“Semester finals are Friday, and I really need your prayers,” a fellow church member stated. I had heard similar prayer requests from other members. Each time I thought, You need to study, not pray. As far back as elementary school, learning came easy to me. I had difficulty understanding why others struggled with what I perceived to be simple assignments. They don’t apply themselves, I surmised.
I had recently completed my master’s degree in education with high marks. The only thing standing between myself and a substantial pay raise was the successful completion of my master’s final exam which I was scheduled to complete in a couple of weeks. And of course, I saw that as no problem.
When exam day arrived, confident anticipation filled my spirit. This is it, I thought as I entered the library. I inhaled deeply and took my seat at a table near the front of the room. The proctor distributed the test. I eagerly opened my booklet; I analyzed my essay question. I couldn’t have gotten a better question if I had written it myself.
As I wrote, all the knowledge I had accumulated scrambled together. I struggled to put my thoughts down in a lucid manner. When I finished my answer, I decided to rewrite it to make it more coherent. Before I completed the rewrite, the exam time ended.
I crammed my partially finished rewrite in with my jumbled completed answer. My cocky confidence overrode the inner inkling that I needed to worry. I rationalized the professors would be so impressed with the abundance of information I had written on my topic, that I had nothing to fret about. Two weeks later, when I received my score through the mail, reality set in. I had done what I believed I couldn’t—I had failed.
Scripture describes a time in the apostle Peter’s life in which he had done what he thought he couldn’t as well. On the night Jesus instituted the Lord’s Supper, He predicted all the disciples would be made to stumble because of Him (Mark 14:27). Peter in his overzealous confidence responded,
“Even if all are made to stumble, yet I will not be” Mark 14:29 (NKJV).
Peter was so sure of himself he proclaimed emphatically that if he had to die with Christ, he would not deny Him (Mark 14:31).
God, in His omniscience, had zeroed in on a weakness in Peter’s character, as He had mine. Through humbling circumstances, Jesus allowed Satan to sift Peter, pruning the pride that would prevent him from becoming the leader of the early church God intended him to be. Along with Jesus’ prediction of Peter’s denial, was that of his restoration in answer to His prayer for him. After his repentance, he was to be used to bring the other disciples to a restored relationship with the Lord (Luke 22:31-32).
Is there an area in your life in which you’ve grown self-sufficient, overly confident, or adamant that you couldn’t fall into temptation concerning it? Often we can identify these areas by the lack of time we spend in prayer over them. If the Holy Spirit brings something to mind, ask the Father to prune that tendency from your heart, using whatever means is necessary so that you may fulfill the purposes He has for your life.
Copyright © 2019 Veda Thomas Lucas, used with permission.