God Is with Me


It was the morning of the examination, and I prepared my backpack hurriedly. No, I wasn’t forgetting anything—not my schoolbooks, my glasses, or my trusty Book of Mormon. I had everything—including anxiety, which worsened as soon as I saw the university buildings.

It was still early; the professor hadn’t arrived, but other students were waiting with me. Everyone else was talking, but I sat in silence, close to panic. I couldn’t back out now. This test was too important for me and for my family. I had to show my relatives that, even though I had many Church commitments, I hadn’t neglected my studies. I had to pass this oral exam—but anxiety was shutting down my ability to smile and to remember what I had studied.

I looked out the window. The sky over my beautiful city of Naples, Italy, was incredibly blue, and my thoughts immediately turned to God. For several minutes I looked into the immensity of the heavens and spoke with my Heavenly Father. Peace came over me. I felt an assurance that God was with me.

While the other students continued to talk among themselves, I took my Book of Mormon from my backpack and began to read. I lost track of those around me as I was comforted by what I read in the scriptures. All of a sudden, a thought shook me: “It’s useless for you to stay here. You can’t answer the professor’s questions. Get out of here. Take the exam next month.” I made the mistake of listening, and again I felt very alone and very close to panic. The words penetrated into me, and I was about to shut my Book of Mormon and leave, believing I couldn’t succeed.

Then I remembered my prayer to Heavenly Father earlier, along with the peace I’d felt. With all the strength I had, I cried out in my heart, “God is with me.”

This time, joy overcame me, and I had no more fear. All my worries vanished in the warm light of heavenly reassurance.

Finally the professor arrived. When it was my turn to be questioned, I went into his office with a look that gave only a tiny indication of the peace I felt in my heart. And I came out of the office with a radiant smile. I had answered all the professor’s questions and scored the maximum possible!

Discouragement is one of Satan’s strongest weapons. He must have known that if he could hit his target this time, my family would have thought they had a reason to criticize the Church.

But with Heavenly Father’s help, I overcame doubt and discouragement. Now I know that if I do my part, Heavenly Father will help me. I need not fear. I cannot imagine a greater joy than knowing God is with me.

[photos] Photography by Steve Bunderson, posed by model; photograph of Naples by Randy Wells, © Tony Stone Images