|2nd Place Nationals Winner Reflects on Her Bible Bee Experience.|
A Perspective on the 2011 National Bible Bee by GraceAnn Westfahl
I can’t begin to describe how incredibly God worked at the Bible Bee! I can definitely identify with John who wrote in John 21:25, “And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written.” In just one weekend, God did so much that the limited space here will only allow me to share the highlights.
My story actually begins about a week before the National Bible Bee when my family and I were praying for the upcoming competition. In my prayer, I asked God to let us see His hand at the Bible Bee. Little did I know that He would answer my prayer above and beyond what I was expecting!
In Nashville, the first part of competition was the written test. Even there His hand was clearly at work. For example, one of the questions they asked dealt with a passage that I was not very familiar with, so I didn’t know the answer at first. As I thought about it, however, I realized that I had received a card in the mail earlier that week with that exact passage written out on it! Because my friends had “happened” to write that verse on their card to me, I knew the answer to that question!
After the written test was the oral round. In that round, each of the contestants is given 10 minutes in which to quote 25 passages that the judge gives. At the end of my 10 minutes, I was saying my last passage, but I knew I only had seconds left to finish. The passage chosen was Titus 2:11-13. The choice was ironic because last year at Nationals, the last passage given me was Titus 2:1-10. Last year, I did not complete that passage in the time allotted. Looking back, I see God’s work in choosing those particular passages last year and this year, because it gave me an extra boost of determination to finish my passage before the time ran out. I did NOT want to run out of time on Titus 2 again!
The next morning, knowing I was one of the semi-finalists, I asked God to show me something special in His Word for me that day. As I was spending time with Him, He showed me Psalm 138. From it, He revealed three main goals for me to keep as my focus throughout the semi-finals (and later, the finals). First, I had a great responsibility to do God’s Word justice and speak it as it should be spoken. Second, I must stay humble, knowing that God was just using me to accomplish His purposes. Third, I must do it in His strength.
In the Semi-Finals, with these goals in mind, I got up to quote my first passage. It was Job 23:8-12, which at the end says, “I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food.” This immediately reminded me of my first goal: of how special God’s Word really is and what a privilege it was to quote it! Part of the next passage I quoted said, “Blessed is the man whose strength is in Thee,” (Ps 84:5a). It is not just a goal to quote in God’s strength, it is a blessing! Even in my passages, God was there!
During the finals, I saw His work yet again in the passages I was given. In one of the rounds, I was asked to recite Isaiah 53:1-12. Now, there are some passages that are easier for me to quote than others. This was definitely not an easy one for me! As I paused to think before I said the reference, I felt like God was telling me, “I gave you this passage so it will be obvious that the only way you are doing this is in My Strength, not yours.” I told Him, “Okay God,” and quoted it perfectly! I guess God really wanted to drive His point home because the next passage He gave me was Exodus 34:2-9 which is one of the hardest passages for me! Apparently, however, God likes to show Himself strong, and again He caused me to quote it without a mistake!
It was amazing to see how God orchestrated everything from the beginning of the competition to the end where He graciously gave me 2nd place. Am I disappointed that I “only” got 2nd place? No. I saw God’s hand way too much to be disappointed in the perfect place in which He put me. I was so overwhelmed by His Love in using me to proclaim His Word. To Him alone be the Glory!