The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love.
God must feel this way–often! I was a bit frustrated, as one of my students asked a question about something I had just answered. Why have they not understood that I meant what I said the first time, and the second, and the third?! LORD, give them ears to hear and eyes to see, and hearts to understand and obey me!
I said these things to myself again, as I tried to smile at them, took a breath, and explained once more. I thought with fondness and new appreciation about our dear pastors, the apostles, who are extreme examples of patience and love with us, their flock–who had certainly not always believed and followed their deep exhortations and revelation the first time.
Nor have I fully believed and followed the direction of the Holy Spirit to me. But I am working on hearing and doing more fully and quickly. He is helping me.
Our hearing was perfect before the fall! I thought. Yes, it was, but after years of condemning Adam and Eve, the LORD helped me realize that, had I been Eve, I probably would have done the same thing.
In other words, I am not the Judge, and I am not to judge (unless He tells me). My job is to serve as a vessel to help these kiddos (my dear fourth graders) to learn as much as they can about math and English–and, most of all, about how to live a successful life. I insert God into the mix every chance I get, and He helps me by His Spirit inspiring the kids to ask questions about Him!
We have some wonderful conversations. The kids would love to talk about God all day, from what I can tell, and I have to remind them and myself that we need to focus on math and English. But I believe they are beginning to understand that God is in every part of life.
This reminds me of a verse I discovered a couple decades ago, which helped me know more about how the LORD delights in me:
Malachi 3:16 – Then they that feared the Lord spake often one to another: and the Lord hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the Lord, and that thought upon his name.
It delights my heart to know that the LORD notes when we talk about Him. Likewise, my heart thrills when I hear my kids talk about the LORD and want to know Him better, because I know they are sincere. I also rejoice when I can tell that they actually have learned the math and English lessons!
My students–my kids–may not always listen to me, and they may talk when they shouldn’t sometimes. They may even disrespect me; out of self-defense, out of hurts in their lives; out of ignorance. But I have done all of those and more to my faithful, loving, all-knowing, all-sacrificing God. Yet His love and compassion for me do not fail!
I love and pray for them no matter what, and I tell them that, often. I know they are starting to truly believe me. Even when I discipline them, I believe they understand it is for their good, for love disciplines. (I also tell them I do not want to discipline them or cause them to lose blessings, but they must use their power of choice to choose well.)
Psalm 94:12 – Blessed (happy, fortunate, to be envied) is the man whom You discipline and instruct, O Lord, and teach out of Your law,
What I love the most, I think, is when I get love-art and love-notes from my students, and sometimes right after I have disciplined them.
Yes, God must feel this way. He must smile at us and be warmed in His holy heart— when we love His Presence, His people, His Word, His ways, and even His discipline. He is good and all good, and only good. There is nothing good in me but Him, but let Him increase and me decrease, and my students and the world be drawn deeper into loving our LORD Jesus Christ!
John 3:30 – He must increase, but I must decrease. [He must grow more prominent; I must grow less so.]
Even better is when I hear a student (or, especially, my own biological daughter, now a college graduate and about to be married, plus planning to have her own children a few years down the road!) speak back to me wisdom I imparted to them–when I thought they were ignoring me–years before!
So if He can do it with my daughter and students, then there is hope for me!