Early on, I resigned myself to the fact that I was going to have a particularly difficult time with one of my students. You know how you have a child that seems unreachable, like you can try every management technique in the book and still not get anywhere because of the extreme emotional baggage the child carries? I’d dealt with ‘the type’ so many times before and knew what I was in for. My heart went out to the student, but I had accepted that it was going to be a long struggle…
I wasn’t sure why God had placed me in this situation, but I figured He was trying to teach me something, and that I should have the best attitude I possibly could and try to make a difference for this child. Easier said than done, of course. But I sucked it up and settled in for the long hauI, enlisting a lot of family and friends to pray about it.
And then the unthinkable happened… we had a huge breakthough! This child opened up to me and I was able to get to the root cause of the problem in one day. The turn around in behavior was immediate, drastic, and lasting- you would never know this was the same kid. The child was really trying for the first time!
I was in total shock the entire day after our breakthrough, and walked around dazed for awhile afterwards, still trying to process what had happened. Someone who had noticed the change in the child’s attitude and demeanor made an off-handed comment that it was “like a miracle”… and I realized, that’s exactly what this was! All those years of trying to handle difficult students by myself, without God’s help… I had given this situation over to the Lord immediately after taking it on and He had worked in a mighty way.
Then why was I so surprised? I asked the Lord to place children in my class that needed His love, and to help me reach them, and He did! So why had I underestimated Him and expected Him to do anything less than display His full power and glory?
Mary and Martha underestimated the Lord, too, when their brother Lazurus was sick. They begged Jesus to come and heal him. Jesus assured them, “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God's glory so that God's Son may be glorified through it”. He made it perfectly clear that the family was going through a trial for single purpose- to bring glory to God. So when Lazarus died, Mary and Martha were bewildered. Mary was weeping and said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died." Jesus replied, "Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?". He looked up to heaven and said, "Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me." He then called in a loud voice, “Lazurus! Come out!” and Lazarus walked out from the tomb! Healing the sick is an awesome testimony to what God can do, but how much greater is the act of raising someone from the dead!
If all of our students walk into our classrooms with excellent behavior and make straight-A’s, where is the opportunity for the Lord to show His power? He promises to deliver us from our trials, and when He does, we can use our experiences to give Him glory. Even if you can’t do it publicly at work, you can tell your friends and family that God is working in incredible ways in your life. And you know the miracles He has performed- let them be an encouragement to you in times of weakness. If you can’t see any purpose for the trials you are going through in your life, consider that you can ultimately give God glory for the outcome.
VERSE TO REMEMBER: I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. (Romans 8:18, NIV)
READ: The full story of Lazurus in John 11:1-44.
PRAY: Dear Father, it’s so easy to question what You’re doing in my life and to say, “Use me, but not like this!”. Help me not to question Your purpose in placing each of my students in my life, but instead to ask You to show up in powerful ways in the difficult circumstances I face, and to seek out ways to give You the glory from my trials. Help me to remember that the bigger the problem I face, the more powerful your rescue will be, and to recognize that You get the greater glory when I am faithful to You during adversity than when everything is going my way.
CHALLENGE: Think of a situation in your life which got worse before it got better. Did it seem like God wasn’t going to show up? Were you even fully expecting Him to? Consider what would have happened if God had swooped in and fixed everything right when the problem started. What lessons would you have missed out on learning? Would your faith be as strong as it is now? Don’t miss out on the opportunity to see God glorified in the difficulties you are facing right now.