I know it’s cliche to say that the board exam is not a test of knowledge but a test of faith. I’ve been hearing that from everyone who passed the board exam. But I never fully understood what it means until I was placed in such situation.
To be honest, I wasn’t very serious during the review. I took practice tests lightly (that explains why I passed only two subjects during the pre-boards haha). Unlike my friends, I was seldom on top. I never excelled. I study six hours a day and then I would use my extra time to do journalling and stuffs (and sometimes watch Sherlock). I have these ambitious goals but I don’t have enough motivation to achieve them. Some of my classmates deactivated their social media accounts, some pledged not to watch any movie during the review period, others sacrificed eating out and going out with friends. I sacrificed none. I promised myself to keep my life as balanced as possible.
One month before the board exam, I was having daily panic attacks. I can’t sleep at night because of worry. I was eaten up by fear of not passing the boards. I felt so insufficient. I felt so lacking. I spent most nights crying, pleading God to work in me and to deliver me through this great battle. It’s just an exam, I told myself. But thinking of all the people who are praying for me, my family who sacrificed so much to get me to this point, everyone who know me that are expecting from me, I cannot fail them. It’s hard not to feel pressured. Plus I cannot forgive myself if I would be the reason for AUP not garnering 100% passing rate this year after several years in a row of maintaining that standard. The previous batches were blessed enough to bring glorious victories to our Alma Mater and our batch cannot afford to break that record.
Pressured? YES. But we praise God for the wonderful peace and the blessed assurance He bestowed on us.
During our dedication service at AUP, we were inspired by Sir Marc Philip Ocoma to specifically pray for each one in our batch. So we gave everyone a list of the AUP board exam takers so each of us could pray for at least 10 persons each day. We did that as a group (in our dorms) and individually. I was always tempted to pray only for myself. But just like the experience of Sir Marc, praying for each one of my batch mates chipped off every pinch of selfishness in my heart. And I have seen how the Holy Spirit worked within each one of us so we could be more united aiming victory not for ourselves, not for AUP but for the glory of God’s Name.
One day, a friend asked me if I already have red under wears for the board exam. It was because our professors in the review center had been telling us about these superstitions that could bring luck on the board exam. Wear red undies, step with the right foot first, do the “pagpag upuan” ritual, etc. I answered my friend, “Hindi ako magre-red undies eh”.
I had this strong conviction from the Holy Spirit not to do any of those superstitious beliefs. Being raised from a Christian family, I was taught since childhood that our fate does not depend on luck. It depends on how much we work and how much faith we have in the Living God. I was really tempted to buy red undies (desperate times call for desperate measures). But the Holy Spirit rebuked me one particular evening after I prayed. It will be a disrespect to God that I pray I have faith in Him and I claim that the battle is His and yet I place my fate in the superstitious power of red under wears.
I was moved to share my conviction to my dorm mates and so I prayed and waited for the perfect timing to share how the Holy Spirit rebuked me.
“Wala namang mawawala if you try”. That is the question in everybody’s mind. There is no harm in trying, yes. But how about the faith we have been fighting for so long? The faith that brought us this far? The faith that gently carried us in the arms of love and gave us confidence not in what we can do but confidence in what He can accomplish?
I’m so glad I learned to trust Thee,
Precious Jesus—Savior, Friend
And I know that Thou art with me,
Wilt be with me ’til the end
To make the long story short, I took the board exam and passed it BY FAITH. No red panties. No “pagpag upuan”. No right foot first.
FAITH. Sweet, surrendering faith.
For each question I encountered during the exam, I prayed. I sang hymns. I wrote Bible promises on my questionnaire. And most of all I BELIEVED that even though the board exam is very much different from everything we have reviewed for the past months GOD can and will perform miracles. Not for AUP, but for His Name’s sake.
He can take our broken shards of glass
To color temple walls,
He can mend our broken places
And make temples of us all,
He can do miracles—Mighty Miracles!
For each one hour break during the examination day, we would gather together and pray. Our prayers would always go like this, “Lord, deliver us through this battle so that people will know that the God Whom we serve is the true and living God.”
Not unto us, Lord.
Not unto us,
but unto Thy Name give glory,
for Thy mercy,
and for Thy truth’s sake.
A simple child-like faith. It can move mountains. There was one particular moment while I was answering Immunology-Serology/Blood Banking. I was at the edge of breaking down. I cannot hold back my tears anymore. I cannot answer the questions. I’m tired. But this song was playing inside my head:
“Lord, when I’m losing and tired and want to give in. When nothing is going right and I feel so alone inside. Please hold me closer—closer than ever before. Until all I feel is Your love…”
I am not exaggerating but after repeatedly singing that song, I really felt God giving me a huge hug and whispered to my ears, “Go on, my child. Be still, I am your God.”
The night after the boards, I kept listening to the song “Shards of Glass” and cried to sleep. Evaluating my performance for the two days of taking the exam, I know I failed (seriously, I slept during Microbiology). But I kept on believing in miracles. I kept holding on to His promises. I cried and thanked Him in advance for what He will accomplish.
All 79 of us have one testimony in common: IT WAS ALL BY FAITH.
Perfect submission, All is at rest
I, in my Savior am happy and blest
Watching and waiting, Looking above
Filled with His goodness, Lost in His love
This is my story, This is my song
Praising my Savior all the day long!
Jessica Caabay Comedian, RMT
Soli deo Gloria!