“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen,” Hebrews 11:1. What does that mean exactly? It is a definition of what faith is exactly. Right? Right. What moves me is how much faith I see exercised in the little kids in the primary class at church – and how it is decreased as we look upon the junior high, then high school, then adults. Of course, adults are not my lane, except when I appeal to the group of volunteers either individually, or collectively.
I had the pleasure (?) of sitting in class as the assistant with one of the teacher-volunteers for the primary class (ages 5-9) last month, while she spoke to the children. The lesson was about Christ’s “saving grace.” She spoke about how Peter was given the keys to the kingdom (Matthew 16:18-19), and used those keys to open the doors to the church – God’s treasure chest, on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:38). In the conversation of how grace and salvation work together, she discussed the “gifts” we have from God, how he has given them to us, how we have not earned them, but He has given them to us freely. Somehow, we landed on the topic of “bad thoughts.” How we somehow have bad thoughts in our heads, and those are not from God. It pricked my spirit, because each kid, raised their hand and wanted to share some of their “bad thoughts.” Two of my children are in that class. My son raised his hand and shared “not feeling good enough.” My youngest raised her hand, and I could tell that she was just overcome, and almost moved to tears. However, from the 6-year-olds, to the 10-year-olds in class that day, each child shared thoughts, and emotions that echoed “friendlessness,” “not measuring up,” “loneliness,” “sadness,” and “just not being good enough.”
The following two weeks I worked with the teens. I’ll admit I was nervous. I had not prepared to meet with them, however, they had not been able to meet for the month of of April, so I felt led, to meet with them for the fifth Sunday, then it just so happened that I met with them for the first Sunday in May. I started out with a bit about myself. I was still just a face to them. I went as the spirit led me. They know parts of me that most people do not. I do not share parts of myself with just anybody. Perhaps, they shared with their parents… I don’t know, and don’t care to know. In any case, after sharing my “story,” if you will, I asked the youth to define grace, or tell me what grace meant to them. We went into the word, to see what the Bible says about grace, and then sin. At the close of class, I went around the table, and did something similar to what I do at home daily. At home we share a positive, a goal, and a concern. This day, with the youth, we shared, “What in your life in hindering growth in your relationship with God.” “Music, distractions, my phone, basketball…” One youth said quite plainly, “The world is my distraction.” Let that sink in… We had two visitors that Sunday, and they participated wholly. There was one that declined to participate at all, but I could see this youth soaking in everything, and the following week, participated. Later, we moved on to our “Positives.” Some wanted to also share a “struggle.” There was a student that shared, “I am physically standing here right now, but inside, I laying on the ground, dragging my body with one hand, just trying to make it.” I was moved to tears. I know that feeling all to well. When I arrived at GTAM, I was like that, for a long time, I was like that. That same student, earlier in the class, when we discussed integrity, and hiding God’s word in our heart stated, “I know His word, I just haven’t hid it in my heart.” I reframed his words, “It’s in your heart, you just have not yet committed yourself to it yet.” I let all of the youth know that there would come a defining moment where they would be forced to make a choice for themselves: to serve, or walk away.
As we see that it is not only our adults that are facing pain, and heartaches, but also children, tweens, and teens. As we operate in the calling to teach, let us be reminded to not look through our natural eyes, but to put on the supernatural-spiritual lenses that He has given us. As we prepare for our lessons, let us do so with prayer and fasting. These are souls whom we are touching. Souls to whom we impart.