The coolest recent example of answered prayer in my life involved, of all things, a volleyball class.
First, a bit of context. When I started my collegiate career at Texas Tech in mid-2012, I wanted very much to graduate summa cum laude—GPA of 3.9 or above. At first I felt pretty good about my chances. The first semester was a breeze. This college thing ain’t too bad after all, I thought.
Well, in the next semester, things went south. Calculus and physics happened. To make matters worse, I badly floundered in an important Spanish class the next year. Pretty soon, B’s were showing up on my transcript. My cumulative GPA suffered. It was humbling. That lofty summa cum laude benchmark suddenly seemed miles away.
By the time I was halfway through my degree, things looked bleak. Based on my calculations, I realized that the only way I could graduate with a 3.9 GPA was if I scored A’s in all my remaining classes. Two years, four semesters, 20 classes…all A’s? It seemed impossible, but I decided to try anyway. Not sure how this is going to work out, God, I thought. I can’t do this alone. You’re going to have to pull some strings.
Meanwhile, while I was praying (and worrying) about my grades, God did something more important: He grew me spiritually. During those junior and senior years, while I was getting stressed about the school situation, God drew me closer to Him than I ever had been, thanks to a combination of conferences, experiences, challenges, and opened doors.
Well, in the midst of that spiritual growth, something happened: I graduated. May 20, 2016. With a 3.9 GPA.
Summa cum laude.
Of all things, a volleyball class in my final semester nearly prevented me from reaching the 3.9 GPA. Because I foolishly forgot about an online quiz worth 10% of our overall class grade, I realized with horror that the silly little volleyball class could make me fall just short of my desired GPA. But then my kind teacher gave us extra credit opportunities toward the semester’s end. Disaster averted.
And you know what? Graduation was surprisingly anticlimactic. Yes, it was rewarding. It felt good. It was a super cool – obvious answer to prayer. But looking back, I realize that
God knew better all along.
He knew that increased spiritual maturity was worth far more than a distinction on a college transcript. He knew that my spiritual health was vastly more important long-term.
In other words, God answered my little short-sighted prayer, but He also gave me something much better that I hadn’t asked for.
That’s so typical of God, isn’t it? Like a kind father, He patiently hears our prayer requests, even the slightly selfish ones. Not only that, He often answers them. But then He stoops down and gives us what we really need, even if we didn’t ask for it.
He truly is a wonderful Father.
If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him! | Matthew 7:11