• Michelle Burkhardt

I Already Learned that Lesson - Or Did I?


When I was younger, I had tests in school. The subject did not matter because teachers basically graded tests the same. I either got an A, B, C, or D which was passing, or I got an F which was not. Putting some effort into studying often worked, and the test was a thing of the past.

This same pass/fail concept is something that I’ve applied to everything in my life. For example, If I “passed” the job interview, I got hired-if I did not, and I bombed at “selling” myself, then I did not get the job. Naturally, I applied this same understanding to my faith. If God “tested” me or “prompted” me to complete a task, I either did it and passed, or I did not, and I failed. Yet, I now recognize this is a false way of thinking. Essentially, unlike this world, God keeps giving me chances to retake His test until I learn from His Lesson Plan.

Although, I may pass on the outside by physically obeying, God knows that on the inside (in my heart), I have completely failed. To explain, I have four sons and there have been many times when there were conflicts in attending the different activities for them. Since, it is impossible to be in 2, 3, or even 4 places at once, Paul and I often tried to divide and conquer. If we had to split 3 or 4 times, we begged Grammy or another family member to “represents” us at the event.

In the past, splitting up for a regular soccer game was acceptable; however, how do I choose between going to my twin’s last home Collegiate soccer game that was honoring them for senior night, or being home to take pictures for Andrew and Randy’s Homecoming dance that was scheduled for the same evening? (Oh, and do not even think that trying to do do both was an option. South Orange, NJ and Palmyra, PA are 2.5 hours a part– and that is on a good day).

So, how does a mom choose? Well, being a Christian, I first prayed, and then I asked friends for advice. I truly felt God’s loving whisper say that I should stay home and participate in the memory for my two younger sons. Now, here comes the difficult part, I must admit that I wanted to be with the older boys for senior night. I was angry at the high school for having such a late Homecoming (I know-Not Logical), I was angry that the distance was so far (I know- Ungrateful), and I was angry at God because He had control over the times (I know-Not Helpful).

Although I obediently did what God was prompting me to do, I did not do it with the right heart. I had become one of the Pharisees in Matthew 23:25. Thankfully, God decided I needed to “Retake the Test”, and of course, He made it even harder this time. Last week, Spencer was scheduled to have surgery at 12:00 pm on the same day as “Signing Day” where Andrew had the honor to sign a commitment letter at 3:00pm to play soccer at Temple University (of course, both events were still 2.5 hours a part). Initially, I struggled with not being able to do both again, nevertheless, this time as I drew near to God, I felt a peace knowing that He could be at both (Omnipresence). With the Holy Spirit’s help, my heart had aligned with my actions. Instead of a Pharisee, I was the widow in Mark 12:42 who gave ALL with the right attitude.

Having the right attitude was the test, and although things did not work out exactly as I would have wished, I know God is good, and He is All-knowing (Omniscience). God switched the surgery time to 9:00am, and I was able to be with Spencer before he was wheeled into the operating room. Trusting God, I left and drove to Andrew’s “Signing Day” wearing my new Temple sweatshirt to help celebrate his special day. I may not have been able to be there for the full event for each; however, God allowed me to be a part of both.

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