~ Philippians 4:8 ~
I sit and listen to Laura mildly venting her frustrations about the results of a test she gave earlier today. I feel a bit sorry for her. She loves the History subject and has done so much preparation for teaching those classes. She wrote a test that she thought they’d be able to do easily. It was mostly multiple choice and matching. I looked at the test and thought she’d done a great job – I’m slightly awed by her test writing skills, she manages to think of everything.
Well the test results were very poor. And this often happens often. We try to teach them the subject. We make it as simple as we can. They seem to understand it in class. We have taught and revised, and revised and retaught and revised some more – Then we give the test and get disappointing results. I have noticed in their main learning style here, a lot of it is memorization, and many don’t seem to know how to link ideas together, or recognize patterns.
While I dwell on these thoughts, other thoughts come to mind. For example, how often the things I do are misunderstood and misinterpreted. Often after trying to show them I care or do something good for them, and especially after discipline, they will not understand and then speak badly about me or to me, and worse, deliberately ignore me. I really dislike being misunderstood and ignored.
Then I am reminded about how sometimes they seem to start to think of us as a vending machine. Continually asking for things – candy, bread, pillows, shoes, clothes, blankets, books, pens, toothbrushes, soap, toothpaste etc. Then, when I do not have these items they get angry at me and tell me how because I am a foreigner I am rich and should give more. If I tell them truthfully that I have no money, they say I’m lying. If I tell them that they do not need what they are asking for or that they should stop spending their own money on junk-food and buy it themselves, I get angry, door-slamming attitude.
As I dwell on these “injustices” which I often think that I only sometimes deserve – after all I’m not perfect and I am selfish and make many mistakes – I feel sad and frustrated. I love these children, these people, and I want to do good things for them and to give them good things and to teach them many things. I want them to know that I love them and most importantly I want them to know that God loves them.
Then, right in the middle of my self-pitying contemplation, I hear a quiet voice say;
“That’s exactly what you do to Me”
And at once I am chastened and ashamed. Because it’s true. I do do that to God.
Why should I complain? God is perfect and I am sinful. God loves me and everyone else more than I can ever love these children. He only does good for us. In fact the Bible says that God does only good to everyone – evil and good!
“That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for He maketh His sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.” ~ Matthew 5:45 ~
And yet our loving heavenly Father is the most misunderstood. He is the most misinterpreted and misrepresented. He is treated like a blessing vending machine. And if He doesn’t answer our prayers how we want then we sulk and complain, slam the door of our heart shut on Him, and worst of all, maybe ignore Him.
Once again I realize that I’ve been thinking about myself again. Self – my greatest enemy. And I thank God for reminding me that this life is not about me. It’s not to be lived for self. That the purpose of my life is to bring glory to God. Then I remember that He understands how I feel, that if He can keep loving this sinful earth which rejected Him and killed His Son, I can focus on Him and by His power keep serving Him and loving others through Him. He died to redeem this earth and one day He will live with us forever.
“And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.” ~ Revelation 21:3 ~
He wants to dwell with us!
I will meditate on that.