Sunday, September 21, 2014

Life is random and unfair; Life is pandemonium

Someone I love dearly told me that they were having a rough time today. "I don't get why you didn't get to have your baby and other people, who won't or can't care for their children properly, do." It was hard for this person, because they love us. Faced with the reality not all children have a safe home, and not all parents are mentally or emotionally able to care for their children, it does seem very unfair that our baby died. I have played this game before, and the results are always bitterness and misery.

The plain and simple truth is isn't fair. My heart breaks every time I hear stories of abuse or neglect. I don't understand why it happens, or why  we aren't the parents of more than one child. I cry, but I hold on to God's promise. "And we know in all things, God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." Romans 8:28. This verse doesn't say "in the easy or fair things" it says "in all things."

In ALL the horrible, painful, dirty, ugly, mind blowing, heart breaking, grief giving, pain inducing, anger creating, I am broken things, God is working towards our good.  We can't see it. At times it can feel the opposite. "God, I just started to feel better and now this." I don't understand how it will all work for my good. I can't see the big picture. I am not entitled to that knowledge.

Teaching middle school means dealing with the concept of "fair" a lot. It is an age where "fair" means something, and students are attempting to put order to the grown up world.  Daily I find myself saying "same doesn't equal fair" and "my job is to help everyone learn in their way. Their way may not be your way." Students don't see the big picture. They don't know that their classmate witnessed the death of their Grandmother and needs to be excused from the work they missed, or that this other student reads at a second grade level and is mortified. Each child has individual  needs and stories and I can't treat them the same. I have to push the TAG kid to exceed while praising another student for persevering to a Nearly Meets.

When this happens, I feel the same amount of pride. When students persevere and keep working and learning, I know that they are working towards a bright future. For some that may mean the Ivy League and for others it may mean that they are able to overcome the developmental or emotional issues they are carrying and live a happy life. It is my job to challenge each of them to grow towards their personal best.

I believe this is how God looks at us. He knows our hearts. He knows  how I long for my child, and how my heart will never quite heal. He hears me crying and is pushing me to persevere towards his plan. Fair doesn't equal the same. I may never have more children, and other children will be hurt. I may never know why this is, and I don't need to. What I need to know is that all things, no matter what they are, work together for the good of those who love him. It is not easy. This is hard, but by the grace of God I will find a way to keep repeating it, embracing it, and believing it. His plan, not mine. His glory, not mine. His life, not mine.

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