Posted by Bobette Hatteberg, Cornerstone’s Children’s Ministry Director
On a recent Sunday evening we gathered at Cornerstone Community Church for a Back-to-School Prayer Gathering. These are some thoughts that were shared before we prayed for students, teachers, administrators, school staff, and parents. While these truths are related to the start of school they apply to many situations.
Four Truths to Remember
1. How you walk through this time is what’s most important! Whether you’re trying to decide whether your child should learn remotely or in the building, whether you’re deciding how your school will function, or whether you’re totally changing how you school or where you go, what is most important is how you trust the Lord during this time. That is way more important than any decision you make. First Corinthians 10:31 challenges us:
“So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” How you respond to our current situation is what matters to God. He cares about your heart way more than he cares about what decision you actually make. While Scripture certainly encourages us to carefully weigh our decisions (Proverbs 18:15) and to ask God for wisdom (James 1:5), in the end, God calls you to be faithful and to honor Him, not to make a perfect decision.
As for schooling, the Bible doesn’t detail the best option for every Christian family. It only mandates that parents faithfully raise their children in the instruction of the Lord, teaching them to love God and others as they follow God’s design for life.
Deuteronomy 6:6-7 says, “And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.”
Ephesians 6:4 says, “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.”
While there are strengths and weaknesses to any choice, when believing parents have a humble heart and desire to honor the Lord in the circumstances he’s given them, God will direct their path and work all things for their good in Christ. Your motives, your responses, and your heart attitudes are most important to the Lord.
Others are watching. Parents, your children are watching you. Proverbs 13:20 tells us “He who walks with the wise becomes wise.” They are watching. They are listening. They are learning how to handle hard decisions. They are learning how to either trust a decision or to trust God! Administrators, your faculty and staff are watching you. Teachers, your students and parents are watching you. Christians have a wonderful opportunity to be a light and a testimony as this new school year starts as they seek hard after God and try to honor him as they walk through this time. How you walk through this time is what matters most to God!
2. Every time you respond to authorities in your life or communicate something about submission to authority, you are also teaching your child and those around you something about how to respond to God’s authority.
Romans 13:1 tells us, “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.”
God calls us to live under authority. He is our ultimate authority and has delegated authority to people within the institutions he has established (home, church, state, and business, and in the case of your child, whatever school you choose). One of the most important foundational heart issues in the life of every child is how they will respond to authority.
Teaching and modeling the protective beauty of authority is one of the foundations of good parenting. There is no more important heart issue for every child ever born, including you and me, than the issue of authority. Sin makes us want our own way. Sin makes us want to establish our own rules. Sin convinces all of us that we know better. Sin causes me to want to do what I want to do, when and how I want to do it. Sin makes me resist being told what to do by another. Sin inserts me at the center of my world, the only place that I must never be because the center of my life is the place for God and God alone.
As you walk through these decisions and the upcoming ramifications of those decisions, your children are learning how to respect authority, including how to show respect to authority that may not make decisions you agree with or even like. Every time you communicate something about submission to authority, you are also teaching your child/the world something about how to respond to God’s authority.
3. While the loss of a normal school year is hard, Jesus is better than everything we’ve lost due to this pandemic. We have all lost things – time with friends and family, special celebrations, comfortable routines, jobs, etc. But Jesus is better. He is the anchor our souls need.
Hebrews 6:19–20 reads, “We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain, where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf, having become a high priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.”
This verse reminds us that an anchor is to hold something steady. This passage is talking about a kind of hope that can keep us steady. Today more than ever we must hold onto that anchor – we must teach our children to hold onto that anchor. Jesus is better than all the things we’ve lost due to this pandemic. He is the only sure thing. He is unchanging. He will never leave us or forsake us. He is always right with us. Our children have lost many things these past months. Give them what is better.
4. You can trust God who sees all and knows all. There are no limits to God’s rule. This is part of what it means to be God. He is sovereign over the whole world, and everything that happens in it. He is never helpless, never frustrated, never at a loss. And in Christ, God’s awesome, sovereign providence is the place we feel most reverent, most secure, most free. We cannot see the future. We cannot know what might change as the school year starts. We cannot know how well something will go. But we can be content and at peace because GOD knows! God sees and knows all, including the future. You can trust Him with the future, including your child’s future or your future career in education.
This is a time to build a big view of God! And in trusting a Big God we can walk into this fall with faith and confidence in Him to walk beside us, to use us for His glory, and to grow us to be more like Him!