Today’s post is written by a CAMA worker serving in the Middle East.
“Whiiiireeeeet!” The whistle broke the silence of the early morning dusty air. “Stand in line! Class by class!”
Converted bedrooms stood ready to receive 95 new students. Except for the excited children, it was hard to tell this was even a school. There wasn’t time to build something new.
For many of the Syrian children, it was their first day of school—ever. Most were nervous, but a good level of nervous if you asked any of their teachers. Their parents peered over the wall to observe the atmosphere of this new school started by a church. They were a bit nervous themselves. Why would a church start a school in this neighborhood? No Christians lived here. What was their motivation?
Now, a couple of months into their classes, the children are more comfortable. Three children stand against the wall outside the principal’s office. The principal, a Jordanian man in his thirties, takes a moment from crunching numbers with me to call the children in.
“Come in and stand here.” He pulls his chair to the side of the desk and leans forward to be eye level with his students. “Why are you here?” he asks.
The students are too scared to speak.
“Speak!” the principal commands. One of the boys, with his lower lip trembling, can’t bring himself to say any words. Another boy works up all his confidence to explain what happened.
“Is this what you should have done?” the principal asks. Two say no, the other stares at the floor. “Now what will you do?” the principal asks as if waiting for a rehearsed response.
“We will tell our Miss we are sorry!” all three say confidently in unison this time.
“Okay. Go. Go quickly to your classrooms.” The principal isn’t finished, though. As they turn to leave, the principal says, “Wait! Now give me a high-five. Stronger! Stronger!” Smiles replace frowns. Timid joy replaces fear. They are still loved. They are still a part of the family.
I believe one day we will all stand before the God who created the heavens and the earth and give an account of the wrong we have done. The nervousness we feel in that moment will be the most intense nervousness we have ever felt. He knows what we have done. There must be a reckoning. I will have no confidence to say, “But God, these are the good things I have done . . . ”
Good can’t change the fact that significant wrong was done. I won’t have words, and I will only be able to stare at the floor in front of a Holy God. Then I will hear a voice. “It’s okay. He is with me. I have been working on his character,” my Teacher will say as He confidently enters God’s presence. Then, in a great surprise, something heavenly will happen. The Lord who created the heavens and earth will kindly say, “Now give me a high-five.”
God offers a relationship I don’t deserve in a place I don’t deserve. My timid joy will become real joy, and I will enjoy being in his family forever. There are many important issues that we face in our lives. Some of them are life or death, but I am convinced this issue is the most important. Are we a part of the family?