Fifteen minutes into the school day, I could tell that it was going to be another challenging morning. Several of the kids hadn’t completed their homework, the noise level was higher than acceptable, and two of the boys had already been arguing. I sighed. I felt once again bogged down in the day-to-day frustrations of teaching.
At noon I called a friend and found her to be frustrated as well. Her coworkers’ complaining had gotten on her nerves to the extent that she had pounded on the table in disgust. We commiserated together briefly and then returned to our appointed tasks.
That evening as I read from Isaiah 61, verse three leaped out at me: “To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified.” Suddenly I realized anew that many of my students were mourning under great weights of heaviness, and that the Lord had given me the beauty, the oil of joy, and the garment of praise to share with them so that their loads might be lifted. It struck me that I could either stay in my current mindset of criticism and frustration, or I could share His beauty, joy, and praise with them, helping them to become “trees of righteousness” to His glory.
I called my friend again. Sharing the verse with her, I repented of my shallow, selfish attitude. We both resolved to draw strength from God’s Word to look past our own feelings and share His beauty, joy, and praise instead.
Prayer: Lord, thank You for Your promise in 2 Corinthians 12:9 that Your strength is made perfect in our weakness. Help us to daily trust Your power and strength to Your glory.
~ Janet Willig, writer
~ Deana Harvey, artist