Saturday, April 25, 2009

Relinquishing Control: DVD's, future plans, and daily life

It seems that I still need to be reminded of God's trustworthiness and sovereignty. His character has never changed, but I like to control things myself instead of relying on Him.

First, as I work in a classroom ministry, I tend to act as though my meager efforts will truly educate and even transform the students I love. Wrong. God is at work in them just as he is at work in me. I get to be involved in his plans because it will do me good not because the LORD needs me.

This truth was evident when, after careful planning, I could not find some materials for a class--the day of the class. The school's copy of a DVD was missing, and I did not have a back up. Now, as the school year draws to a close, I don't have days to "waste" because of missing materials. I prayed half-heartedly, sent out urgent e-mails, tried to rent the film on iTunes, everything I could think of to no avail. The morning was not going well for me. How could I have let this happen? As the bell rang and I trudged back to my classroom to inform my students that our next lesson and project would have to wait, a colleague casually walked up to me and asked if I still needed the DVD. He had been running some tech tests with DVD's and had my film in his office (which was just across the hall from my room). There would be no delay to the lesson. All was just fine.

Another issue for which I've needed to be reminded of God's absolute goodness and trustworthiness is my teaching assignment for next year. Currently, ICSB is losing a marvelous English teacher as she needs to return to the States. The remaining, experienced English teacher and I have been planning out how to take her classes in addition to the ones we are currently teaching. The classes I'll pick up are going to be great; they are fun kids and some of my favorite material. The concern lies with the workload that I'll have. Combine the added classes with my habit of slow grading, and I may be buried under paper in the fall. But, see? God has great plans about which I need not worry. He cares for my students, for me, and for his eternal kingdom purposes. He's got it covered, and he is abundantly loving. No worries.

As I wrestle with the "minor" moments of missing DVD's, the weighty issue of workloads, and the bigger concern for my students' hearts and minds, the Holy Spirit reminds me of some Scripture:

Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, "This is the way; walk in it." Isaiah 30:21

Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man. Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and shun evil. Proverbs 3:3-7

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also redestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. Romans 8:28-29

"The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands. And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything, because he himself gives all men life and breath and everything else. From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us. 'For in him we live and move and have our being.'" Acts 17:24-28

Whether it is in the powerful moments akin to the holding back of the Jordan River so Israel could cross or the small moments in the quietness of my heart day to day, God is at work. He is powerful and gentle. He is mighty and good. It is to this trustworthy and patient Savior that I can freely relinquish control. I'm so thankful that he has reminded me again.

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