Humility is something that Christians often talk about, preach about and even attend seminars in order to try and better understand. We often try to grasp some formula for seamless and easy application of acts of humility into our daily lives, but it doesn’t really seem like humility is something we can effortlessly choose to express. We stand and praise Jesus for His ultimate display of humility in obeying God by taking on the cross for our salvation and admiringly watch those expressing humility. However, humility seems to be a quality that isn’t something easily learned, rather it is something that strikes.
Recently, I attempted passing the National Physical Therapy Exam. I spent hours upon hours preparing. I studied, and I prayed. I sought God on the strength and confidence to pass this difficult test. I took it, and one week later I received the results only to find out I had failed. I had no choice but to pick up the books and start all over again. I had to go all the way back to square one.
I admit I was angry at first. I felt as though I worked and prepared myself for nothing. Then, I realized I had two other opportunities to take the exam. It was going to be all right, I tried to convinced myself. So, I prepared again, prayed again and embraced God’s grace and mercy. The day of the test I felt wonderful. I was ready to go. This was going to be the day. I was going to be a Physical Therapist. After years of studying, I was ready—ready to be the person God always wanted me to be. Two weeks later, I received the news; I had failed, again.
It’s moments like this when humility strikes. Moments like this are those in which all control is submitted to God, and there is nothing to be done but fall into the arms of God. It might feel uncomfortable and uneasy at first. It never feels good to be knocked off of your pedestal or to have something blocking your way to your dreams. It makes you question if desires of your heart are what God desires of you. It makes you wonder why things aren’t going the way you intended things to be. While on the cross, even Jesus asked, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
There are no rational and easy to understand explanations for my failures at this test except that Jesus wanted to break into my life and essentially break me. For whatever reason, I needed to step down from being overly confident in my own abilities and fall at the feet of God and admit I need Him, and I want Him. Also these failures challenged me to question my dream of being a physical therapist. Through the pain and lack of understanding I came back to God. This is one of many things that can happen in a moment of humility. We cannot merely learn how to be humble. Rather, it strikes us and we grow in our relationship with God.
God intercedes in our lives through whatever circumstance He chooses and decides to use it for His glorification. I can tell you that if I did not fail those tests I would be a Physical Therapist somewhere thinking that God favored me and allowed me to pass because He loves me. However because I failed, I have learned that God loves me more than I know and has plans that He chooses to reveal in His timing, because He is in charge of my life. It is God’s sovereign control over our lives that brings us to a point of holy humility. God’s love is not just one of happiness and success in terms we can define. God’s love extends beyond what our minds can conceive. No matter the situation, God has control. It is an act of faith to believe such a statement. But, without that faith, are we truly living the life God wants us to?
I will attempt to take the exam one last time, yet I no longer look for a passing result to show me God’s love. Confidence that God is God, and I am His daughter is what demonstrates His love. Complaining will not be on my lips no matter the result because I know in my heart that without humility to strike me down in my tracks, my life as a Christian would be stagnant. Humility strikes and growth in my relationship with God happens.