March Madness

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Core scripture“Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:6-7)

Message: March Madness is here!  On the basketball court AND in the classroom.  My beloved, youthful Kansas Jayhawks bowed out to a red hot Auburn team last weekend.  Hence, my focus has shifted from the hardwood to the normal anxieties that tickle the mind of teachers this time of year.  And don’t you know, these anxieties always come down to two words.

State testing.

There.  I said it.  It is no surprise that my stomach begins to twist into knots this time of year.  There are times I feel like someone is twisting my stomach into knots.  Like a fork into spaghetti noodles.  Satan starts breathing these questions in our ears that begin to fester and grow.

What if the technology crashes?  What if so-and-so forgets to charge his iPad for the 90th time?  What if there isn’t enough time to finish?  What if someone doesn’t take it seriously?  What if there are low scores that reflect poorly on my teaching?  What if those chronically absent kids don’t show up and fall behind in my class as they try to desperately make it up when they return?

I notice a commonality among all these questions.  They all are COMPLETELY out of my control.  We have to listen to God’s wisdom through scripture to crush the worry Satan spreads.  The Bible is our antidote, our prescription for anxiety.  If I were to cast all those questions in the paragraph above to the Lord, I imagine He might say something like this …

My precious, precious child.  “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9).  Let Me fight your battles.  Allow Me to lead you.  Pull out your sword, which is My Word, and slash back at Satan, letting the Holy Spirit take control. 

Your worries will begin to dissolve like Alka-Seltzer in water.  Let Me take them on.  “I am the LORD, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me?” (Isaiah 32:27).  I think not.  Trust in Me.  Believe!  “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble” (Matthew 6:34).

When I reason with God, my worries become laughable.  Next Tuesday, one week from today to be exact, I will take a deep breath and begin to read my script out of the testing booklet.  I will pray quietly over my students, giving them sureness.  I will embrace every glitch with a confident attitude, knowing my God is at my side.  I will watch His omnipotent power overwhelm my classroom with peace, self-assurance, and love.

Our God loves us too much to see us worry.  Humble yourselves.  Get down on your knees and confess that you cannot do this without Him.  When you rise above the waters of worry that engulf you, He will indeed exalt you!  Give those worries to God.  Why?  Because He cares for you more than you will ever know.

Challenge: Confess any anxieties you have to God.  Reason with Him.  Pray that you can trust more in Him, and ask for strength to stop fretting over things you cannot control.

Song application: “Sparrows” by Jason Gray

You can’t add a single day by worrying
You’ll worry your life away
Oh don’t worry your life away
You can’t change a single thing by freaking out
It’s just gonna close you in
Oh don’t let the trouble win

You may feel alone
But you’re not on your own

If He can hold the world He can hold this moment
Not a field or flower escapes His notice
Oh even the sparrow
Knows He holds tomorrow

Bible story: Even the heroes of the Bible were not immune to worry.  Joshua must have been at least slightly uneasy when he was asked to lead the Israelites into the land of Canaan.  How could he not?  Taking over for a legend like Moses … being surrounded by mobs of people who desperately needed direction—it must have been hard!  Read through Joshua 1 to listen to God’s encouragement and how it inspires Joshua to give the same message to the Israelites.

Video application: Just for fun, watch this Skit Guys sketch titled “5 Ways To Kill Fear.”  I found myself cracking up all the way through.  (Imagine that?  Laughing at fear!)

Prayer: Lord, take on every worry that invades my thoughts.  Help me trust in You with radical confidence.  Amen.

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