I remember my Results day. I remember feeling like a dam was about to burst. I knew that logging in and looking at those three letters could either bring waves of disappointment and worry, or floods of joy.
But since then, I’ve realised that whatever feeling waterfalls over us in times like these, there’s one thing we can remember that gives an underlying confidence and peace: we are where God wants us.
Believing that things are random is a mistruth that can lead us into whirls of anxiety and pressure. But Acts 17 reminds us that nothing is random:
‘From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us.’ (v26-27)
With a careful and steady hand, God shapes our boundaries and times. The grades He gives are designed to put you in a specific location, surrounded by specific people, studying a specific subject – or maybe not continuing to study at all.
I have a friend who didn’t get a grade he needed. His first-choice university didn’t accept him so he ended up going elsewhere, enjoying a different subject, serving in a different CU, and even meeting his future wife. Later, his paper was re-marked and brought up to an A, but God had intended that marker’s momentary lapse in judgement – only for a few weeks – so my friend would end up in an entirely different place.
We can have total confidence in the circumstances our grades give us because we know that, like a personally tailored suit, they have been designed just for us.
But I also know others who have struggled and suffered in the place God put them. And it’s easy to question why God would design those particular circumstances. But then I remembered…
… Joseph was where God wanted him, not just when he was sitting on the highest seat of Egyptian government but also when he was in a dungeon for two years.
… Ruth was where God wanted her not just when she happened upon the field of her future husband, Boaz, but when she was in a strange country with no husband, no work and no food.
In both good and bad circumstances, God is a loving father who always works for the good of His children (Romans 8:28). In all circumstances, He wants us to ‘reach out for him and find him’ (Acts 17:27) – even in hard times, like how he used jail to humble Joseph. Or for reasons we’ll never know, like how Ruth never knew she was to join Jesus’ lineage.
So even if you in are unexpected and unideal circumstances after receiving your grades, you can have peace because you know that it’s a loving God who has marked out your place.
Therefore, receiving grades we can have confidence and peace that goes beyond circumstances and underneath every feeling.
Beyond first or second choice universities, under sadness or happiness, disappointment or relief we know that God is the true marker – so we can be confident and assured, even if we’re hurting.
Instead of allowing the illusion of randomness to steal our peace, let’s use this confidence to press into whatever’s coming with prayerful, God-honouring intentionality, like Joseph and Ruth.
Gina is a former Relay Worker and current trainee counsellor in Exeter. She spends lots of her spare time opening the Bible with and cooking chillie for the students at St Thomas Baptist Church.
If you’re heading off to university in September, why not get in touch with your CU today? They can’t wait to meet you and get to know you before term begins: www.uccf.org.uk/starting-uni
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