Strength of My Life

There are certain qualities that seem to be innate in most teachers, especially those who work with young children. Typically we are peace-loving, and we want everyone to get along. We value justice and equity, although we do believe in showing mercy and grace in the face of repeated mistakes (most of the time, at least!). Conflict is not something we thrive off of, and when it does arise in the professional arena, many of us are left bewildered and speechless.

How many times have you said, “I just wish ‘they’ would leave me alone and let me teach my kids!”. That’s come up a lot with my colleagues and I- over administration’s demands, district restrictions, and sometimes even parental micro-managing. Now, there are times when we are at fault, and it’s important to take responsibility for that. But there are also times when we are attacked for doing what we believe is the best thing for our kids. Disagreements sometimes arise over the best of intentions. And this is incredibly frustrating for teachers who are constantly trying to help other people and do the right thing.

I’ve been in that situation quite a few times. There’s a statement that one of Job's friends gives to him that has been extremely comforting for me. Though Job's friend seems to have had dubious intents when speaking, today I read his words as a reminder of the way God handles those who work against His people:

Surely you have instructed many,
And you have strengthened weak hands.
Your words have upheld him who was stumbling,
And you have strengthened the feeble knees;
But now it comes upon you, and you are weary;
It touches you, and you are troubled.
Is not your reverence your confidence?
And the integrity of your ways your hope?
Remember now, who ever perished being innocent?
Or where were the upright ever cut off?
Even as I have seen, those who plow iniquity and sow trouble reap the same.
By the blast of God they perish, and by the breath of His anger they are consumed.

Those who are used to encouraging others can be thrown off when words are used against them. But our belief that trusting God as our vindicator is what gives us the strength to go on, and the peace of knowing that we have acted with integrity is our assurance that those who have sowed trouble will face God’s wrath- without us initiating any kind of retaliation or even putting up a defense. We work as unto the Lord, and because we answer to Him, He answers for us.

But as for me, I would seek God, and to God I would commit my cause—
Who does great things, and unsearchable, marvelous things without number.
He gives rain on the earth, and sends waters on the fields.
He sets on high those who are lowly, and those who mourn are lifted to safety.
He frustrates the devices of the crafty, so that their hands cannot carry out their plans.
He catches the wise in their own craftiness, and the counsel of the cunning comes quickly upon them.
They meet with darkness in the daytime, and grope at noontime as in the night.
But He saves the needy from the sword, from the mouth of the mighty, and from their hand.
So the poor have hope, and injustice shuts her mouth.
Behold, happy is the man whom God corrects; Therefore do not despise the chastening of the Almighty.
For He bruises, but He binds up; He wounds, but His hands make whole.

It’s never necessary for us to take justice into our own hands. If God is for us, who can be against us? If you are in a situation in which you feel under attack, I encourage you to ask God for words to help you stay focused on His truth- that He will bring every dark and secret motive and deed into the light. There’s a song by P.O.D. that I listened to on my way to work almost every day for a month, and I always arrived feeling refreshed and empowered, ready for anything that the enemy might conjure up. I’ve included part of the lyrics below, and I hope they will inspire you to find a song or scripture to remind you that God is our light, our salvation, and the stronghold of our lives:

If Jah is for me, tell me whom I gon' fear?
And Jah of Jacob, deserving of my love
And God of Isaac, bring blessings from above
Hashem of Abraham will show me the way
I go down on my knees and this is what I pray.
Strength Of My Life, whom shall I dread?
When them evildoers approach to devour my flesh.
Even if there would be an army against me,
My heart would not fear…
Elevated is my head, above my enemy.
Surround me with the song of glory
Take away the scales from my eyes
Anoint your love upon my life
Have mercy on my soul and hear me when I cry
Do not abandon me, and don't forsake me
Lead me on the path of integrity
Even if there would be an army against me,
My heart would not fear.
Strength Of My Life, whom shall I dread?

-P.O.D., “Strength of My Life”, from the 2006 album “Testify”

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for all you do. I am under attack from my principal and I am about to crumble. You give me strength and help me find hope in our God's words. Sometimes when you are so down, you forget to look up. Thank you for reminding me. May God bless you in all that you do.

Anonymous said...

Lot's of good thoughts. But you should realize that Job's friends were giving him bad advice. He was telling Job that he must be guilty of something, because only the guilty will be punished. However, in our world we have all seen that the innocent will also face trials, like Job. Job was righteous, yet he was suffering. Job's "friend" was trying to get him to admit that he had done something wrong.
Hope I'm not putting a damper on anyones day, but I have recently been taking a biblical hermeneutics class, and this post really stuck out to me.

Angela said...

Congrats on taking the hermeneutics class--that's a massive undertaking! I appreciate you pointing that out...