Sarah’s sister caught her eyes from across the church as they began the hymn. Sarah smiled at her and her husband and then lifted her hands toward Heaven as she sang along with the congregation, “I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made…”
Her mind drifted back to the final day of exams at school on Friday. She had worked all year to do her best on those tests. She knew that not all fourteen-year-old girls in Nigeria were as fortunate as she was. She knew of girls who were little more than slaves in their own homes. Her mind focused again on the words to the hymn. “Search me, O God, and know my heart…”
It was in that moment that the bomb went off. She felt the explosion before her ears registered the sounds. Intense heat forced her backward, and she fell to the floor as the church came crashing down around her.
When she opened her eyes, the roof of the church was gone. Sarah could see into the heavens above. Something was causing her right leg to throb. She tried to sit up to see what it was. The world swam before her eyes. Everything went black.
Sarah spent most of the next few days swimming between consciousness and unconsciousness. Slowly, as consciousness began to win more than it lost, the details became clear to Sarah. Radicals had attacked the church. Her sister was gone, as was the church and her right leg.
She lost count of the times she closed her eyes to pray. Each time she did, the words refused to come. All she could see was the memory of her exams on Friday and the scene at the church on Sunday.
Sarah’s heart needed to talk to God, if only her mind would let it.
She closed her eyes again. She saw the familiar test paper once more. She thought she was ready for it; she thought her studies had prepared her. But the first time she read the questions, her mind swam with fear. What if she failed?
She remembered the prayer she prayed, asking God for peace. With his help, she focused on the questions one at a time and remembered all she had learned. She completed the exam.
Sarah knew the next scene her memory would recall. The church, the bomb, the heartache. It was more than she could bear. “Lord, help me pray!”
Instead of replaying Sunday’s events, her memory began replaying thoughts of the exam on Friday. As Sarah read the first question, she knew something was different.
“Do you love me?”
What? Where had that question come from? Her exam had begun with a question about history. Her eyes continued down the page.
“Do you trust me?”
The final question on the page sent a chill through her heart. “Will you forgive them?”
It was too much. Her mind swam with fear.
The peace that had quieted her on Friday returned to her heart. She focused on the first question.
“Do you love me?”
“Yes, Lord,” she whispered. “Oh, yes.”
Tears and prayers began to flow as she rested on that first question. With her Lord, she would wrestle with the questions one at a time. With his help, she would remember all she had learned. And in time, she would sing praises again.
She would pass this test because he would not let her fail.
Scripture references: Psalm 139:14, 23 KJV
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