“God, I don’t want to go…”You must go, so you can see.”-Words spoken out of the depths of a restless heart and a worried mind, but met with a reassuring whisper reminding me that HE will never lead where HE has not already gone.
My trials started to seem trivial when I tried to make sense out of the chaos that surrounded me. Where is God? Does he see and not care? Have I gotten this wrong-did I not hear God right? Did I not obey and now I am paying the price? Did I miss God entirely?
All those questions that bombard my mind and weigh heavy on my heart, stem from one three-letter word…WHY? Isn’t that the first word that’s uttered after our world collides with evil and life doesn’t line up with our well- thought out, and un-met expectations?
This week has been anything but calm. From buying a forth car for teenager number two to complete the parking lot in my driveway, packing for a move that I do not want to make, to managing over 100 teenagers in high school; many of whom decided two days before school is out to turn in mounds of over-due, no-named papers for me to grade so they will pass! Better late than never, I guess!
I’m not sure what God intended when he placed me in the midst of this mayhem, but what I am sure of is that he placed himself with me. Although, I’ll admit, some days it is a chore to believe that this was part of his plan for me or that I will ever see the purpose revealed for the unwanted parts of this journey.
Each day I am forced to observe the evil that lurks around the halls of our schools looking for one of our kids to devour. There is absolutely no denying the enemy’s work I encounter. And believe me, the enemy isn’t just stalking the young, he’s studying the old and the vulnerable alike. Satan does his best work on those that are blinded to his schemes, like the one young lady that came to me and uttered the words, “I’m pregnant” with tears streaming down her face. She had not been taught that there was a better way than the one she had chosen. Then there is the student that tells you they are not sure they want to live anymore. And just like that, Satan has in his grip another child blinded by the lie that their life isn’t worth living. Who will be there to tell these kids that there is a better way, truth and life?
His name is JESUS!
There are days when I want to bury my head in the sand, plug my ears and hope Jesus comes back before the alarm clock goes off the next morning. It’s a heaviness that’s hard to explain, but one that needs to be addressed and not shied away from-or so I was reminded this morning by God.
Walk through the hallways of any public school during passing period and you will soon hear words that will burn your ears, see PDA (public displays of affection) that should be left to the married folk, and witness confused kids crying out to belong so they mark their bodies and color their hair with colors that should only be used to paint a picture.
When this teaching journey started a few years ago it was nothing more than something to do for a little extra spending money, but as I would soon find out, God had a little more in store that would require a whole lot of patience (that needed to be cultivated), weaknesses that exposed a vulnerable side not shown to many, and a heart that needed to be pumped and primed to hear and obey instruction.
Fast-forward to the last day of school-TODAY! As the kids bolted down hallways and in and out of classrooms, I began to wonder if anything I had done or any words I had spoken during the time I spent with them left a lasting impression. It’s hard to explain but there’s a yearning in my heart for each one of those kids. They all had a story. Some forced into foster care because mom and dad left-seperated from other siblings by no choice of their own; many got introduced to drugs and alcohol way too soon, and most wanted to feel chosen so they took the plunge into sexual ways that left them empty and wounded-or pregnant.
A student came to see me today before he left for the summer and spoke these words to me, “Mrs. K, you’re a good teacher because you care about us.” At that moment, I realized, kids might remember the actions I took, but they will definitely remember (and probably never forget) how I made them feel. And, I think that applies to anyone that we encounter each day regardless of age. I want to remember the words of this student, so I can recall them the next time I feel that my purpose is pointless, or I experience a restlessness that comes from thinking God forgot about me or my desires.
Today, as the last bell rang, and the last student walked out of my classroom, God completed the dialogue that started with me telling God, “I don’t want to go”… and He replied “You must go so you can see…kids dying to belong, adults that need to be reminded that they matter, and that little girl that’s grown up into a women (me), that needs to BELIEVE no matter what she sees around her-every trial, every heartbreak and every tear is woven into the tapestry of a story that will bring God the most glory and solidify this truth into that grown up-little girl’s heart: “For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to bring you a hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11
So, if you’re like me and find yourself using that three-letter word-WHY, just remember that his ways are not our ways, and his thoughts have already separated the beginning from the end. He knows where we are headed because he has already been there to prepare and pave the way!
And at just the right time…
Habakkuk 2:3 “For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end—it will not lie. If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay.”