Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The Timed Test

Have you ever taken one of those timed tests?  You know the kind, where you have a seemingly endless list of difficult questions, and only a certain number of minutes in which to complete the test, or as much of it as you are able?  I have taken a few in my time, and sometimes the test flies by and you wonder why they have given you so much time.  Other tests are so hard that you could swear that they have shortened the time when you were not looking, and you struggle to finish what you are able to accomplish in the time allotted.  Then, there is the test that seems quite doable, but as you progress in the test, you find it so challenging that you pray for the time to run out so you can simply stop testing.

Life is a timed test.  We have no idea how long it is, or how difficult it can or will be.  Sometimes it seems like you will have all the answers finished long before you run out of time.  Sometimes it seems like you will never be able to answer all of the questions.  But most of the time, life is a difficult test.  Just when you think you have it squared away, you turn the page and new challenges confront you.

I find myself hoping, at times, that the time runs out and I can quit testing.  I miss those who have finished the test ahead of me and are no longer there to kibitz with.  I find some of the questions tiresome, and some of them just too painful to keep answering.  Mostly, I find it frustrating that instead of feeling more competent as time goes on, I feel less capable.

The Gospel is such a wonderful thing.  It tells me that I never was capable, and God knew it.  Sometimes it feels like the point of the test is to run out of gas and finally know that the only passing grade is a gift from the test administrator.  The longer I sit and test, the more certain I am that I have little to offer the testing process.  I cannot quit early, they mark that down as a failure, but I certainly long for the day I can lay down my pencil and turn the test papers in, and go out and join my friends and family who have completed the test before me.  I am sure they are just waiting for me to join them so we can celebrate together.

Oh well.  Back to the test.  It seems I have a few more questions to answer, and who knows how much time yet to get it done.

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