivable happens. That’s the cue to directly pull from Scripture without including context, right? That’s when we say things like “The bible says that Jesus is for us and not against us, how could this happen?” I’ll let you look up the context on that one.
18 percent is what I received on that final. Imagine your grade dropping from a 3.9 to a 2.8 because of that final. Can you imagine losing that 3.9 in a matter of two hours? Can you imagine losing months of hard work in 120 minutes? Can you imagine one test ruining your grade? I understand that my rhetorical questions are a little over the top, but some of my friends reading this, can empathize with me. To my friends who put a majority of their worth in their grades, reading this is your nightmare. I remember walking back from campus hoping that this was only a nightmare.
When I received my grade back I was instantly reminded that there is nothing in this world I have certainty over. Though we hate admitting it, a lot of things that happen in our lives are a result of luck, if you want to put it that way. I did not choose my parents. As a kid, I did not choose the house, school district, or siblings that I would grow up with. Sure, with working out and dieting, yes a lot of that is a result of me being disciplined and motivated, but what I refrain from sharing is I have been blessed with good genetics. I do not enjoy admitting it because genetics is something I cannot control. I want to be able to say, “Hey, look at me! I did it completely on my own. This is only because of me” but the truth is I do not give enough credit to my genetics and the body that has been created for me.
When the impossible happens and all I see is an imperfect and unpredictable world I am reminded of the question, “Where do you put your worth?” If you look in the mirror and above all see yourself as “a 4.0 student”, “a programmer”, “a body-builder”, “a good friend”, what happens when the unexpected takes place? What happens when you fail a class? What happens when you unexpectedly lose your job? What happens when you get injured? What happens when your friend decides they no longer want a relationship with you? Be brutally honest with yourself. Where do you put your worth? “That won’t happen to me. I’m more careful. I’m more intentional.” Accidents happen. What happens when you do everything right and still get the wrong outcome?
Can I paint a beautiful picture for you? The only certainty and consistency I have are found in Jesus and who He is. When you place your worth in Jesus, none of these earthly things matter. If you declare that He is Lord, you know that He loves you more than you can ever imagine and His love is never-changing. You know that He sees everything you can and can’t see. You know He has the perfect plan for you. You know that as long as you declare Jesus is Lord, you are saved as Romans 10:9 puts it. It is faith alone in Jesus alone and believing that He is Lord. Placing your worth in Jesus means You know His plan is greater even if you lose the grade, lose the job, lose the gains, lose the friends. You see that everything on earth is temporary and nothing even compares to what’s to come. Now of course, when these things happen, they still hurt. Despite where you put your worth when the unexpected happens, these moments are still filled with pain. Yet your identity does not take a hit when you truly place your worth in Jesus because you are still made in His image and you have been given worth because of Christ alone.
You realize though that none of this truly matters if Jesus is not who he claimed to be. This beautiful picture of the gospel is absolutely meaningless if the Bible is filled with fallacies and lies. I am not here telling you this because my goal is to trap you into accepting Jesus and the “good parts” of Scripture. I do not follow the gospel because it makes me feel good. I do not follow the gospel simply because I grew up in a Christian household. I follow it because after searching everything about how the world came to be, I was overwhelmed with the consistency and presence of Scripture in the creation of our universe. I follow Jesus because after weeks of research there is no other way I can explain the complexity and accuracy that the Bible has that no other religion has. Would you deeply consider who this Jesus guy is? I urge you to let the Bible speak for itself. I know Christians do not have the greatest reputation, I included, which is why I ask that you take the Bible as it is and not for these misinterpretations. Because if this Jesus guy is who he claimed to be, that changes everything about your life and why you were created. Just something to consider. Jesus can change everything.
“For the love of Christ controls and compels us, because we have concluded this, that One died for all, therefore all died; 15 and He died for all, so that all those who live would no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and was raised for their sake.16 So from now on we regard no one from a human point of view [according to worldly standards and values]. Though we have known Christ from a human point of view, now we no longer know Him in this way. 17 Therefore if anyone is in Christ [that is, grafted in, joined to Him by faith in Him as Savior], he is a new creature [reborn and renewed by the Holy Spirit]; the old things [the previous moral and spiritual condition] have passed away. Behold, new things have come [because spiritual awakening brings a new life]. 18 But all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ [making us acceptable to Him] and gave us the ministry of reconciliation [so that by our example we might bring others to Him], 19 that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting people’s sins against them [but canceling them]. And He has committed to us the message of reconciliation [that is, restoration to favor with God].” 2 Cor. 5:14-19
All glory to God. Thank you for reading.