It’s the final long stretch for many of us…the mad dash to the end of the year (or maybe you are like me, and you’re just trying to crawl on hands and knees to get to spring break!). It’s the last quarter of the game, and we’re exhausted. Our kids are exhausted. Yet, somehow we have to finish the game strong. Standardized tests loom ahead, the amount of curriculum to be covered by then is overwhelming, and discipline issues are setting in as spring fever rises. It’s at times like this that it is especially important to focus on truth. Our thoughts can quickly spiral out of control as we begin to dwell on all of the negatives. But Christ tells us what our thoughts should be centered on –
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. (Phil. 4:8)
So let me share some truths that God is reminding me of in this season of the school year!
When you are doing your work for Christ, it matters!
Sometimes we can get discouraged when we see all of the time and energy that we are putting into our ministry…and not getting to see many immediate results for it. Christ promises that when we are serving Him, even the most mundane tasks are investments in His Kingdom.
Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain. (I Cor. 15:58)
And whoever gives one of these little ones even a cup of cold water because he is a disciple, truly, I say to you, he will by no means lose his reward. (Matt 10:42)
You don’t have to do this in your own strength!
It has been said that”God never gives you more than you can handle.” While that phrase is well-meaning, I don’t believe that it is biblical. Over and over again in Scripture, God gives people way more than they handle (David & Goliath, Queen Esther, Joseph being sold into slavery away from his family – just to name a few). I believe that He gives us more than we can handle…because then we have to rely on Him and not ourselves. Those heroes of the faith are not heroes because they were so amazing…they had a God who was amazing! And we serve the same God today!
Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it. (I Thess. 5:24)
This is my go-to verse for everything – God is the One who called me to be a teacher, and He is going to be faithful to accomplish His purpose.
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. (II Cor. 12:9)
God is using the difficulties you are facing for your good.
That tough student, that discipline situation that is weighing heavily on you, that set of parents that you are struggling with, the requirements of your district that you can’t keep up with — all of these are circumstances that God has allowed in your life. They are there for a reason, and Romans 8:29 tells us what that reason is – to conform us to the image of Christ that so He might be glorified.
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. (Jer. 29:11)
And we know that God works all things together for the good of those who love Him, who are called according to His purpose.For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. (Rom. 8:28-29)
Another favorite passage to go to when I am feeling tired or overwhelmed with circumstances is Hebrews 12 – it comes right after the “Hall of Faith”, a chapter of people remembered for their faith in God. Chapter 12 tells us the secret to enduring the way that they did – keeping our eyes focused on Christ and realizing that He has a purpose in the discipline (training) He is taking us through.
You are loved no matter what.
If you have accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior from sin (see here), you are a beloved child of God. No matter how terrible your lesson went that day, no matter how you feel that you may have failed a student, parent, or administration, God loves you. He doesn’t love you any more on your good days than your bad days – His love for you is based on His character, not your performance. He just loves you because that is who He is!
Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them. How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! If I would count them, they are more than the sand. I awake, and I am still with you. (Ps. 139:16-18)
God knew that you were going to come up against this tough day even before you were born. He knows every day that He has planned for you, and this is one of them. Psalms 139 is just an amazing psalm – if you are feeling down or lonely, just spend some time meditating on this precious chapter of the Bible!
For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation [that includes our own selves!] will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Rom. 8:28-29)
What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? (Rom. 8:31-31)
God loved us so much that He gave up His Son to die for us when we were His enemies (Col. 1:21). If He loved you enough to do that while you were His enemy, will He not love and take care of you as His own child?
So as we push through these final months, keep your mind centered on truth – you are not facing these tough times alone. God sees and knows all that you are facing, but He wants to use these times to draw you closer to Himself. When you are tired, turn to Him and His Word!
How about you? What are your favorite verses and truths to meditate on when you are feeling tired, overwhelmed, or discouraged?