Remember with me. Go back as far as you need to. Don't be afraid, just go there for a moment!
Yes, back to whatever "First Grade" looked like in your world. I know, we probably could visit any number of "grades" but that's just the one I chose because it was a very memorable grade in my story for a number of reasons. It doesn't matter if you were in a one-room schoolhouse, went to public school, or if you were home-schooled. Just go back to that first year.
Everything that teacher planned for me during that year was simply "training" me to go to the next grade. I walked into First Grade with some knowledge and life experiences; but there was more to learn. I knew my ABC's, but I had to learn to put all those together to form words. I knew my numbers, but I had to learn how to stack them on top of each other and add or "take away." I knew about relationships, but there was more to be learned both in the classroom setting and on the ever menacing, merry-go-round on the playground. Well, I'm glad to tell you, if you must know, that it wasn't a cakewalk, but I made it to second grade. And beyond.
Maybe you have your own horrific flashbacks when you go back there; that's alright. Learning is a scary thing sometimes, right? We all have stories of the bully in the hallway or the words that broke more than sticks and stones ever could have harmed. We'll not even mention those failed tests, or grades for that matter. For those of you who loved first grade, I'm certain there was another grade you can look back at and reminisce with me there. Whatever the case, I'm finding that at 44-years-old, I'm still in training for the next level.
There are still things to learn. I do things wrong (unintentionally, of course) and the Lord takes me through situations to teach me. He's the best teacher ever too! There are things I learn the wrong way and He has to take me back to the wheel and "learn me" all over again the right way. Been there, have you? Oh, it hurts so badly at times and it can be an ever-so-confusing time too. Yet, learning is a way of life. I think it's safe to say that if we're not learning, then we're not truly living. I'm thinking about that phrase about "learning something new every day." It's so true!
I'll be the first to admit that I don't have all the answers. Neither do I do everything right every time. No, I don't make a 100% on every assignment handed out by the Teacher. Yes, I see those dreadful red "X's" on my test and I shudder in disappointment and want to run and hide out. Yet, my Teacher...He knows that I must learn to lay aside some things and focus on others, He knows if I'm going to be a fruitful, successful, Christian who represents Him well, I must have my own share of hard-knocks and blows from the dreadful bully (and I must learn to respond well), and He knows I'll want to give up if He isn't there to console me and be there for me to lean upon. Talk about "Teacher of the Year"!
Psalms 32:8 says, "I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye."
God is a patient teacher and is not willing to let us walk around in life without learning important lessons. He's not content to leave one of His "students" behind. He teaches us, tests us, and if need be, He tests us again and again until we pass the test. He keeps His eye upon our progress. He watches us and is invested in being sure we are learning it the right way. He wants to see us make it to the next level - and ultimately eternity with Him. Those red marks on the text are there to remind us of His investment...His blood on Calvary...they are there to remind us of His grace and mercy. We can pass the tests set before us!
So, if you're feeling the effects of "time-travel", remembering situations where you felt like giving up, classes where it felt you were anything but the Teacher's Pet, during those times of failing and detention and maybe even being paddled by the principal, it's OK. All of those times brought you to where you are today. You've learned along the way. That's what counts! And...if you're failing in the class of life right now, as an adult, remember our Lord is a gracious teacher. Yes, He chastises those He loves, but He doesn't leave us there...the object is to learn or re-learn it well so we can graduate to the next level. With honors!
It's true, we live from glory to glory. Don't give up. Let's all get ready to celebrate in the grandest Graduation Ceremonies ever...it won't be long now till we be celebrating those lessons learned - in robes of white, walking down streets of gold. What a celebration, my friend!!! Let's do this~