Have you ever had one of those moments when you second guess yourself? You make a decision that at the time seems harmless, but then one thing leads to another, and soon enough your seemingly innocent choice crushes your conscience. All seems bleak and hopeless. Your trust that God can pull you through is shot. Worry starts to creep in, and then you begin to play with that worry. You massage it, toy around with it, and it becomes a part of you. You mold into everything that is crusty, dark, and full of acidic venom that chews your stomach. I had one of those moments a few weeks ago.
Every year, I let my students vote on who they think deserves the Ohana King and Queen of the Year. This year I thought four boys and four girls from each of my five classes was fair enough for the first round of voting. Some classes were harder than others to come up with names. One of my classes early in the day was one of those classes. I had three boys deserving of being considered for the award, but I was struggling with my fourth. After thinking on it for a few minutes, I came up with the fourth boy, a pretty popular kid who excelled at sports and in the classroom. The problem was although he was good for me, I knew he was acting up in other classes. Nonetheless, he made my list.
I didn’t think it was that big of a deal until I saw the first Survey Monkey results roll in that afternoon. That kid—we will call him Sam to keep him anonymous—won first hour in a LANDSLIDE. Dude, it wasn’t even close! When I put his name up against the four other boys from different hours the following day, I began to see my predicament. You see, the Ohana King and Queen of the Year were supposed to epitomize kindness, humility, and a selfless attitude that served others. Although Sam showed that for me, I knew others would certainly not be saying the same. But I could not tell a lie. I couldn’t just give the award to someone else more deserving.
Only two boys were getting any love from the voting: Sam and another much more deserving gentleman from one of my afternoon classes. We’ll call him Eric, once again for privacy. Eric fit the role perfectly. He didn’t have an enemy in the world, he was a stellar student, and his heart poured out to others. What Eric lacked was the popularity that Sam had. I checked Survey Monkey after each class period to see what was transpiring. By the end of the day Sam, Mr. Popularity, had 33 votes, and Eric had 31. I was doomed! It just didn’t feel right giving the award to a young man who I thought didn’t deserve it half as much as his counterpart. Yet I knew my faith did not allow any fabrication of the reality of that survey. So I took the issue to my team the very next day.
“Do you still have that survey link?” one of my team members asked.
“Sure,” I said. “What’s up?”
“Send me the link. Our votes have to count for something.”
Just like that, the vote was tied at 33. I had already voted earlier that day, and we were missing another member. It made me feel better, but anxiety still choked me. 1 Peter 5: 7 was on my heart: “Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.” So I took it to God. That night AND the next morning, I prayed. But do you know how sometimes you pray something without boldness and assurance that God will answer? That was me. Why couldn’t I just trust Him? “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight” (Proverbs 3: 5-6). I knew there was only one way to settle this: a vote off! Sam vs. Eric. Popularity vs. the underdog.
After first hour, the vote was insanely in favor of Sam, yet third hour was the exact opposite. After two class periods, two votes separated the boys. It was about then that fifth hour rolled in, and my attitude finally changed for the better. I smiled up at the Big Guy upstairs and prayed in my head, “God, You got this one. I know You will pull through for me, but more importantly, for these kids.” Sure enough, by the end of sixth hour, the voting was over. Even though seventh hour still loomed ahead, Eric had dominated the last two hours enough that Sam couldn’t win even with every single seventh hour vote. When I crowned Eric on that last day of school with the Ohana King of the Year crown, it was hard not to get choked up a little. He certainly deserved his moment in the sun.
Ever been there before with worry? That story is such an awesome reminder that God is in charge of our lives, and He will undoubtedly take care of us. Sometimes God answers prayers differently than what we wish, but He has that uncanny ability to spin hopelessness into something awesome. So, where are you doubting Him? What worry is strangling the life out of your day? What anxiety do you need to fully lay down at His feet? No matter how big the problem, God cares. He’s got this one! He loves you too much. “No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8: 39.)
(Lauren Daigle’s new song “Trust in You” talks about a blind trust in God that shatters all worry. Even when God answers our prayers differently than expected, we owe Him that trust. Listen to the song below.)