Joy and Tears, or only Joy?
Today some "A level" students will be filled with joy, others with tears. Some will thank God, others will wonder why. The differences are understandable, but actually both (I am thinking of believers) should rejoice. In point of divine fact there is no difference between the earthly categories of 'fail' and 'succeed': God is sovereign in both cases.
The trouble with our man-centred approach
Our real problem with all disappointments, whether exam results or job loss, is that we are viewing things from a small, human perspective. What we mean by joy is "what I wanted happened" and what we mean by tears is "what I wanted did not happen." If we take a larger and frankly God-centred approach, the question becomes "what does God want for me?" And Providence provides the answer: if we pass the exams or not, God's will is accomplished.
The example of Dame Cicely Saunders
God led the Christian woman who started the modern hospice movement through disappointments. Key moments of sadness were the very moments on which her career hinged. She went to Oxford, but the war put an end to studies and so she had to change direction. She met and fell in love with a Polish man who died in pain and so learnt about pain in the closing days of life. Without these 'disappointments' perhaps there would be no modern hospices.
Our God reigns
And so, whatever the trials we face, pure joy should be our settled, prayerful and reasoned response because we know that God is King. And as King of the Universe, and king of our lives too, he turns parasites into pearls, our disappointments into his divine appointments.