Seventh period. Oh, the joy.
I ran my fingers through my straight, light, sandy brown hair, then looked at my class, which at the moment, was in the middle of a paper ball war that apparently was much more important than passing the eighth grade. I didn’t like to yell, but I knew I had to. As I opened my mouth, about to chasten the class, something small and sharp flew into my mouth. “ACK! ACK!” I coughed up the item into my hand as the class was hysterically laughing. “A tiny little paper ball.”, I mumbled. Wonderful. I could figure out who threw it just by examining the front row and seeing who had the smug little smirk on their face, being “Whoop whoop!”ed and “You go boy!”ed, as if he had actually accomplished something other than make me want to rip the smirk off his face. Being a Christian, however, that was not the Christ-like thing to do. I simply restrained myself to screaming at him and then sending him to the office with a nice little referral in his hand.
Sometimes I wonder what makes these kids not care about their future, what makes this kids act like ignoramuses. Why they don’t just calm down, pull up their pants, and learn some math. As of now, the highest grade in this class was a 42. It makes me really nervous, with the fact that these ‘wonderful children’ could get me fired.
But even if I do get fired, I’ll still love these little kids. As Christians, Jesus called us to love our neighbors. And as much as I would love to sometimes, I can’t just say, “They don’t live next door to me.”, and proceed to throw a desk at them. That’s not the right thing to do. It isn’t what Jesus would do if he for whatever odd reason was teaching math to a bunch of rowdy teenagers.
Oh, and as I was going through this great philosophical spiel, the paper war only got worse. Kids were running across the room, singing whatever obscene song they heard on the radio with a youthful glee. (It makes me wish I could make them sit down and listen to some Pillar, some Lecrae, some Kutless, some Flyleaf, the good stuff, you know?) Not wanting to subject my ears nor anyone else’s to this rubbish, I (attempted) to silence the class. Apparently I wasn’t speaking in English because they only got louder.
“This was it.”, I thought. No way could I get out without strangling somebody without God’s help. Unafraid of insults, teasing, and exhausted from dealing with this on my own, I dropped to my knees and prayed.
“Father God, I thank you for this day. I thank you for my job, and I thank you for my salvation. I confess that I’ve had some pretty violent thoughts toward these children, and I confess that I sin in that. I ask forgiveness and I ask that you may help me to repent and change my ways. I pray that I may seek Your Kingdom and Your Will, not mine, and somehow influence these young people to come to You. I confess that there is no way I can love these neighbors on my own. I need Your help. So please deliver me from the temptation to strangle or otherwise harm these kids, and help me to love them as myself. I praise You for your holiness and Your mercy, and I pray that I may serve you better tomorrow. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.”
As any Christian would tell you, and as I have learned in my five years with God, He will provide. I was ‘saved by the bell’, only not by the bell, but by Divine Providence. As it rang, the kids scurried out of the room, almost running one another over. Seriously, it’s amazing how much energy these kids have after being pent up in some stuffy, cold classroom for 55 minutes.
To glorify God for what He has done, I went over to my bag, dug around for my Bible, and placed it on my desk. There is no coincidence in the first page I opened it to and the first verse I noticed:
For the Lord loveth judgment, and forsaketh not his saints; they are preserved for ever: but the seed of the wicked shall be cut off. (Psalm 37:28 KJV)
I went back to the beginning of Psalm 37 and read, eating up what the Lord had to say to me this afternoon. After reading, I looked up to the ceiling, and felt the Holy Spirit strengthening me. I whispered, “I love you, Heavenly Father…” as if I was standing next to God and He had His ear near my lips, as if I was going to tell Him a secret. Feeling satisfied, I knew He loves me, a poor, hot-headed, blue-eyed, short, and sarcastic math teacher, even more than I could ever love Him. He loves me so much He gave His only Son to die in my place and rise. And that’s why I love Him in the first place.