The A-level results are out, accompanied by the annual discussion of whether this year’s exams were easier than in the past.
It is important to remember that there is an individual student behind every exam result. These students are not just statistics, but real human beings whose future hopes and dreams depend on their exam results.
I clearly remember receiving my own A-level results over 30 years ago. I had to actually go to school, where I was handed a brown envelope inside which my results were printed on small slips of paper.
I can still feel the disappointment at not achieving the grades I had hoped for and which I needed in order to pursue my first-choice degree course at university.
What a contrast my feelings were to those of some of my fellow students who were clearly very happy to have achieved or exceeded their required grades.
As I look back on my own experience, my thoughts and prayers go out to the A-level students of 2013. Some of them will have grades which pave the way for them to travel along the bright and promising future path they hoped for. Others – once the tears and the confusion have passed – will need to give serious thought to taking a different route to the one they dreamed of.
Amongst the wise spiritual commands the Bible provides is, ‘Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep’. I imagine this advice being put into practice by families and friends as they share the students’ feelings.
I’m certainly grateful to my family and friends who helped me to see that my poor results didn’t mean that the bottom had dropped out of my world! Some wise advice, coupled with the refusal to let me wallow in self-pity, spurred me on to make pursue other options.
My own Christian faith also reassured me that God cared for me and would guide my future.
Whether we are aware of it or not – when things work out as we had hoped, or when we encounter setbacks along the way – our lives are in the hands of God.