As much as we were praying it would go by as slowly as possible, Thanksgiving break flew by in a blur. Now we find ourselves back on our college campus, with the weight of final exams upon us. This is usually the time where we can feel the stress and anxiety building up inside us. With Christmas in just a little over three weeks, final exams are indisputably the last thing we want to be thinking about. Unfortunately, they are inescapable and it will be in our own favor if we make the decision to put in our best effort. If you feel the impending stress already threatening your sanity, here are seven wonderful Bible verses to serve as an encouragement and gentle reminder:
1) “I keep my eyes always on the Lord. With Him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.” (Psalm 16:8)
Keep your eyes faithfully on the Lord. Only He can fill the void, only He can give you true peace. The enemy wants you to fret and worry, but too much worry reflects a lack of trust. Trust that God will carry you through anything, as long as you keep your eyes on Him, and keep Him at your right hand.
2) “When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. In God, Whose Word I praise – in God, I trust and am not afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?” (Psalm 56:3-4)
Final exams can be stressful but do not allow them to have control over you, for they will only be as stressful as you make them. We need to praise God and His Word, put our trust in Him, and understand that if we do not get as high of a grade as we were hoping for, whether it be on an exam or on how we are living our lives daily, it is not the end of the world. For God is gracious and merciful enough to give us more opportunities to grow.
3) “The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace” (Romans 8:6)
We should strive to keep our minds set on Him and His will. If we focus on the godless things of this world and neglect to give God the glory and praise that He more than deserves, we should not expect to be blessed inside and out. If we allow ourselves to be guided and led by the Holy Spirit, and to not lean on our own understanding, but trust Him above all else, we will find ourselves in a place surrounded by His love and peace.
4) “Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer” (Romans 12:11-12).
Prayer is extremely important and we should engage in it every day, but we cannot sit back, neglect to work diligently, and expect to receive good grades for the entirety of our exams. Rather, we should pray for God to help us prepare well through the material and to give us peace throughout the period.
5) “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.” (Colossians 3:23-24).
As followers of Christ, we should aim to get good grades, not to please other people, but because we yearn to do everything as though we are doing it for Christ. It is He who we should be living for, and who we should be primarily wanting to please and glorify. Whatever we do, let us work with all our might and endeavor to honor Him first and foremost with our hard work.
6) “A sluggard’s appetite is never filled, but the desires of the diligent are fully satisfied” (Proverbs 13:4).
In other words, a lazy person wants much but will receive little, but those who work hard and diligently for the Lord will prosper. We should not slack off and revert to indolence, expecting God to do all the work. Rather, we should allow the beautiful Word of God to motivate and encourage us to put in the work and effort, and do so with a joyful heart.
7) “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7).
Our God is so good; He remains faithful to us even when we make mistakes and stumble over our own two feet. The Bible tells us in the book of James to rejoice in trials, because they help us to persevere, and they bring us closer to Him. Have faith that the God who created the universe and knit us together will carry us through anything that burdens us. This goes beyond mere final exams, it delves into the trials that we will face in the world and in our daily lives. As Christians, we must accept that God never said our lives would be easy. In fact, He tells us “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. In this world, you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). We will face things far more challenging than something as small as final exams, therefore we must embrace every challenge we face and treat it as a blessing and an opportunity to grow, strengthen and mature in our faith.
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What is the issue?
I must confess that during exams, I sometimes find myself spending less time with God.
Tired from hours of cramming, I start getting too tired to spend time with God after a long day’s work. I begin to lose my priorities. I unintentionally pack my days so full with study that there’s no room left for him. Before I know it, my usual routine of setting aside time for the Lord each day flies out the window. It’s not an intentional decision to turn from God… but an insidious process that happens when I lose my priorities in the face of looming barrier exams.
But every year when this happens, one particular verse comes back to me and grabs my attention. It is a famous one which has been the recurring theme of my medical school life for the last five years:
Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.
When I remember this passage, I remember what is really important in life. I realise anew what is the true key to success. What amount of human effort can ever be more effective than the help that God gives to anyone who seeks his kingdom?
Every time I’ve tried to live my life in accordance with this passage, I’ve seen God do things which I thought weren’t possible. This whole blog is a testimony of those stories. Now, as I look back after five years of exams, I realise again that my success in exams so far has come from seeking the Lord, not from trying to achieve out of my own human strength.
So with my final exams of medical school coming up in six days, I’ve decided to post a collection of my favourite Bible verses (categorised by topic) that have helped me through every exam so far from the last five years. These are as much a reminder to myself, as an encourager to other students facing exams.
Lord, help me to take a break from the text books every so often and remember where my greatest help comes from:
My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.
Bible Verses about Stress, Anxiety, and Doubt
So we say with confidence,
“The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid.
What can mere mortals do to me?”