“Therefore, being always of good courage, and knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord for we walk by faith, not by sight”. 2 Corinthians 5:7
Life as a high school teacher (and a mum, and a wife, and a leader, and a friend, and a plain old human being!) is a crazy juggle. I’ve written about this before, but lately it’s been on my mind more that usual. Lately, I’ve been feeling like my brain and my diary are so full of curriculum documents, marking folders, parent phone calls, classroom displays and staff meetings, that my faith can’t possibly be making any impact in my workplace. How could it? I barely have time to talk to God during a work day, let alone talk to anyone about him!
It is not unreasonable for me to think like that, amidst my busy teaching day, but I’ve been pleasantly surprised (again) by God. It turns out, and hold onto your hats; this is revolutionary, that God’s ability to move is not hampered in anyway by my limitations. Just because I can’t see what he is up to, doesn’t mean he is inactive.
Most of the time, I don’t see God moving in my work life. It’s like a really overcast day in a way; I can’t see the sunshine, I can’t feel the warmth, but I know that it is still sustaining life. That’s walking by faith, trusting in a God whose hand you can’t always see working. And every so often, those clouds part and for a glorious moment, I get the see those rays of sunlight beam down and do their thing.
This week, I got one of those glorious moments. I have one particularly student in my grade eight class whose journey up to this point has not been an easy one for a number of reasons, not least the death of his mum last year. Needless to say, there are days when this young man finds every day school stuff difficult to cope with and by extension, I find his behaviour difficult to cope with. The only thing I know how to do in these situations is pray. I’ve driven to and from work with this broken up, angry, emotional kid on my mind, pouring out my frustrations and hopes for him to God, asking him to help me.
Prayer changes things. Gradually, on those days when I haven’t been able to see anything happening, a trust has been developing. Opportunities that I never could’ve anticipated have arisen. I even got brave and, at the prompting of the Holy Spirit, had a very frank conversation with this student about our lovely new school psychologist and how she might be able to help him get to the bottom of some of the things that stop him being the kid he wants to be. Needless, to say, we fought about it, but I am the grown-up so I won.
Reluctantly, he trudged off to his first appointment, shooting me the world’s dirtiest looks. I watched him go, asking God whether this might be the end of the relationship I had so carefully nurtured, unable to see the sunshine peeking through the clouds.
At the beginning of recess, the same young man was back in my classroom, waiting for me to pack up. On my way out, without looking me in the eye, he held out a chocolate bar he had bought me at the canteen on his way back down from the psych’s office.
“I just wanted to say thank you”.
It’s not about the chocolate; it’s not even about the thank you. The sunshine that came pouring through the clouds that morning was one young person who realised that I was not going to give up just because it was hard and that maybe he was even worth the fight. God is moving all the time, even in the mundane, even when we can’t see the sun for the clouds.