Take Heart – He feels for us more deeply than we know
In recent days, we, the Commonwealth and the world have lost one of the most influential and resilient figureheads to have graced our time. Throughout her reign, Queen Elizabeth II encouraged us all to live out our faith, saying “to many of us, our beliefs are of fundamental importance. For me, the teachings of Christ and my own personal accountability before God provide a framework in which I try to lead my life. I, like so many of you, have drawn great comfort in difficult times from Christ’s words and example.”
From Christmas and Easter messages to National and Commonwealth statements in euphoric but also extremely difficult times, we were reminded that God is our strength and hope. Her messages were of hope and faith. Her calm, steadfast nature embodied her hope which came from her belief. In one Christmas message she said “At the heart of our faith stands not a preoccupation with our own welfare and comfort but the concepts of service and of sacrifice as shown in the life and teachings of the One who made Himself nothing, taking the very form of a servant.” In another: “We know the reward is peace on earth, goodwill toward men, but we cannot win it without determination and concerted effort.”
Resilient, steadfast figureheads and world leaders can positively influence us. People such as Rosa Parkes, Martin Luther King Jnr and Nelson Mandela cause us to reflect. They inspire.
We, in turn, can also influence those around us, our families, and our communities.
As we seek to inspire our students and their families in our Schools, whether it be as a teacher or in another capacity, our speech and our lives are integral to our message of hope. Living out our faith in daily school life is our most effective means of encouraging our students to take Jesus as their life-long Lord and Saviour, in a personal relationship which will grow at school and beyond, throughout their lives.
From our greetings to parents and students at ‘Kiss and Drop’, our classroom management, playground duty, through to disciplinary practices, all these encounters are opportunities to live out our relationship with Jesus and our trust in our Father God. Mackesy (2019), in his book The Boy, the Mole, the Fox, and the Horse, suggests “The greatest illusion is that life should be perfect.” Many of our families are under that illusion, trying to live that ‘perfect’ easy life, hoping times of trouble and struggle will not visit them.
But we know that there will be times of frustration, bewilderment and despair, in both school and personal life. We may be thrust into situations that we didn’t cause, which we cannot control and which we cannot fix. Ortlund (2022), in his book Gentle and Lowly, describes them as “that sore trial, that bewildering perplexity” and, as a result, feeling “intuitively that the more difficult life gets, the more alone we are” (p. 48). He reminds us that as the pain of these experiences increases, our sense of isolation also grows, but to remember that God’s word says that we are not alone and that Jesus has shared in all that pain. The best part is that as Jesus experienced the same pain as ours, we can know that “our pain never outstrips what He Himself shares in”. (p. 48)
Let’s stop a moment and take that in – how comforting and uplifting it is to realise that whatever we may be going through, whatever our students and school families are going through, it can all be shared and carried by Christ, and that He feels for us and our situation much more deeply than we know.
In the midst of these situations, it is heartening to realise that we have a choice even though it doesn’t feel that way. CS Lewis, in Mere Christianity, (1996) illustrates this with a story about a man who is walking against the wind. When he feels that the wind becomes too strong for him, he gives in and lies down, not knowing how the situation could change ten minutes later. Lewis then shares that Jesus walked against the wind, enduring all our situations (temptations and testings) but never gave in. He didn’t ever lay down against that wind.
In the face of situations which look and feel impossible, Jesus is our key, our hope. We have the power to choose who we turn to. Hebrews 4: 14-16 encourages us to ask Jesus for what He is always ready and wanting to give, His mercy and His help. As we choose to ask Him to help us in these situations, our students and their families will see us standing in faith, strengthened by Jesus and guided by His Holy Spirit.
May we share our hope with our colleagues, school families and students as we live out our understanding and experience of life with Jesus’ help, in every situation. Our experience, resilience and steadfast faith, just like Queen Elizabeth II, will minister to our spheres of influence and beyond, just as Christ encouraged us to do.
- Christmas Broadcast 2000, Royal Household, 25 December 2000, retrieved 18 April 2016 Shawcross, pp. 236–237
- Mackesy, C. (2019) The Boy, the mole, the fox and the horse. Ebury Press.
- Lewis, C.S. (1996). Mere Christianity. Touchstone.