They gathered in front of me for one last morning devotions. Twenty-eight faces. Some ready for the day of lasts. Many unsure what the day would hold. Others completely unprepared. Emotions laid bare on faces. It was our last morning together.
We ended like we had started.
The Lord will fulfill His purpose for me: Your love O Lord endures forever – do not abandon the works of your hands. Psalm 138:8 (NIV, 1984)
The text had been our devotion on the first day of school. The ten months had passed in the blink of an eye. As we sat down for the last day, it was only fitting to end as we had begun.
The Lord will fulfill His purpose for me. God has a plan for every life. It was by design and purpose that each of those learners had been placed into my room for the school year. We learned together. We cried together. We grew in character together. None of it was a chance occurrence. There was purpose in every moment. We looked for God’s direction. We sought His hand. We felt His peace surround us. Some days were great. Others could be described as the exact opposite. But all of it had a purpose – to grow every person in the room, adult and child alike, to become more Christlike. To be more like Him. Sometimes His purpose is clear and it is easy to spot and therefore easy to apply and follow. Other times, God’s purpose seems hidden, buried deep under layers of life, easily missed. But, regardless of experience and circumstance, God has a purpose for every life.
The application: Keep looking and listening. God’s purpose for each life is unfolding. Keep in step with Him. As He continues to reveal His purpose a step at a time, walk in His way. I know He has good plans that He will carry to completion.
Your love O Lord endures forever. We have sung, over and over again, about the love God has for us. It is vast – deeper, wider, higher than we can ever understand. It knows no limit. It cannot be outrun, out-muscled, out-sinned. It goes on and on and on. God’s love never gives up. His stamina defies human logic. It’s a love that passes the test of time. It will not flicker and fade. Rather, it is steadfast and true, a constant presence. This love is collective. He loves the world so deeply He sent His Son to die for its redemption. It’s personal and specific. He loves me. He knows the number of hairs on my head. He knows what has made me laugh. What has made me cry. What has caused my heart to delight. What has broken it in two. He has walked, and continues to walk, each moment of life with me. In love.
The application: Bask in the love God has for you. Notice His love and affection. Ask Him to open your eyes to His love. I sometimes forget. I need reminding that God loves me. Remember the moments where God showed up and showered you with love and affection. His presence is there. In love.
Do not abandon the works of your hands. We built things this year – LEGO projects, Science experiments that failed (on purpose). We wrote this year – paragraph plans, paragraphs, articles, stories, poetry. We read – books that made us laugh, others that were really serious. We were creative this year – art projects, gifts made, music classes. The works of our hands were many. The stack of work the learners took home was bigger than they thought it would be. At times, some of them were ready to give up. The work had moments of easiness but, more often than not, the brains were stretched to try something new. God’s work of forming and shaping is similar. When we allow Him to, He works on our lives with purpose and direction shaping and forming us to be the image bearers of His name. Sometimes we do not let Him work. We resist, throwing up our hands in an attempt at self-preservation. He is working on us and in us even in those moments. It’s much less comfortable and fun but He is at work. God’s perseverance defies understanding. He does not get tired and weary. He will go with us right to the end. He has promised to never leave us or forsake us. What grace and mercy to know that God is with us. Now and always.
The challenge: Let God do the forming and shaping that He desires. While it will not always be comfortable or even fun, His end desire and purpose is beautiful Christ-like character. The result of God’s work – better than could ever be anticipated.
We ended as we began. A God of purpose, love and continuity has been our focus. He goes before, behind, above and below. He knows each summer with all its plans and hopes and dreams. He will continue with us whether we are all together or not. Twenty-eight faces. Image bearers of Christ. What a challenge and blessing to have been their teacher.