We have now entered our 4th week of school and I know it’s been a busy 6 or more weeks for everyone. The weight of responsibility for us teachers, staff, and parents can be very heavy at times- physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. When we are weighed down in these areas, we are especially vulnerable to temptation and thus more susceptible to give in to what Scripture refers to as “our flesh” (selfish output in word, thought, or deeds). It is also an optimal time for us to recognize our weaknesses and need for Christ to step in!
I remember when my family lived in China and my girls were infants. Eliana got so sick we had to fly from Qingdao to Beijing for her to get the care she needed. We were all cramped in a small tiny hospital room to sleep and be near her while she received care. I was feeling completely stretched thin-- juggling the responsibilities of being a husband, dad, and full time teacher. Talia started crying in the night and I knew I was the one who had to pick her up and soothe her back to sleep. I totally didn’t feel like it. In fact, I recall being angry and wrestling with significant feelings of impatience and frustration over the whole situation. Often up until that point, I think I had fooled myself into thinking I was a “patient” person. Then it hit me- “patience is a fruit of the Spirit, NOT a fruit of Jonathan." Indeed, my emotional response occurred as I had been trying to operate in these roles in my own “flesh,” my own strength. I could only be the truly patient and loving husband and father I needed to be in that moment if I was relying on the Holy Spirit. I could only be patient and gentle, not anxious, if I was trusting and leaning on the reality that God was completely sovereign over this circumstance, and that He would give my wife and I the grace we needed as individuals, and as a family, to get through it. And so, by God’s grace in that moment, I simply uttered from the depths of my soul- “Jesus, please help me.” At that moment, I felt the weight lift, my emotions shift, and my heart incline towards serving my daughter, gladly, in that moment. It was a miracle. The only explanation for this shift was my yielding and surrendering to Christ in me, and His gracious response to provide the grace needed in that moment.
How about you? Where do you look on those home days or classroom moments when your patience is being tested? From where or from whom do you draw strength and perspective? If you are human, your default is to either pull up your boot straps and rely on your strength, or despair in recognizing that your strength simply isn’t enough. For the believer, the fire we must feed and the fuel we need comes from trusting the Word of God and the empowerment of the Holy Spirit as we, simply, pray. Prayer is a critical way that we behold Christ, so that we may become more like Him.
“Prayer plumes the wings of God’s young eaglets so that they may learn to mount above the clouds. Prayer brings inner strength to God’s warriors and sends them forth to spiritual battle with their muscles firm and their armor in place.
The ship of prayer may sail through all temptations, doubts and fears, straight up to the throne of God.” ~Charles Haddon Spurgeon