It all started with the English exam. 

I first knew of it when I received yet another text-filled email from Google Classroom. After a moment of panic, I reasoned to myself, “It’s only one exam. I have plenty of time to study.” and went on merrily. 

But then the math test rolled in. This was quickly followed by a history assessment and a science exam; before I knew it, my schedule was stuffed with exams.

It was only then I realised I was in for a rough ride. 

Exams, Assessments and Homework: A Recipe for Stress 

Perhaps my current predicament may be something that you are familiar with. Being realistic, I know that compared to others’ struggles (such as the nightmare of studying that I’m sure the Year 12s are facing now), my own worries pale in perspective. 

But it doesn’t feel that way when I’m actually at my desk, typing away notes. At the moment itself, it feels crazily overwhelming. I’m at my wits end trying to gain control of it all amidst worries and regrets. 

Whether or not exam season is approaching for you, I hope that after reading this article, you and I can keep these God-centred reminders in our hearts. 

1. Thank Him

Seems a bit funny, right? When nothing seems to be going how we want it to, giving thanks seems less of a priority. 

But that’s precisely what we should be careful of. 

1 Thessalonians 5:16 states, “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances.” The key word here is ‘all’ circumstances. 

Our happiness and gratefulness in God aren’t dependent on the sunshine-filled days only. As long as we’re given the gift of breath, 

In ‘giving thanks in all circumstances’, we are continually reminded of God’s past and present grace, which, in turn, encourages us to trust in this same God for future grace. 

2. Know Him (and His promises)

The God we believe in isn’t some far-off godfather who grants us gifts before leaving us to deal with our struggles alone. 

The God we know is a God that can be known – not from a biography or some third party, but through His own Word. Of course, God’s Word is the Bible. 

And it is in this Word that we can find His promises for us. After all, the God we know is the Lord of His covenant, and unlike us, His promises will never fail. 

So what exactly are His promises?

Here a few that always come to mind whenever I’m bogged down by the shenanigans of life. 

  • “Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?” (Matthew 6:26)

If we look at the context of this promise, it’s part of Jesus’ ‘Sermon on the Mount’. In the sermon, Jesus addresses those who “worry about life”. Basically – all of us.  

Jesus asks, “Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?” 

The answer’s pretty obvious. 

“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

But it’s more than that. Each day will come with enough trouble, but Jesus promises that it will also come with enough strength to face it. Today’s strength is enough for today’s troubles – not needing to be saved up for tomorrow. Every day, God renews His grace for us – so why would we need to worry?

  • “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)

The beauty of this promise becomes clearer when we consider what a yoke is. 

It’s less commonly used now, but a yoke refers to a wooden frame, that would be fitted over the necks of ox to enable them to pull a load more easily. 

The key thing here is that yokes weren’t built for only one ox – instead, two oxen would pull a load together. When Jesus promises that the yoke will be light, He promises that we won’t have to be alone in facing the burden or mission that He entrusts us. Rather, He will pull it with us. 

The task He gives is given with strength – He will never give us a load too heavy for us to pull. 

  • “But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”

What brings me the most comfort in this verse is that for all trials that God will give us, He gives us enough grace to face it. 

For Paul, this trial was the “thorn in his flesh.” God didn’t take the thorn out, but He used it to strengthen and shape Paul to be used even more for God’s mission. 

3. Look at Him

If you ever get the chance to watch one of my favourite films, “Prince of Egypt,” there’s one song in particular that always brings a smile to my face;”Heaven’s Eyes”.

The chorus goes like this. “The answer will come to him who tries/ To look at his life through heaven’s eyes.”

Heaven’s eyes. 

This point is handy when I’m starting to lose sight of my goal in ministry among all the stress-filled details that are involved. If we try to look at all our efforts through our own eyes, all we’ll see is the mistakes and the pain we’ll have to go through. 

But in God’s eyes, all the struggles we battle through are part of His perfect plan for us – that we may be shaped and built to become more like Him. 

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11)

There’s a God-given purpose for everything we do and go through – whether that’s last minute typing out this article or studying for an exam. To know that nothing we do or suffer through for Christ will be in vain is something to hope for. 

In the words of 2 Corinthians 4:18, 

“So we fix our eyes … on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”

3. Talk to Him 

 This reminder seems a bit overused. Even so, it’s likely not our first inclination. I know personally that my tendency is often to rant and complain to my friends. 

I’m not saying that talking to your friends or family should be avoided – it’s essential that you don’t just bottle up worries or struggles, leaving them to fester into anxiety or grudges. 

What I’m trying to point out is that in our times of need, we shouldn’t forget our Creator – the one who understands us the most. Instead, we should run to Him.

He’s been through the same struggles, pain, and emotions that we go through – after all, He was human, just like us. As our Creator, He’s the one who knows us the best. And as our Father, He doesn’t just comfort us – He shares in our pain with us. When we cry, He grieves with us, and when happiness comes again, He will smile with us.

Remembering and repeating these four points as a success mantra won’t cure all anxiety and stress miraculously. I’m still stressed about my exams, and after writing this article, I know a whole pile of assessments is still waiting for me. 

But I also know I won’t have to go through all this alone.

I only pray that you may come to know this for yourself. 

Elaine (Anggi) Tambunan (14) is the editor and one of the many teens that write in RE Generation-Z. Through her articles, she aspires to remind more teens to live lives as lights in the world. She can be easily identified with a spectacled face buried in a thick novel or doodling.

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