The end of the school year is coming. This can lead to excitement and anticipation for some. However, it can also lead to feelings of disappointment and frustration for others. Why didn’t we cover everything I wanted to cover? Why wasn’t my class as transformative as it could have been? Why is a particular student struggling so much or for so long? Why haven’t I been able to meet every need?
Academic disciplemakers feel a burden to make a difference. And it can hurt when our best-laid plans end up being less than perfect in practice. When the finish-line is in view, we sometimes realize that the past year wasn’t the best race we’ve ever run. High standards are good, but they sometimes mean that we don’t meet the mark that we have set for ourselves.
If you are the discouraged and disappointed teacher, I want to speak to you for a moment. I want to share specific truths from the Word of God for you:
1) God’s perfect plans are never thwarted by imperfect people.
I am encouraged that “the plans of the Lord stand firm forever, the purposes of his heart through all generations” (Ps 33:11). I may fail, but He will not. He says, “I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say, ‘My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please’” (Is 46:10). God will do all that He pleases in me, through me, and in spite of me. Thank God for his perfect faithfulness.
2) We don’t see the whole story.
God told Samuel, “The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart” (1 Sam 16:7). We see so little. We don’t know how God is working in hearts. We don’t know all the ways that He is drawing people to Himself. But we know that He is. The Author only writes good stories.
3) God will use you. And He will use you well.
Jesus told the Apostles, “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8). This is a multi-layered promise. He promised that they would: a) receive power from the Spirit, b) be witnesses, c) be his witnesses. We are not first-century Apostles, but we are Spirit-filled, Spirit-empowered believers. We are witnesses. We are his. God used normal fishermen and tax-collectors to turn the world upside down in the first-century. And He is using his people today as well.
So, did things go the way you hoped this year? Maybe not. Have you struggled? Perhaps. Were you frustrated at times? Probably. But know this: God is never frustrated because his good plans cannot be stopped. He is working in and through you. And He is not doing a poor job.
I’d encourage you to meditate on these truths as you listen to “Be Kind to Yourself.” Be reminded of God’s love for you.