Just like any teenager, I sometimes feel stressed about school. In my sophomore year of high school, I was placed in an astronomy class. I thought I would be learning mostly about the stars, but the class turned out to be about the planets, and focused heavily on long lists of numbers relating to their masses, distances from the sun, and other measurements. When I was given a sheet of these numbers, my teacher told us we would have a test on them—all 108 of them! At first I thought he was joking, but the test really was coming and I was really nervous. And not only was I worried about that astronomy test; I found out I had a chemistry test on the same day. Two science tests in one day!
Instead of focusing on studying, I panicked about the test. How was I supposed to memorize those numbers and study for chemistry as well? I tried to study as much as possible, but I still felt very worried the night before the tests. As I got ready for bed, this thought came to me: "Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding" (Prov. 3:5). I knew God had sent this angel message to me when I needed it the most. I prayed with this idea that God would take care of me, and that I didn't need to be nervous about taking my tests.
The next morning I was still agitated, and although I tried to focus on the quote, I felt quite overwhelmed as I started to take the astronomy test. I was through 50 or so questions out of 200 when a fire drill went off. It lasted so long that my teacher decided to give us another day to take the test. I felt relieved that I had another night to study, but I still had to take my chemistry test. Unfortunately, I was still feeling nervous two periods later as I took the test, and even though I felt I understood the concepts, I felt upset with myself after I finished.
That night, as I sat down to review for the rest of my astronomy test the next day, I thought again about the Bible verse that reads, "Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding" (Prov. 3:5). I knew I had to trust God and understand myself as a reflection of infinite Mind.
I knew I had to trust God and understand myself as a reflection of infinite Mind.
As I thought about this, I began getting little flashes of inspiration with different ideas on how to study. Rather than trying to memorize all 108 numbers, I started creating little acronyms to help me remember the information. And I kept praying to know that I was doing my part to excel in my tests, and that I couldn't be punished for studying hard and doing my best. The feeling of worry subsided, and I felt confident the next day as I finished the astronomy test.
A couple of days later, I got my scores back and discovered that I had scored highly on both tests. I felt that God had cared for me in this instance, and I thought about Mary Baker Eddy's assertion in Science and Health that "trials are proofs of God's care" (p. 66). I felt that even though my tests had been huge academic trials, I had been rewarded with a clearer sense of God's support.
I learned some important spiritual and academic lessons from this experience. Now when I go to study for a test, the first thing I remind myself to do is to "trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding."
Before I start to study, I think about how God wants only the best for me and will help me figure out the best way to study and retain the knowledge for my test. On test days, I wear a ring that says "faith" to remind myself of God's care and His omniscience. The nervousness I felt during those two tests has been replaced by calmness and confidence. It is comforting to know that no matter what tasks are at hand, God is always with you. As the saying goes, "If God brings you to it, He will bring you through it."
The Sentinel's Teen Editor, Jenny Nelles.wants to read about your ideas and experiences.Send her an e-mail! email@example.com Subject: Sentinel teens
Catherine Smith is a senior in high school. She lives in Cary, North Carolina.
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