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Daylight is about to fade away. Tests, seminars and classes marked the day for pre-final year students in the college. Declaration of results for the previous exams drew most of them towards the notice board. Some preferred to check their results online. Anxieties and exasperations were visible on their faces as they huddled to check the assessment report. This result carries significance as campus placement is round the corner. After a hard and long haul, Jeevan pulled his legs forward to jostle with his friends to catch a glimpse of results displayed on the board. A red mark against his name confounded him. He rubbed his eyes in anguish and inspected the board once again. He could not believe his eyes. He just could not stand. He was losing balance of his mind and body. Somehow he held the edge of the board and collected himself. He tried to walk but he felt as if all strength has left him.

Eventide set in. He slowly stood at one end of the length of tract that leads to the hostel. At the end of the day, this road becomes meeting point of fun and frolic for him and his friends. Today he cannot be part of the crowd. For the first time he sensed he is alone. He withdrew to himself. Slowly, he moved with small steps with his head bowed to the ground. He could not withstand babble of others. The world beyond does not subsist for him anymore. He does not like anyone intrude into his way. Others around him are non-existent.

That way appeared to be too long and the journey gloomy. No energy was left in him. Somehow he managed to open the door of his hostel room and dropped himself on the chair. The unexpected result has thrown him down and torn him apart. He could not accept how a good student all through like him was plucked in one subject and as such failed in the crucial exams. He knew he had to work hard on that subject. He did whatever he could. But the outcome was shuddering.

Evaluation might not have been proper! How can the result be declared so soon? The evaluator did not award due credit for right steps in the answer. Scepticism prevailed in his mind. Slowly his mind petered out. Darkness overshadowed him. He started blaming himself and doubted his capability. Back paper will push him back when all of his batch mates will go forward. His participation in placement is in limbo now. How can he show his face to his friends? What will his parents think of him? They have toiled hard to send him to this prestigious institute. They have reposed all confidence on him. They always appreciate him in front of relatives, neighbours and acquaintances. It is too ignoble a shame to bear.

“I cannot live with failures’ any more”, he thought. “I have proved most unsuccessful; my life has turned into a flop show; I am no good and of no use”, thoughts kept pouring in. There was frustration all over and around him. No light at the end of the tunnel was apparent. The result had spoiled his career and future. He felt totally shattered. The world around him had crushed in. He just could not think of anything else. “This is the end of the road”, he thought. “Life has no meaning; nothing to look forward to”, he thought. It is all doom and gloom around him. He did not intend to see the light. He preferred to live in an umbrage for a while and then slip off to shadow of the night. Fear gripped him. He could neither go forward nor backward. It was just a long restless pause.

Suddenly his mobile rang. He stooped from the chair hurriedly to switch it off. But before switching off he glanced at the screen. It was his mother calling. He fell to the floor as despair eclipsed his mind. He started sobbing like a child. Tears rolled down his cheek as he remembered his mother. He recalled how his mother put him to sleep with the song, “Jesus loves me this I know, For the Bible tells me so, little ones to Him belong, they are weak, but He is strong.” The stories of the Bible narrated to him by his parents were still vivid in his mind. He remembered Jesus telling, ‘let the little children come to me. Do not stop them! For the kingdom of heaven belongs to those who are like these children” “Is anything worth more than my soul?” The favourite story of a young Hebrew, Joseph flashed in his mind – Joseph’s abandonment at the pit by his brothers out of jealousy, abuse at Potiphar’s house where he was sold as a slave and subsequent convict’s life in the prison for no fault of his – they did not deter him of becoming the chief ruler in a foreign country. Joseph knew how to face failures in life and still trusted God to fulfil the dream he was given.

Family prayer every evening with stories from the Bible heroes of faith used to amuse him. His father very often cited and read out the life of Daniel and his three friends. Daniel lived an uncompromising life. His prayer three times a day and refusal to bow before any other statue/person other than the Living God pushed him in great troubles. He was thrown into a lions’ den. God shut the lions’ mouth because Daniel knew ‘He who is in him is greater and mightier than Lion (and who is in the world). It flashed in his mind how his parents used to come to his room, kneel down near his bed and pray daily for God’s protection for and blessings upon him so that he will shine like Joseph and Daniel and make a difference in the society. They also sent him to this hostel after prayers by the pastor and his parents.

His parents were particular that Jeevan attended Sunday school every week and Vacation Bible school during summer. Whenever crisis and difficult times assail the family, Jeevan remembered how his father gathered all family members and bowed in prayer with the song “what a friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear! What a privilege to carry, everything to God in prayer…” His parents kept praying and trusting God in spite of struggles and never gave up faith in the God who is good all the time. They believed in God’s word, “Cast all your cares upon Him for he cares for you.” He had also seen how his parents always lend a helping hand to any family in need in the society and fellowship group. He had grown up seeing his parents praying and studying the Bible everyday. As a small child he used to imitate his father’s postures as he spent time with God.

Jeevan was inconsolable. As he wiped his tears, he lifted up his voice in prayers to the Lord casting all his worries and burdens of his failure and seeking rest in Him while surrendering completely unto Him. The next moment he experienced peace and comfort of God of all comforts. He switched on the light. Hope dispelled Cimmerian shade. He walked out from the hostel to the open ground and looked up. Stars were shining brightly in the sky. Full moon was flooding outside with its bright light. As he kept gazing the word of God came alive, “For I know the plans I have for you… plans for welfare and not for evil, to give a future and a hope.” He decided to clear the paper in the next available chance and allow God His best plan to fulfil in his life. He took the courage to call up his mother, narrated the recent episode and declared, ‘I am not a victim; I am a victor.’

Scripture References: Matt.19:14, Mark 8:37, I John 4:4, I peter 5:7, Jer. 29:11

Dr. Nanda Dulal works as Group Director in an organisation and lives with his wife Geetanjali in Bangalore.

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