It’s A Level results day. These days, most A Level students will have already checked in online to confirm they’ve got into their Uni of choice, probably received an e-mail from their school with the results and unless they are wanted for the “jumping in the air” photoshoot probably gone back to bed. We are a long way away from the days when you headed up to school to nervously receive and open an envelope whilst everyone watched on to see your reaction.
But even the move to an online world doesn’t take away from the tension of today. WE build up certain days and events as life defining. You’re told that both how you do in you’re a-Level results and the choices you firm up today about University will define the rest of your life. That you must do well and you must get those choices right. This means that whilst for some, there’ll be joy and elation, for others there’ll be disappointment and even anxiety leading to despair.
But the real story is a little different. My own experience was that I got quite mediocre GCSE results followed by decent A-Levels. I went on to University to study Law. We had been told consistently that things like law and accountancy were the way to go, there would always be well paid jobs waiting for us there. I realised a little way into my second year two things. First, that due to the recession at the time, there weren’t going to be lots of jobs for lawyers and second that I didn’t really want to be a lawyer. I finished my degree anyway and then switched track to manufacturing engineering. I worked for 10 years in that line of work. Then God called me into Gospel ministry. I wasn’t sure quite where I’d end up – at that time I wondered about getting involved in training and teaching but instead we were led to the West Midlands and I pastored a church for 10 years. Now, however I’m in a role focusing on training and equipping others.
The reality is that there hasn’t been one life defining moment, one day when if I didn’t get the right results or make the right choices then my whole future would be bleak. To be sure, some outcomes and decisions have closed a few doors but at the same time others have opened.
If you are a Christian reading this, then that’s all the more so because we know that it is God who is sovereign over our future not our circumstances, not our decisions. In Acts 21, Paul has lots of advice thrown at him. He’s warned not to go to Jerusalem in the light of prophetic insights, he’s advised to try and appease some people who distrusted him by making what turned out to be an ill advised visit to the Temple to fulfil a vow. What does Paul do? Well he gets on with making decisions, complying with some advice but disagreeing with the recommendations of others. He is able to do that confidently knowing that God’s plans and purposes for him are secure.
If you have got the results you wanted today, then congratulations and well done. However, whatever results you have got today, don’t worry or be anxious about the future and the resulting decisions. We do not know and cannot promise you that all will be okay, that there won’t be tough times ahead (even if you’ve brought home the A*s). But we do know and can promise that God is in charge of your future steps.