Core scripture: “I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:11-13)
Message: We have all been there before. You have the perfect lesson planned utilizing the iPad. The kids are stoked, you are fired up … and then the wifi goes down. Next thing you know, the intercom bleeps that annoying sound, and your principal says, “The wifi in the entire district will be down for the day. We appreciate your patience as our technicians work to fix the situation.”
You hear that “losing on a gameshow sound” in your head. Yeah, the one below.
Jesus had those moments. You certainly remember his feeding of the 5,000 miracle, but some may not know what led Him to that moment. He had just received word that his cousin, John the Baptist, was beheaded. He was going to “a solitary place” to get right with the Lord and pray—then a plethora of people swarmed Him. And they were hungry!
Jesus might have done his best Homer Simpson, “DOH!” at that moment.
Or He could have just rolled with it. You can see His brain whirling here. Geez, over 5,000 people here. They’re all starving. My disciples don’t know what to do. Time to play miracle worker. He gathers His disciples in for a game plan and lets them see the miracle firsthand. They divide out five loaves of bread and two fish, watching it multiply before their very eyes.
And there were still 12 baskets of leftovers.
Teachers can learn so much from this. Have a backup plan. Be ready to use whatever situation you have to glorify God. The Lord works all things for our good (Romans 8:28), and He probably sees an opportunity that you hadn’t even fathomed to make something even bigger happen. “For (His) thoughts are nothing like your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:8a). Think about it.
How about some examples?
- A gas leak in the science room leads the entire building to evacuate outside. You see a lesson lost. God sees an opportunity for a team building game on the lawn.
- A power outage in the building leaves you with only the window light. You feel frustration. God feels this is an awesome time to share a life lesson story.
- The wifi goes down, and you cannot finish the assessment on the computer. You want to shake your fist. God wants to give the kids a break and see you laugh with your students as you play “pass the word.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J2mmLApszqc
- Your iPad app is completely shot. You roll your eyes. God says it is time to roll on to the backup lesson you printed off for an emergency sub. Be one step ahead! God knows you are learning problem-solving skills. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fRMtq_7f0OY
You get the point. Just like my colleague Jennifer had to do when she got back from break and her math program was fried, she got creative. She rolled with it. The more you are proactive and have those backup plans ready ahead of time, the less hair you will be pulling out of your head. (In my case, I guess I have learned the hard way considering my folically challenged demeanor.)
Like Paul says in our core scripture above, be content no matter what the circumstance. Put on a smile, and just roll with it!
Scripture study: Read the story of Jesus feeding the 5,000 in Matthew 14:1-21.
- What led Jesus to this moment?
- How did He respond?
- How did God work everything for the good?
Challenge: Get those backup plans ready. Put yourself in situations where the absolute worst thing happens, and then be creative. Open your mind to how God could be using this for the good of your classroom.
Just for fun: My wife teaches preschool. She had an awesome story about a new 3-year old that arrived yesterday. While testing him on his ABC’s, she showed him the letter B, asking him what it was. With bravado and gusto, the little guy shouts out, “ROCKET SHIP!!!” (Laughing as I write this)
Just for fun (part 2): You know your children have had your iPad when the suggested YouTube video on your iPad reads “Top 20 Pokémon songs.”
Prayer: Father, help me not get frustrated when lessons get changed at the last minute. Let me use those moments to be flexible and glorify You in ways I had never imagined. Amen.