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Read |John 14:25-27|
Consider the words of Jesus as He spoke to his disciples recorded in John 14:25-27:
“I have said these things to you while I am still with you. But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid.” (New Revised Standard Version).
We are now in September but those of us who are mothers of children still in school would have experienced the season of preparation for back to school. For me in Jamaica that meant sourcing expensive text and workbooks and other school supplies; ensuring uniforms were made in conformity to the school’s very particular guidelines; counting the pennies so that school fees could be found and explaining to my children, in nagging tone, that their lazy summer lifestyle was at an end and; outlining to them, the new rules that would force motivation of study--I hoped.
Added to the load of meeting schools’ requirements is the pressure from children to purchase the latest brands, in the hopes that they would cement their social acceptance. In most part, they are able to articulate how important it is to their social standing, their possession of endless lists of items. And unfortunately their concerns are real. They are factual. Their things will influence their social standing amongst their peers, something symptomatic of a fallen world. All children naturally want to fit in and so their concerns should be listened to and our responses should be empathetic.
For many, the school costs sparked arguments over finances with spouses and fathers. And if all of that were not enough, there were those thoughts that entered our minds: Suppose my child gets left behind. Suppose my child is bullied. Suppose the teacher just does not understand their challenges. Suppose my child is or becomes the bully. Suppose my child does not get the straight A’s needed to get into the High School or Ivy League University of choice. Suppose I can’t find the bus or lunch money. The spectrum of stress for every parent at the start of the school year might appear to be wide but, I have realized that at every level of the socio-economic divide, the stress is real.
Alas, it does happen that our children do not get the grades and do not advance onto the desired man-made path. Alas, sometimes our children are bullied or taken advantage of to the point where they entertain suicidal thoughts or even succumb to it. Alas, sometimes our children become bullies! Alas, poverty and poor resources create educational disadvantages. How depressing. What a stress. Yet, there is a light that shines in the darkness.
Something incredible occurred just over 2000 years ago-- a redeemer came to live amongst us in this mudded world. He came to experience day-to-day life as we experience it. He came face-to-face with the materialistic temptations that we and our children face. He came face to face with the making of humans and institutions into gods. He came face to face with poverty, injustice, unfair systems, lies and hate. And then that Redeemer carved out a new path for us. A path of redemption that we can walk even when we are hard pressed on every side. This path is one of restoration where at its end we will, like Adam and Eve before the Fall, enjoy the full presence of God and be restored to a reality where only God is our God and, where we will be able to love and understand completely through the eyes of Christ. So what do we do in the meantime? We lean on the sufficiency of Christ. Christ has left us the sweet Holy Spirit to guard and guide.
As we respond to the demands of the new school year, let us claim the power of the Holy Spirit. Let us impact our children by showing them that our expectation is in Jesus--not our phones, not our cars or houses, not people, not our children’s grades. With the guidance of the Holy Spirit let us instruct our children, in the midst of their demands and concerns, into a lived experience of the peace of God. Let us, in our day-to-day and moment-to-moment reliance on Jesus, encourage others into His peace. Let us sing:
Deep down into the depths of your Name
My God, I sink and dwell in calm delight
You are enough however long the day
You are enough however dark the night
You are my God – the All Sufficient One
You can create for me whatever I lack
Your mighty hand has strewn the lonely track
With miracles of love and tender care
What gift of Peace you have given that I can to dare
Once more to fling myself upon your breast
And there adore your ways in faith’s deep rest
And there adore your ways in faith’s quiet rest.
(Hymn lyrics originally written by Margaret E Barber (1869-1930) and tweaked by me).
Encourage your soul to increased reliance on Jesus Christ by meditating on the following scripture throughout the week:
2 Corinthians 4: 4-11
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Carolyn Sinclair McCalla is a daughter of God who believes that as we seek the truth of God's Word, and humble ourselves to live in agreement with it, that we will experience the transformation which allows us to enter wholistic wellness: spirit, soul and body. She is the Founder and President of EarthBasic and leads its Be-Held Community: a group of women seeking, living and being transformed by the truth of God’s Word together.