During my devotional time I read Jesus' words where He told His disciples to ask for anything in His name and He would give it to them (John 16:16-ff). A random thought crossed my mind while reading this passage of Scripture. "I wonder if Jesus meant His words for just the disciples or if His words still apply to us today." I think that's a fair question given that all my life I've been told that the Bible is our guide for life today. I know some people who would tell you that everything that happened, that was said and that people did in the Bible is still 100% LITERALLY applicable to today. This is why some churches practice feet washing and others have women who cover their heads. I believe there were some culturally relevant things in Jesus' day that aren't applicable today, such as head coverings. I don't think all scripture is to be taken literally (Jesus knew how to speak figuratively and often did). And for the record, I DO believe the Bible is our guide for life today.
That all having been said, when I got to my prayer time I reminded God of what Jesus said and asked Him to have me pass my computer final test on the first try. Jesus said to ask for anything in His name, so I did.
SIDE NOTE: Yes it is completely possible and probable that Jesus was speaking specifically in terms relating to spiritual matters in the John passage.
After the prayer I hit the computer and started taking the test. It was hard and I didn't feel like it was well written. I struggled, but I pushed through and answered all the questions. An hour and half later I hit the submit button, held my breath and watched as the super fast computer program calculated my answers.
The results came back: I had 79% correct. You gotta have 80% to pass.
Hmmm. What happened here? Maybe God didn't answer the prayer? Maybe I didn't believe enough - remember the passage that says you gotta believe it for it to happen? I thought about this for sometime.
I know there are people who, given the same situation would curse God and put the blame on Him. They prayed. Jesus said He'd give you whatever you asked for and BOOM - nothing. I used to be like that, but I think that is an immature Christian response. I have come to understand that God's interest in these kinds of things has more to do with growing us than just rubber stamping a bunch of prayer requests with a big "YES".
So what was I going to do? Get all mad at God and blame Him or go back and face the reality of the situation? Fact was, I hadn't studied enough. I hadn't done MY part. Sure God could have taken me right through the test. 100%. An "A" the first time, but what good would that do? I mean, if I'm going to be a great real estate agent (which by the way I do intend to be an amazing real estate agent!) and God just supernaturally made me pass my test, then I would not have learned anything would I? I wouldn't be able to perform the job legally, ethically, knowledgeably. Why is it that we so often want God to do the work for us instead of being grown up enough to buckle down and do our part? I mean, sure I'll pray to God to take away my wife's fibroid tumor, but I don't believe that He expects us to sit back and do nothing about it either.
So lunch came and went. I talked to the dogs (Teddy and Carmel - my new daily companions). They told me it would be okay in their dog kind of way. I felt better. I studied a lot more. I went over what I missed. I learned some things and then I went back and took the test again.
Quick prayer. Work the questions. Hit submit. Super fast computer program calculates and...94%! Oh YES, you'd better believe it. It was like the end of the Indy 500. The crowd went nuts. The white boy stood up from his computer chair and tried to dance. The dogs barked. There was singing. The angles sat up and took notice. It was a momentous 30 seconds.
"Thank you God. Thank you to my wife. I couldn't have done it without the support and love of my family. Thank you Teddy and Carmel"...okay enough of the celebratory speech. Sorry.
So now we move to the next mountain to conquer. I call it the big nasty. It's the final exam in OKC. You have to take it in person. And you have to take proof of who you are and a picture. They're serious about this I can tell. So I head off into 1,000 study questions they're emailing me (that's what the lady said) and a prep school in Tulsa in the morning.
So keep praying for us - Diane is doing pretty well on her medicine. I've made a major accomplishment and have just this one test left to go. Thanks to everyone who's cheering us on and have been so good to back us in this goofy move we're making (or rather God's making) in our lives.
I'll let you know more about the next test soon.
By the way, Teddy and Carmel say "Hey"