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This morning I was called in by the public school to help read standardized tests for the special education department. I was assigned to a young man named Travis. We went to a quiet room where I read passages to him, testing his comprehension of the material. Before we started, I said, “Well, Travis, I always allow students a moment to have prayer if they choose to. Are you a Christian?” 

“Yes,” he said.

“Would you like to have prayer then?”

“Yes.” He looked enthusiastic about that and asked that I do the praying. So, I asked the Lord to help Travis with his test and to keep him focused on the material so that he could get through it well. 

After saying, “Amen,” I looked up and Travis said, “That was a good one.”I couldn’t help smiling at his approval. “Well, I’m sure the Lord will answer it.”

We proceeded to do the testing and as we went from one section to the next, it became clear to me that Travis was comprehending very little of what was being read. He knew almost no vocabulary words that were given, and when asked obvious questions about a story that had just been read, he would choose answers that did not apply at all. I began to become frustrated inside myself. I was frustrated mostly because of the whole testing process. I have to confess that I do not personally find the traditional testing/grading system all that reliable in determining what a student really knows or can perform. I felt that Travis was being dragged through a system where he didn’t belong and where he couldn’t thrive. I felt that I was failing to help him with this test, and I also felt that God didn’t seem to be helping a whole lot either, judging from some of the answers I was seeing Travis select.


Nevertheless, I was being paid to do this testing and Travis was being forced to do it. So, we struggled through it until the time was finally up. When I took his test booklet back to his regular teacher, she asked how he did. I told her that it appeared to me that he was pretty clueless. She said, “But did he behave? Did he concentrate?”

I said, “Yes, he behaved very well. And he did focus.”

“Great!” she said. “Sometimes he can really be disruptive.”

Disruptive! I thought. I sure hadn’t seen that. And then I remembered the prayer. The prayer for focus and concentration. God HAD answered! I hadn’t asked for God to take the test for Travis. I had asked him to keep him focused. And God had answered. So, with Travis happy that he was finished with the test, and with his teacher happy that he had finished without disruption, I left happy, too, knowing that God had done it all.

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By Gwen Scott Simmons. Copyright © 2007 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines.

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