Divine Help: The Final Exam

A Tough College Course Load

Female student studying while stretched out in a yellow hammock.I was a newborn baby Christian at the start of my sophomore year at Michigan State. Foolishly, I had signed up for three science classes and a heavy writing course during the fall term.

Not too bright; especially since I wasn’t disciplined in my study habits. I’d coasted through high school. The college workload had been a real shock.

The homework assignments almost swamped me. Every science lecture stuffed my brain with new complex concepts, and the writing assignments took a tremendous amount of time.

How Not to Study a Science Course

My worst subject was Organic Chemistry. Looking back, I should have used the 3-D modeling kit, but I didn’t. Similar to tinker toys, this kit actually allowed each student to build a fake 3-D “molecule” that could be handled and rotated. It would have helped my imagination “see” the organic configurations much more easily.

Wisdom often sees wonderfully in hindsight.

I would have also done better studying this subject if I hadn’t kept doing my chemistry book assignments while lying down. Too often, I fell asleep before I’d finished reading the first two pages.

Finals week began and I knew I was going to flunk Organic Chem. I finished my last writing assignment very late Monday night. My final exam was at 12 noon on Tuesday and I’d had almost no time to study.

As I sat in that lecture hall, I knew I was doomed.

Ridiculous Obedience

As a baby Christian, about the only thing I had learned was that you were supposed to thank God in all circumstances.

So I started thanking God that I was about to fail Organic Chemistry.

“Lord, thank you that I’m going to flunk Organic Chem. 

I’ve worked for this outcome and I’ve earned it.

I’m getting what I deserve—a failing grade in the final exam and thus the whole course.”

Has obeying God ever made you laugh? Praising the Almighty for flunking actually tickled my sense of the ridiculous and lightened my mood. It was such a silly thing to do; praising God about failing a test.

But God heard me and He answered, very unexpectedly.

Divine Rescue

Beginning Organic Chemistry met in a large lecture hall, with maybe 200-300 students.

Empty chairs in a large college lecture hall.During the midterm exams, the professor made sure students seated next to each other got different colored tests. Half the class might get green and the other half would get yellow or blue. The only difference between these tests was that the same exam questions were scrambled and put on different pages.

It discouraged cheating.

But that day, my professor arrived late to the lecture hall and immediately began writing a message on the screen;

“My secretary has quit and the new one mistakenly created only half the number of test papers needed. I have arbitrarily decided to give the final exam to the students whose last names begin with N-Z. The rest of you will have to reschedule and take your test at a later time.”

In college, my last name began with an H; “Maureen Hall.”

It felt as if a grinning Heavenly Father and I were playing tennis, and the ball was now in my court. I suddenly had six extra hours; I could go to a movie, hang out with my friends, read a magazines—or study Organic Chemistry as if my life depended on it.

Doesn’t that feel like a “fatherly” solution?

God didn’t rescue me out of the mess I’d created; instead, He gave me a window of grace to fix the problem myself.

Well, for six hours, I studied as if my life depended on it. I was still asking my roommate chemistry questions, as I headed out the door that evening to take the test.

My passing grade on the final exam helped me pass the whole course and I came to know my God in a slightly deeper way.

Still, I am sorry about one last decision I made after the course ended.

One Last Regret

To this day, I wish I hadn’t sold my Organic Chemistry book back to the college bookstore. That book was the greatest “sleep aid” I ever knew—and completely non-habit forming.

All digital images are from Pixabay.com


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