Wednesday, September 28, 2011

So you think God's a jerk?

Not to long ago I overheard someone explaining how they thought that Jesus was okay but that they hated his Dad. They didn't like how God kicked Satan and his angels out of Heaven and he didn't like how God let Adam sin, especially if he could foresee it.

Hmmm. Not sure how to get through to a hardened heart like that except to pray for them. I know that each and every one of us is selfish and wants to be our own god. But there can be only one, this puts a crimp in our relationship. But God wants a relationship with us. He loves us as His children, this is why He sent Jesus, so that we CAN receive God's love & forgiveness and be part of His family.

The person I eavesdropped on comes from a broken family and was deeply hurt by his father. He put huge expectations on God to fix some pretty big injustices in his life and he feels like God let him down.

I can't make things better for him and I doubt I could convince him that God's not as petty and selfish or as imperfect as he thinks He is. But I can keep praying for him and try to keep being patient with him even when he derides my faith in front of me.

And I can realize how much I'm just like him. How often have you complained about how life is? Have you ever been angry with God or "wrestled" with God? Do you ever catch yourself trying to tell God how to do His job?

Well, would you REALLY like to be in charge of the whole universe?

(NET) Isaiah 29:16 Your thinking is perverse! Should the potter be regarded as clay? Should the thing made say about its maker, "He didn't make me"? Or should the pottery say about the potter, "He doesn't understand"?

(NET) Job 38:4 "Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell me, if you possess understanding!

(NET) Ezekiel 18:25 "Yet you say, 'The Lord's conduct is unjust!' Hear, O house of Israel: Is my conduct unjust? Is it not your conduct that is unjust?

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Pray for teachers

"God, giver of all wisdom, bless our schools, and help our educators and administrators to faithfully perform the work that you have given them. Amen."

~Adapted from a prayer by F. D. Maurice (received in today's Sojourner magazine's daily "Verse & Voice" email).

Teaching is a pretty beleaguered profession lately- whether it's Republican governors revoking their right to collective bargaining, nasty editorials blaming them for poor test scores, anxious parents frustrated by their kid's report cards, or disrespectful students who treat them like retail clerks- teacher's are really getting beat up by society. But even if you agree with everyone who dislikes teachers- remember that Jesus told us to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute you (Matthew 5:44).

So... instead of resenting teachers, complaining about teachers, trying to get them fired, or seeing how far you can push them until the quit or have a nervous break-down... why not pray for them? (This fits pretty well with Timothy 2:1-2 if you're still a student, rather than a parent or not involved with schools anymore).

Teachers spend their days trying to prepare children for adulthood in the real world. They're not perfect, they're human just like you are. Wait? They're human? So maybe we should help them "bear their burdens," like it says in Galatians 6:2 or maybe we should try to encourage them and build them up like 1 Thessalonians 5:11.

Supporting, encouraging, loving and praying for people. I don't know many teachers that don't try to practice these things all day long and all school-year long for their students. I'll stipulate that there are selfish jerks out there, but fortunately, in my experience, they're pretty rare. You usually don't become a teacher if you don't genuinely care about kids or making a difference. There are a helluva lot of better ways to make more money- that's for sure!

Since most teachers care for (or at least try to care for) our children, why don't we return the favor. Come to think of it, maybe the teachers out there who aren't as supportive or encouraging as we wish they would be need our prayers even more! All teachers need out patience and understanding. They're under a lot of pressure and have some pretty lofty expectations demanded of them.

It's not some special holiday or "be kind to teachers" week or anything like that- it's just a great idea. Whether you're a student, a parent, or just a former student, take a minute to pray for the teachers in your town. God knows they need it. And the next time you're tempted to complain about a school, a principal or teachers- please take some time to pray for them first, then decide if you still want to complain later.