Saturday, May 5, 2012

AHHHH, FINALS!! (or, an Attempt to Bring Things Up to Speed: Part II)

     So, as the title suggests, I am currently studying for finals (or rather, distracting myself from studying for finals). You may be wondering why I even have finals if I graduated over a year ago, and that is a perfectly reasonable query for I have not yet revealed to my (small, but existent) group of readers a crucial update: I went back to school. Being a prospective medical student, I have come to terms with the fact that this will probably be a recurring event throughout my life (or at least for the next decade or so). Counselors from various medical schools across the state have all given me the same advice: to raise my GPA as much as possible, get more clinical experience, and strive for the highest MCAT score possible. Which, although appreciated greatly, is not easy stuff to take in. My brain translates their well-intended advise to "Hey, I know you've worked your butt off in your undergrad studies, survived studying and taking the MCAT with a pretty decent score, and through persistent bugging of every physician you know, gotten the most shadowing and experience HIPAA will allow you to. However, it's just not good enough."

    Taking their advise led me to taking some more upper-level science classes at a public college nearby, Georgia Highlands College (formerly known as Floyd College). My posion? Anatomy I and II. At the same time. It initially included Medical Microbiology too. At the same time. But my class section was cancelled due to a small number of participants. Skipping to the present time, I am infinitely glad that it didn't work out to take all three because studying for just these two finals is really taking it's toll. I know, I know. Some of you are studying for like a hundred finals right now and would trade with me in a heartbeat! I feel your pain (I've been there), and my prayers go out to you! Anyway, I've been studying human anatomy and physiology for the past couple months (and I've actually been loving it, despite the stress), and now have to recall it all in two cumulative finals, after which I am free! Temporarily. And not totally. But still.

     It's during finals and thinking about my next steps in getting into medical school that my relationship with the LORD really takes a beating. No matter how many times He's helped me get through tough tests and provided for me financially, physically, and spiritually, when times get rough the doubting inevitably starts, and I fall back into anxiety. I start questioning myself and my life, start regretting not doing better during my undergrad studies, wishing I was more secure financially, etc. The kind of questions and worries Satan loves to pitch at me, and laughs when I swing and miss, guiding me to worldly things for comfort (Angry Birds, food, Facebook, Twitter, anything he can make me turn to instead of God). Why is it that despite all the wonderful things God does for us, we are so prone to turn away from Him when hard times come?

     God has never let me fall! God has blessed me with an honorable, Holy, captivating, gorgeous wife! God has provided my family with jobs, and never let us go without food, water, or shelter. God has helped us combat everything that has come our way, exactly when we needed it the most. Will not this same perfect, Holy, sovereign God rescue me from my anxieties and pave a path for His perfect will for my life? Absolutely! Will he let fall? Never! Will He provide and care for me (and my family)? Always!

     Why, oh why, then, is it so easy to forget and doubt that He will pull through for me? Reading in the old testament (part of my reading the Bible in a Year goal via YouVersion) has provided me with some insight to this question. I used to think of the Old Testament as being all about God's wrath, as if He was always an angry God of justice before Christ came. I soon have found that this is NOT the case. The Old Testament (and New Testament (and the world as it is even now!)) tells of countless stories that follow the pattern I see in my own life:

  1. God rescues and provides 
  2. His people follow Him obediently & with thanks, but soon forget about what He's done for them
  3. His people are tempted to abandon Him and live in sin, and do so
  4. God gets angry (and rightfully so!) and disciplines
  5. His people repent and ask for His help
  6. God forgives them
  7. Repeat Steps 1-6
     Without fail, as far as I've read so far, God's people trap themselves into this pattern, and I'm not any different sometimes. I can't help, sometimes, feel like Gideon when He says this to an angel of God:
"If the LORD is with us, why has all this happened to us? And where are all the miracles our ancestors told us about? Didn't they say, 'The LORD brought us up out of Egypt'"? - Judges 6:13
     I hate to admit it, but caught up in Satan's lies, my "out of sight, out of mind" mindset kicks in and I quickly forget how MIGHTY our God is, and all the wondrous things He has done for me. I forget how unfailingly He provides for His people and holds them in His loving, Fatherly arms. He knows His plans for me, and they are plans "to prosper me and not to harm me, plans to give me a hope and a future!" (Jeremiah 29:11). Now, if I would only submit myself to Him and let Him guide me into that life! Thank the LORD for Jesus Christ, who is the ONLY way for me to do that. God knows as a human I am unable to serve Him by myself (Joshua 24:19). I am way too prone to turn to those things I have mentioned before. And yet still He longs to show me mercy and grace (Isaiah 30:18)! He wants me to have life, and have it to the full so He sent His son, Jesus, as the permanent sacrifice for the forgiveness of my sin, so that absolutely NOTHING could separate me from His unending love.

Worried about finals? Psh. God is bigger than your finals! Give it to all Him! He's already figured it out and has it all laid out for you! He desperately wants you to take hold of it!