Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Sinking at the End of the School Year


And those who ate were about five thousand men, besides women and children.
Immediately he made the disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds. And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, but the boat by this time was a long way from the land, beaten by the waves, for the wind was against them. And in the fourth watch of the night he came to them, walking on the sea. But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, “It is a ghost!” and they cried out in fear.
But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.”
And Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me.” Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”
Matthew 14:21-31 ESV

Time goes by quickly and before you know it the school year is over. You find yourself sitting there wondering, what have we accomplished... Has my child made any progress this year?

The end of the school year can be an unsettling time. 

Over the years I've received many desperate phone calls as the year draws to a close and parents realize; time has run out and very little progress has been made. 

I have made a few of those desperate phone calls myself. 

There really is something about the end of the school year that begs for reflection. I suppose it's that stopping point, the marking of time and another year passing... It seems to force us to look at where we are, where our children are. 

A smack of reality that often leaves us reeling. 

We start to panic.
We start to scramble. 
We are desperate.

I hear it in their voices, and I can read it in their messages. 

I remind myself I have also felt that panic.

I was thinking about the story where Jesus sent the disciples ahead of Him on the boat. Those guys had just come off of feeding a lot of people with a "few loaves of bread and a little bit of fish"... and there were leftovers. I can only imagine the confidence boost they felt after witnessing and partaking in that miracle that Jesus performed. I am sure when he said hop in the boat and go ahead, they didn't think twice. 

We kind of feel that way sometimes. Everything is going fairly well, we trust God, we have seen what He can do, we are believers. So we send our children off to school.

Then a storm hits. 

Those disciples were in the middle of a lake, far from shore.

Jesus wasn't with them in the boat and they were afraid. 

Then they saw something. When Jesus came walking toward them on the water they were even more afraid because they were not sure it was Him. Peter said, "Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water." And Jesus said, "Come." Matthew 14: 28-29(a)ESV

Peter got out of the boat.

Peter got out of the boat... That's big faith... And he started walking on the water toward Jesus. 

That's kind of how I feel with my son and school sometimes. Jesus, I see You standing there. I know what You can do and I am going to step out of the boat, into the storm and walk toward you... on this water. 

Putting our children in public school, into the hands of others, is stepping out of the boat, in faith...often into a storm. There is uncertainty, waves that knock us down and winds that constantly batter us. 

There is also Jesus.

We have faith... 

But then Peter took his eyes off of Jesus, fear set in and he started to sink down into the water, as he did he cried out to Jesus. Immediately Jesus reached out his hand to Peter and took hold of him saying, "Oh you of little faith, why do you doubt?" Matthew 14:31 ESV

Sometimes I think about the school year and start to look back at what we did and didn't do and that panicky feeling sets in. I take my eyes off of Jesus and I start to sink. 

It's the end of the school year and some of you may feel panicked right now, fearing your child has lost time and missed out on opportunities to make progress. You may be sinking.

You are afraid.

It's okay.

Jesus is right there with you, reaching out to lift you up and calm the storm.

Just remember Peter and keep your eyes on Jesus, because we will step out of that boat again and we cannot do it without Jesus.

So I pray:

God, we cry out to You, take our hand and lift us up. When we fear the storms, help us to remember You are with us always, and we are never out of Your reach. When we look back, let us see where You were and then turn our eyes forward in comfort knowing that You will be there also. Amen.

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