When we go through unknown or challenging times, we need to remember God’s faithfulness and all He has done in our lives. He WAS faithful in the past, IS faithful now and He WILL CONTINUE TO BE faithful in the future. Faithful is not only a reflection of Who He is, but an inseparable part of what He does. We CAN trust Him in ALL things.
Although we know these things, sometimes we simply need to be reminded of them. That’s what happened to me. While trying to encourage others, I was the one that needed the encouragement and reminder a few months ago.
I began the new school year at a new school here in Jerusalem. After teaching for two years at a combined elementary and junior high, I now teach high school. I began looking for a new teaching position this past summer after deciding to leave my previous school. Going to interviews again was not easy, and at times, even frustrating. But, I trusted that God would close the doors He didn’t want me to go through and open the one that He prepared for me. The position I was interested in had to be part-time and not include being a homeroom teacher this year. I wanted to invest more time in discipleship and other things. This was the opposite of what some schools were looking for. When the day for my interview at this school came, my mom and I prayed that morning that I would receive an answer right away. And that is what happened. The school offered me exactly what I was looking for and I was the one who had to give them an answer if I was interested, which I was. On the first day of school, I met some of the other teachers. They were warm and welcoming and offered to help in whatever I needed. I went home that day with a heart full of gratitude, knowing that this position, as well as the welcoming and attitude of the staff, were all God’s grace.
In addition to starting a new position, I also moved into a new apartment. This, too, was an indescribable gift of grace, as I found an apartment that was exactly what I was looking for. There were a lot of challenges related to the move and sometimes, I thought maybe I was making a mistake. But, then came the encouragement from some people with whom I am very close. And sure enough, when my impatience was replaced by faith, my eyes were open to see how He was working all things out.
In a similar way, the past year was difficult from a number of perspectives. There were moments I felt completely drained. Nevertheless, during that time, I kept praying and God encouraged me through His Word to continue looking to Him and casting my cares upon Him. This past summer was full of changes and activities and the only way I can describe getting through it is by grace upon grace and sometimes I felt overwhelmed by it. In His mercy, God allowed me to find not only what I was looking for, but what I needed in terms of an apartment and employment, as well as the refreshment and encouragement He gave me.
As I talked with friends about difficulties or hardships they were experiencing, I realized once again how we don’t always know what those sitting or serving beside us in the body of Messiah are going through. Outwardly, many are smiling and appear happy, while inwardly, some are hurting. We so often greet each other at various events and gatherings and ask, “How are you” and smile. Sometimes, we don’t even bother wait for a response. And, if we do, what is the response we hope to hear? When I hear some say they are OK, but their faces show their hearts are burdened, I regret to say I don’t always take the time to inquire what happened and if there is anything I can do to encourage them in any way. Granted, we can’t always be the ones to listen to every problem and we certainly don’t have answers to everything. But, we don’t need to have answers or solutions to people’s burdens or difficulties. Just showing an interest, expressing a word of encouragement and taking the time to pray with and for that person, can make a difference in someone’s day. We aren’t always aware of what people are going through. So, we should be careful not to be quick to judge their behavior, as we could easily judge wrongly.
Relationships nowadays often lack the personal “follow through” in communication. Opening our eyes to those around us is not enough. We need to act on what we see as well. When the Lord Yeshua saw that the multitudes who came to hear him had nothing to eat, he had compassion on them and did not send them home hungry. Instead, he fed them. This was a lesson for his disciples to learn that they were to go and do the same. But, more so, whatever they later fed the multitudes, whether it was physical or spiritual food, they first received it from Yeshua. If we were to have a compassion meter, where would we be on the scale? Would it show that we have compassion for others or that our compassion is lacking? The next time we ask people how they are doing, will we truly listen and respond to what is shared with us?
Will we allow God to use us as vessels to pour into the lives of others? As the Lord Yeshua said to his disciples, the harvest is great but the workers are few. When we ask God to send workers to the field before us, we need to be ready to be among those workers who are sent.