By ALI BAKER
Tuesday 28 July 2020
I am mindful that this week, my son, like thousands of other young people, should have been finishing his GCSE exams.
The cancellation of exams has been a double-edged sword, as change and disruption to plans often is. On the one hand, he's thankful he doesn't have to go through that period of stress; doesn't have to 'prove' himself in such a one-dimensional manner; and, celebrating his 16th birthday lock-down-version was definitely better than sitting his English Literature paper, which is what he would have been doing!
But on the other hand, there's a sense of loss, displacement, of being in no man's land; an opportunity denied after years of hard work; a feeling that maybe his GCSE results will not be as valid as those achieved in other years (and of most concern, his sister's!).
Change, even fairly trivial change, can be a challenge. There may be conflicting emotions to reconcile, adjustments to make, perspectives to shift. Look at the weather last week compared to this! How many of us are wishing it would change again!
The Bible is full of examples of plans that have been changed. I may be wrong, but I don't suppose Noah had the building of an ark in his lifelong plans, and we know Paul's plans were often changed. I wonder how these individuals felt? Did they have a sense of relief, of a 'narrow escape', of getting out of something they didn't really want to do anyway? Or perhaps they too felt a sense of uncertainty, a lack of direction, a feeling of loss?
If we, as adults, struggle to reconcile our feelings and make adjustments when our plans are changed, how much more difficult might it be for our young people? Or, perhaps they find it easier to adjust, being less 'set in their ways' and more adaptable? I don't know, but can we pray for our young people?
Let's ask that :
• they know God's love for them, He doesn't need exam results to prove their worth
• they can grow in their faith and trust in the Lord
• they feel a sense of purpose through this period of lockdown and beyond
• they can also focus on the future and sense God's plans for them
• those who have contact with young people can shine a light on God's goodness and encourage their spiritual growth