Sunday, January 29, 2012

Love anyway

After two weeks of stress, frustration, and pure exhaustion, I successfully passed my final grad school comprehensive exam. I was assigned to a group of four other graduating MPH students and given the task of developing an effective strategy for preventing a pertussis epidemic in Utah. I learned so much about pertussis (whooping cough), immunization policies and programs, statistical analysis in real life, and effective program planning and evaluation. Perhaps most significantly however, I learned more about myself and about life.
We had a bit of a conflict with one group member who struggled to complete her portion of the work correctly, on time, or even at all. I was sort of thrust into the role of group leader, and as such was the one who had to confront this girl about her performance, or lack thereof. I prayed every day that she would meet her deadlines, but each time found myself spending extra hours either helping her finish, or finishing for her. When the final paper and presentation were complete and we were informed that the whole group had passed, I felt relieved. However, I'll admit that I was also slightly disappointed that this girl who had contributed so little still received the same reward as the rest of us who had worked so hard. It really bothered me, until I thought about it a little differently. I had to remember that sometimes life just isn’t fair, but you just have to love people anyway.
I thought about Christ and how many times he had to rebuke people, help them see what they were doing wrong and call them to repentance. How many times did he do this, but they still didn’t listen? I thought of when the people chose to release Barabbas and crucify Christ instead. I know that this was necessary, but at face value, clearly it wasn’t fair. Yet Christ suffered it willingly and loved both Barabbas and even those who threw him to the wolves anyway.
Did this girl deserve to pass? I don't know. That decision was out of my hands. But what I do know is that in life, nobody deserves to fail. We all came to this earth to take the same test. Some of us perform better on it than others, but the bottom line is that Christ wants us all to succeed. He understands our strengths and our limitations, and I'm sure it pains him when we choose not to do our part of the work correctly, on time, or even at all; yet he loves us anyway. He puts people in our lives to help us when we are weak, and He atoned for our sins to finish what we will never be able to finish ourselves.
As challenging as the experience was, I'm grateful that the Lord gave me the chance to strengthen my testimony as well as my intellect.


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