3 days to go. It's quite strange, don't you think, how time becomes quite warped when we're waiting in anticipation of something? Our perception of time becomes shaped by our eagerness, or anxiety, as that certain moment dawns. So it is with exams, when I measure time by counting the days till I have to go into the exam hall, fancy suit and all. I remember using this point as an illustration when I spoke on Titus 2:11-14
some 8 months ago - wow, has it really been that long? - to show how we should be people of hope, waiting for a kairos
time, if you like. Just think, the exams are only over a period of 2 weeks, merely a tiny, albeit significant, time of our lives, which we nonetheless magnify and elongate.
I'm still nervous, though. And feeling thoroughly unprepared.
I have 7 papers. 6 technically, but one is split into (a) and (b), so yeah, 7. All bar one are three-hour, essay-based papers, in which I have to answer 3 questions for each paper. All my papers are in the morning. Next week, I have one paper a day every weekday; I didn't realise how gruelling that was until my friend, upon hearing what my schedule sounds like, exclaimed, "Wow, that's pretty hardcore!". So, errr, yeah. I get a break from Saturday-Tuesday and then have a paper on Wednesday(24/5), and my final paper on Thursday!
My first paper is a theory paper - I'm pretty nervous about that, since the questions look difficult and we've had minimal practice on this one. My second is Shakespeare, and then Paper 3 is the medieval paper (Chaucer et al.) which is split into two, so 3(b) is a commentary paper - basically practical criticism. The rest of my papers are Renaissance (that's Shakespeare's period, so Marlowe etc.), Restoration (think Defoe, Bunyan etc.) and the Romantics (a very rich period, with figures such as Austen, Coleridge etc.).
I was also thinking that as I prepare for these exams, I have been perhaps overly timid in my prayers for them. For those of us who grew up in church, we must have heard that dictum about how God isn't a genie so won't give us the Ferrari just because we pray for it a 1000 times. I think I took that and subconsciously allowed a distorted version to seep into my mind, thinking it better not to ask God for anything. Being rather erratic lately with my prayer times doesn't help, and again, guilt creeps in when I do come and pray, for I approach like a dog who has his tail between his legs 'cause he's just been caught nibbling at the steak on the table.
But that's not gospel-driven thinking, is it? Since God is our Father, and a generous one at that, it certainly is not wrong to cry out to him for help. And our guilt doesn't diminish either his sovereignty or generosity. And as we recognise the lavish grace the Father has poured on us, our response should be one of gratitude and a willingness to be more like our Rescuer. And so I should pray, with boldness, and with humility, over my exams and to keep in step with the Spirit in combating idleness, anxiety, and guilt.
Actually want to say more on other things, but am starting to feel tired. I'm grateful for some I know who have been praying for me - thanks. And for others who have exams coming up as well, am wishing you all the best too!