Be Strong and Courageous

I can't believe that the temperature is supposed to be nearly 70 degrees today. This is the month of February, after all, and we are supposed to be dealing with sleet, snow, and bitter cold, not balmy weather. All of our students' prayers for a snow day have come to naught, but they have had two days off this week, one thanks to Presidents Washington and Lincoln and the other thanks to parent teacher conferences. The dearth of snow days hasn't harmed us one bit. We are all relatively healthy in body, mind, and spirit, and we aren't playing catch-up for missed classes and scrambling to re-schedule basketball games and field trips. Greater Grace Christian Academy is chugging right along like a train steadily making its way down the tracks toward June and the final days of the school year.

We have much to accomplish between now and June 4th. Besides completing our academic courses and finishing sports seasons, we have concerts, a high school banquet, a spring fundraiser, several graduations, standardized testing, a field day, field trips, and faculty professional development days to get through. Our plates are full. By the time school ends in June, we will be ready for a breather, so that we can recover and regroup our forces for the school year beginning in September.

Considering everything that needs to be done can be daunting if all these things are put on the plate at once, but the truth is that we only have to put a little on our plates at one time. Thank goodness I do not have to swallow all of these tasks in one sitting, and I don't have to dine alone. Life can be overwhelming if you think about it in its entirety. A person can get stressed out if he thinks he must bear everything alone and bear it all at once. Fortunately, we believers have God who offers to carry all of our cares for us, who tells us not to worry about the future, but focus on what He has given us to do that day with His divine provisions and strength at our disposal.

I think of students who, for one reason or another, fall behind in school and begin to wilt in the face of what appears to them to be an insurmountable mountain of schoolwork to make up so that they can be on par with their classmates. The unhealthy stress, the fear that all is lost and cannot be recovered can lead to meltdowns, shutdowns, and physical issues. It is very important that parents and teachers help these students to see that they, too, need God's help to get them through this difficult time, and that with His help and the help and encouragement of parents and teachers, the hard work will pay off.

I read a quote from Zig Ziglar yesterday that said, "A lot of people have gone further than they thought they could because someone else thought they could." Encouragement is so important in our lives and in the lives of our children. Pastor Love has been speaking the past two weeks in chapel on the story of David facing the loss of all his people's women and children to the Amalekites at Ziklag. David, facing stoning at the hands of his own men in their grief, encouraged himself in the Lord. Pastor Love said that we all need to learn how to encourage ourselves in the Lord, since there will be times when there will be nobody else around who will encourage us.

As parents and educators, we need to be encouraging for each other and for our students, and all of us, students included, need to be learning how to encourage ourselves in the Lord, the same Lord who told Joshua, "Be strong and courageous." We need God's strength and courage to face difficulties and challenges in life. I think if we teach our children this truth, there is no telling how far they can go in life - they may go further than they thought they could!

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