The following article was written for our monthly PSP newsletter. With permission from our principal, we are sharing this with you; praying you are blessed by the heart of his message. Enjoy!
I recently had a conversation with a couple that was new to home schooling. To say that they were discouraged would be an understatement. They started out excited about what they believed to be God’s call on their lives regarding the raising and educating of their children, but were now ready to throw in the towel. What had changed in the short time since the school year began?
The answer is a couple of things had changed. First of all, as we all have come to understand, “free time” is a luxury that the home school mom is often lacking. For those used to dropping kids off at school, doing as they need, wish, and please until it is time to pick the kids up can be a difficult thing to let go of. “Where do I find the time to…?” is a frequent question amongst newer home school moms. Balancing family, taking care of the home, looking after kids, a husband, three dogs, a cat, the turtle, and 5 goldfish can be quite demanding. Coming to terms with the fact that home schooling is not just “something we do,” but in fact really is a totally different life style can take some adjusting to. Some people never accept the change and, sadly, stop home schooling before they start to see the real blessings begin to come in.
Another thing that had changed was the perspective of their kids. The delusion that home schooling meant no more work, lots of extra play time, and running around in pajamas (sometimes that does happen, but shouldn’t be counted on) all day was quickly dispelled by devotions, about 5 extra subjects (the creative home school mom can easily give credit for many things taken for granted), and added responsibilities to look after younger siblings while Mom helps another with their lesson.
I was reminded of the account in Exodus 11 of the children of Israel and their situation… “…so the children of Israel also wept again and said: ‘Who will give us meat to eat? We remember the fish which we ate freely in Egypt, the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions, and the garlic: but now our whole being is dried up; there is nothing at all except this manna before our eyes!” Numbers 11:4-6.
The Lord disciplined the children of Israel for their grumbling and complaining, not because meat is evil itself, but because the dissatisfaction with what He had provided was an offense. They were looking back with longing to the way things used to be; which, if we remember correctly, included slavery, cruel treatment, and misery (so easily overlooked in their moment of hunger).
Discontentment will always poison our joy in that which we do have, what God is doing, and the fruits of our current labor later on. In Philippians 3 Paul describes in verses 7-11 the idea that the things he had had to “give up” for Christ were actually rubbish by comparison to what he had gained in knowing Christ. In context, he was specifically dealing with his Hebrew heritage, zeal for the law, and assumed righteousness; but the concept applies to us as well: the things which God calls us away from are not to be desired over the blessings He wants to bring into our lives when we are obedient to His will, His calling, and His Spirit as He leads us.
The other question I had to ask this couple was, “What has not changed since the Lord called them to home school?” The answer was basically that God had not told them to stop. Many times, we look at our circumstances, which can certainly be trying at times, and assume that because there is opposition, this must not be God’s will for us.
While this can, in fact, be true, it isn’t necessarily the rule that should be applied to every choice we make. In Acts 9:15-16 we read the following: “But the Lord said to him (Ananias), ‘Go, for he is a chosen vessel of Mine to bear My name before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel. For I will show him how many things he must suffer for My name’s sake.’“ In this passage, it is clear that Paul’s sufferings were not a result of him not hearing God correctly, but rather the result of his actual obedience to the calling God had placed on his life.
When we walk in obedience to God’s call upon our lives, we not only can expect difficulty, but should. The enemy is not going to go down without a fight, and throughout history, whenever God has sent His own to deliver, preach, and disciple, there was always opposition. Should we expect any less when we have taken our children out of a public school system wherein he has free reign?
So where does that leave us? With the family I had the opportunity to speak to, it left them needing to be obedient to God’s call for their family, even though it was difficult, thankless, and filled with opposition. Oftentimes that is, in fact, the situation we find ourselves in. What we know we should do is the hardest choice. It would be so much easier to give up, say, “It’s too hard,” turn around, and head back to Egypt; but to do so would go against what we know God has said to us.
Thankfully, we are reminded that our help comes from the Lord. In Philippians 4:10-12 Paul writes regarding contentment, regardless of circumstances, and concludes his statements with the following: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Php 4:13). In Hebrews 4 we are reminded that Jesus Himself intercedes with the Father on our behalf, and that as our great High Priest, He is able to understand our situations, thus making His intercession perfect in every way.
“But how,” one may ask, “can He understand this…?” Remember the Garden of Gethsemane? God is no stranger to a difficult task for people that don’t appreciate what is being done for them, and who attempt to make the difficult even more unendurable. Since our trials are eclipsed by the enormity of redemption at the cross, we seek grace and mercy from the One who understands better than we think. The resources of Heaven were enough to see Jesus through Calvary. How much more can He help us as we strive each day to walk with Him? If we really stop to analyze things, even when the going gets rough, He still includes little joys along the way to keep our hearts encouraged.
May He strengthen you when you are weary, comfort you when you are hurting, fill you when you are empty, and settle you when you are anything but at peace. He really is sufficient.