Trials and Trails
By Jean Boonstra
Caleb furrowed his brow. With a sigh, he re-read the question in his science textbook one more time. “An atom of gold has an atomic number of 79,” he whispered out loud, pausing as he tried to understand the words. He sighed and continued reading, “Gold as a mass of 197. How many protons, electrons, and neutrons does this atom have.”
Frustrated, Caleb closed his textbook. He wasn’t sure if he felt like yelling or crying.
“That’s it,” he muttered gathering up his books, “I need Mrs. Torres’ help!”
Caleb walked down the Discovery Mountain Academy hallway and around the corner to Mrs. Torres’ office. He knocked gently.
“Come in,” Mrs. Torres answered. “Oh hi Caleb, how may I help you?”
Slumping into a chair, Caleb said, “Mrs. Torres I don’t understand my science homework.”
“Well, you’re in the right place then,” Mrs. Torres answered enthusiastically. “Which question don’t you understand?”
Caleb pointed to the question. “Mrs. Torres,” he said, “I looked all through this chapter. I can’t find the answer anywhere.” He put his head in his hands in frustration and continued, “If I can’t figure this out how will I ever survive high school, Mrs. Torres?” Caleb’s voice got louder the faster he talked. “I’ll probably never make it to college if I can’t survive high school!”
Mrs. Torres’ kind eyes crinkled up at the corners. “Caleb, now I see what’s going on,” she answered gently.
Caleb looked confused for a moment. “You see the answer in the chapter?”
“Caleb, let’s close your science textbook for a few minutes,” she answered.
Caleb protested, “I need your help with this science question Mrs. Torres!”
“I know, Mrs. Torres replied, “first take out a piece of paper and a pencil.”
Caleb reached into his backpack and found them. “I have them Mrs. Torres,” he answered, a little confused.
“Now, write down the word trial, Caleb,” said Mrs. Torres as she leaned back in her chair.
“Alright,” Caleb answered writing down the letters, “but, I don’t need help with my English homework.”
“I know,” Mrs. Torres answered, “just stay with me on this exercise, alright?”
“Alright,” Caleb answered.
“Now,” Mrs. Torres continued, “Write down the word trail.”
Caleb penciled the word.
“Good,” Mrs. Torres answered. “Now look at the paper. What do you notice about these two words Caleb?”
Caleb looked at the two words: trial and trail. “Oh!” he answered suddenly. “Both words have the same letters!”
Mrs. Torres smiled. “Yes,” she said. “Caleb, I think that you’re worried about more than your science homework.”
Caleb nodded. “Yeah, elementary school is almost over and I’m worried about going to high school. If I can’t handle this science question how will I ever survive high school?”
“You’re going through a trial Caleb, but God is leading you on the right trail.”
Caleb looked down at his paper, and his face brightened! “Hey, I understand the writing exercise now!”
“Your trials today are frustrating, Caleb, but God is leading you on his trail—His path,” Mrs. Torres said leading forward. “You know one of my favorite verses is Proverbs 16:19. It says ‘A man’s heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.”
Caleb nodded thoughtfully. “So,” he finally said, “God will help me in high school?”
“He’ll lead you on the right trail,” Mrs. Torres answered. She reached over and opened the science textbook back up. “Are you ready to try that science question again?”
Caleb sat up straight in his chair. “I’m ready!”
Are you curious about the answer to Caleb’s science question? Listen to this mini episode called “Trials and Trails”.