"For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil" (Jeremiah 29:11a).

Is there anything more agonizing to homeschooling parents than watching their child struggle when taking a test? Whenever my children went through contortions trying to remember facts hiding in their memory banks, I wanted to run to their rescue. Sometimes, I even went so far as to drop a few hints to help them succeed in their efforts. Surprisingly, my children perceived just the opposite about my feelings. Thinking I enjoyed using my red pen, they didn't understand the ache in my heart when I corrected their wrong answers. As their parent, I didn't want them to fail. I wanted them to triumph in their tests.

What's even more surprising is the misconception many Christians have of their Heavenly Father. Picturing God as holy and just, they forget that God is also merciful and loving. God doesn't look forward to punishing us for what we've done wrong. In fact, just the opposite is true. He wants us to succeed in our Christian walk and discover all the blessings He has waiting for us. Every day when tests come and we can't remember the right answers from His Word, He helps us succeed by sending encouraging hints. Whether a godly friend reminds us of His love or the Holy Spirit gives us wisdom to discern a problem, we can rest assured that "If God be for us, who can be against us" (Romans 8:31b)?

Have you been getting a few problems wrong in the tests of your life? Take heart, dear friend in Christ. The Lord isn't waiting to condemn you (Romans 8:1). He loves you and wants to help you find victory in the power of His mighty name. "How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand" (Psalm 139:17-18a).

Lord, thank You for being a God who loves me more than I can imagine. Lift me today and remind me again of all You've given me as Your child. In the name of Your dear Son, Amen.