Last week I told you a little about my first week away in college. Today, I want to tell you another true story that happened in the first month of my college career.
First a little background. High school came easy for me. I inherited my dad’s ability to read and remember, so I always did well in the classroom. When I moved to college, I expected the same results.
And so when the professor announced that we would have, “a little quiz,” at the next class session, I was not alarmed. She told us to read chapters 3-5, and so that afternoon I “thoroughly skimmed” those chapters, and then headed to the gym to play pickup basketball.
Thursday afternoon came and the professor handed out a 75 question, fill-in-the-blank test. Every sentence was a direct quote from the textbook. I quickly realized I was in over my head. What a disaster! At the next class section she had our tests graded, and announced that she would return them to us in order, worst to the best score. I started gaining a little confidence as my name was not called for some time.
Finally she said, “Congratulations, Mr. Butler. Yours was the third highest grade.” And then she handed me a paper with a large 40 written in red at the top. Another guy scored a 62. And then there was Ruth. She made a 98.
That was my official welcome to college. Something amazing happened later that day. I learned eight of my classmates packed up their stuff and went home. When we returned for second semester, 20 from that class were no longer enrolled.
It never occurred to me to quit. I ended up making a B in the class, and I did graduate on Mother’s Day of 1981. I didn’t tell my parents about that test until the end of the semester when final grades were known. I just knew that I had to persevere. Quitting was not an option.
In the Christian life, quitting is not an option either. God has called us to stay with it. Think of the Old Testament heroes. They kept going in the face of adversity. And certainly our Lord and Savior, Jesus, walked up Calvary’s hill to face the ultimate punishment for our sins. The Scriptures say, “He who perseveres to the end will be saved.” That’s not a prescription for works salvation, but a reminder that those truly saved will stay with it.
You will face adversity and trouble. You will be tempted to give up. God calls you to stay at it, and promises to help. I close today with the same admonition as last week: trust him, even when you cannot see him at work.