Dear Church Family,

Sticking with the school spirit, I want to pick up another idea in connection with syllabus shock from two weeks ago. Why don’t the teachers who hand out the syllabi feel the same shock as their students? Our initial answer may be because they don’t have to do the work their students will. However, with as many of you who are, have been, or have known teachers, I don’t think you are under the impression a teacher’s work is easy. Of course teachers can feel anxious or overwhelmed just like their students, but their feelings of shock stem from different sources. Here’s what I mean.

At the beginning, students worry about how to complete all of their assignments, because they don’t yet possess the knowledge needed for those assignments. On the other hand, even though teachers are well aware of all the work the school year will involve, they already possess the knowledge needed to prepare students for those assignments. In a word, they have seen it all before.

For example, I made the mistake once of looking ahead in my algebra textbook in high school. I saw all sorts of formulas and equations with symbols I had never seen before in my life. I distinctly remember thinking, “I will never be able to solve these.” But, do you know who wasn’t worried? My teacher. Although he had already assigned those problems, he knew how he was going to teach our class before then to prepare us for when we got there.

We can often speculate and worry about what the future might hold for us. We might think about who God has called us to be. We reflect on His perfection and glory and very quickly can move toward despair. But God is the best Teacher, and He does not assign us anything He has not prepared us for. Actually, God is so much more than our Teacher. Our earthly teachers don’t have the ability to make us learn even though they do all they can. When God teaches us, He gives us understanding—that is, He makes us understand. He is not worried when He looks at us as we are in light of where we need to be, because He is the very One who will take us there. Along the way, He makes us into who He wants us to be.

So when we think about His commands to reflect Christ with all we are, our stomachs shouldn’t churn. Instead, our hearts should warm knowing if He has called us to it, He Himself will bring it to completion. His design for us takes a lifetime in which we pursue Him with all that we are as He gradually sanctifies us from one degree of glory to another. Let’s trust our Teacher—He will prepare us for what lies ahead and more.