This is the Way
- August 2, 2021
- Posted by: Carolyn Mahal
- Category: Devotions
And though the Lord give you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, yet your Teacher will not hide himself anymore, but your eyes shall see your Teacher. And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left. – Isaiah 30:20-21
Teachers across the country embarked upon the start of a school year that would test them in ways nobody could have ever imagined. The numbers of people impacted by the COVID-19 virus had flattened, but there were fears of a dramatic increase with the coming fall and winter months. Schools prepared for any number of contingencies with health screening, masks, social distancing, altered practices, modified schedules, virtual learning, and quarantine protocols to name a few. These policies mapped out the path for the year, but they did little to calm fears or to satisfy everyone who had extremely strong opinions on how effective and appropriate they would be. Local, city, county, state, and federal agencies had their fair share of directives to be followed as well.
Everyone seemed to have different ideas, beliefs, and expectations of what to do. Some schools remained closed with only virtual offerings for their students. Others opened with varying degrees of restriction. It was a truly confusing start to a year that brought little clarity even as schools settled into their new and evolving routines. But in the middle of this chaos and conflict, the most amazing thing happened.
Teachers taught and children learned.
Please don’t let that statement minimize the herculean efforts of everyone who worked tirelessly to make that happen. Millions of educators, parents and students should be commended for what they accomplished. This combined effort insured that when the calendars flipped to June of 2021, the most difficult school year of our careers ended with accomplishments, achievements, and success.
But now, the calendar reads August of 2021. The year that would never end is in the past and a new year has arrived. But despite the new number and the memories of what has been accomplished, the time has now come for all of us to return to school. To return to norma…
Sorry. I just couldn’t bring myself to finish that last sentence.
Despite our best efforts and well-wishes, we find ourselves starting a school year that we hope will be better, but fear may be very similar to the one we just finished, if not more challenging. Last year, everyone knew that if the process of education was going to happen, we were all going to need to come together for the greater good of our children. One frustratingly long year later, we may not have the same level of willingness to comply with renewed restrictions caused by a pandemic that seems to drag on without end. Our patience has been stretched thin at a time when we will likely need it more than we may think. My intention is not to leave you feeling dismayed. However, I do think that my educational colleagues and parents who think that 2021-22 is going roll in like a relaxing wave on a sunny beach might want tighten their floaties a little bit. Lucky for us, we begin this uncertain new school year with the most certain of promises given to us by our great and all-powerful Heavenly Father.
The prophet Isaiah spoke to the people of Israel during difficult and uncertain times. As usual, we see God’s people try to solve their problems in their own way and by their own strength. Also, as usual, this leads to failure because it excludes the only One capable of seeing us through life’s struggles. Isaiah reminds the people that they will face adversity and affliction, but they do not need to face these things alone. They will also have with them their Teacher to guide them; to lead them away from life’s traps and pitfalls.
As we begin the 2021-22 school year, we, like the people of Israel, will be facing difficult and uncertain times. Avoid the enticing trap that promises this year will be all smooth sailing. Do not be tricked into thinking your physical strength or intellect will lead you through unscathed. Finally, do not think for a moment that you have everything it takes to go it alone. These are lies designed to play upon your ego or to paralyze you with your fear and fatigue. The simple truth is this: without help, we will surely fail. However, when we rely upon God’s help, we will succeed. He is faithful and His promises are good. He will provide us with a Teacher – the Holy Spirit, to lead us on our daily journey. He will fill our hearts with the love that we need to share with our students. He will give our tongues the right words for every difficult situation, along with the patience our minds will need to humble ourselves so that God’s message will supersede our own. He will give us strength to endure, rest to refresh, and peace to provide balance so that we may serve Him through serving His children. Set off on your journey listening to the Teacher’s encouraging voice in your ear. Follow His directions and allow God to work through you and once again, He will produce amazing things. Go forward in certainty as God reminds you that “This is the way, walk in it.”
Devotion by Richard Schumacher
LSEM Director of Programs & Services