Give me a word that describes the last two weeks of school. How about chaotic? Frantic? Crazy? Energy-sapping? The word stressful wouldn’t begin to do it justice. You are attempting to wrap up the final unit of the year, the kids are like hamsters on caffeine, 75 e-mails flood your inbox with last second changes to plans, and your patience is about as thin as a piece of transparent paper. Sound familiar? This is the time of year when we as Christian teachers need God’s blueprint to get through life. Where is that found? In the Bible of course. The problem is that due to our hectic schedules, some of us might be tempted to forgo our daily quiet time in favor of getting work done.
I am certainly not immune to the chaos of the last few weeks of school. The students are checking iPads in today in my class. I am preparing to grade 126 Outsiders final exams soon. I still have awards to prepare for my students next week. I will be presenting at Summer Conference in three weeks and still need to wrap up my PowerPoint. I have two more graduation parties to attend. Oh, and to top it all off, we are getting new carpet this summer in my building, so I am responsible for boxing up EVERYTHING on the floor and labeling it with my name and room number. Amidst the chaos that is my life, I am tempted at times to skip my quiet time in order to get things done. But I can’t. I simply can’t.
Have you ever had one of those moments when God speaks directly to you through His Word? I was laying on my bed Saturday afternoon, reading my Bible-in-a-year app on my iPad, when it happened to me. Saturday was a rough anniversary for me. Four years ago to the day, I had hit rock bottom in life. It has been difficult to get over the scars left behind, but God heals all wounds through time. I prayed beforehand for God to reveal something to me through my time with Him. As I read through Psalm 118, it hit me like a ton of bricks.
3 Death wrapped its ropes around me;
the terrors of the grave overtook me.
I saw only trouble and sorrow.
4 Then I called on the name of the Lord:
“Please, Lord, save me!”
5 How kind the Lord is! How good he is!
So merciful, this God of ours!
6 The Lord protects those of childlike faith;
I was facing death, and he saved me.
7 Let my soul be at rest again,
for the Lord has been good to me.
8 He has saved me from death,
my eyes from tears,
my feet from stumbling.
9 And so I walk in the Lord’s presence
as I live here on earth!
How did He know? How could this Psalm of David capture my feelings so perfectly, with truth and purpose? I was baffled. A single tear trickled down my cheek, and I paused to praise God for the life He has blessed me with since that day. It was astounding. As if that moment was not enough, I sat in my comfy black leather chair the next morning reading from the same app on my Bible-in-a-year. This time it was Ezekiel 37 that rocked my world.
A Valley of Dry Bones
37 The Lord took hold of me, and I was carried away by the Spirit of the Lord to a valley filled with bones. 2 He led me all around among the bones that covered the valley floor. They were scattered everywhere across the ground and were completely dried out. 3 Then he asked me, “Son of man, can these bones become living people again?”
“O Sovereign Lord,” I replied, “you alone know the answer to that.”
4 Then he said to me, “Speak a prophetic message to these bones and say, ‘Dry bones, listen to the word of the Lord! 5 This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Look! I am going to put breath into you and make you live again! 6 I will put flesh and muscles on you and cover you with skin. I will put breath into you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the Lord.’”
7 So I spoke this message, just as he told me. Suddenly as I spoke, there was a rattling noise all across the valley. The bones of each body came together and attached themselves as complete skeletons. 8 Then as I watched, muscles and flesh formed over the bones. Then skin formed to cover their bodies, but they still had no breath in them.
9 Then he said to me, “Speak a prophetic message to the winds, son of man. Speak a prophetic message and say, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Come, O breath, from the four winds! Breathe into these dead bodies so they may live again.’”
10 So I spoke the message as he commanded me, and breath came into their bodies. They all came to life and stood up on their feet—a great army.
This time I laughed. God smiled too. Two times in a period of 24 hours—are you kidding me? How’s that for people who say the Old Testament is out of date and can’t apply to our lives today! Moments like these simply can’t be substituted. They can’t be compromised in favor of sleep, getting work done, or vegging out and watching a show on Hulu. Hebrews 4: 12 speaks so much truth when the author says, “For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.” Something so powerful should not be tossed aside!
Do me a favor, Christian teacher. Whoever you are, make a promise right now. Promise that you will spend time in God’s Word on a consistent basis over the next few weeks. Promise you will set that alarm clock 15 minutes earlier or that you’ll forgo your evening routine of watching the Voice in favor of a little chair time with God. Let His truth be your guide. Put scripture in your heart. Listen to worship songs to and from work, and pay attention to those moments God blesses you with as you study His Word. The Bible should be your substance for the day. It has life-sustaining truths that carry us through. Who knows? You might just have an epiphany that makes you smile. And believe me, God will too.
(When you make time for God on a consistent basis, your world comes alive! You notice little things that you might have skipped over before. We Are Messengers new hit song “Everything Comes Alive” has been my anthem recently, and it is a powerful reminder that God indeed breathes life into everything we see. Even sinners like me.)