And it's the same answer with every situation. It's all about His enormous and eternal love and our loving service to those people around us who are hurting, who are in need, who are confused, or who just need to know that somebody cares about them, even if it is a complete stranger (such as me). To give you just one example of what I am talking about, there was one incident this week in which the class I was teaching ended much earlier than I had expected, and the students practically flew out the door at the end as if the room was on fire. I know that they do not hate my class because, except for a couple of hard cases, I can see that most of them are responding to my student-centric class, enthusiastically volunteering their contributions to the classroom conversation, as well as eagerly soaking up the big cultural ideas that I am trying to teach them so that they understand the world they live in. Plus, many of them have started coming to me to ask for advice or to spill their hearts about various problems. I know that they would not be doing this unless they liked and trusted me.
In any case, I thought it was rather unusual that they vacated the class so quickly in this particular instance, but the reason for the situation became so abundantly clear when one young woman stayed back and came up to me to ask about making up an assignment that she had missed. God's spirit was already talking to me, telling me that this conversation wasn't about her paper or about her grade, that there was something deeper going on. As I listened to her patiently and compassionately, giving her my full attention, I could tell that tears were starting to build up around her eyes, and her facial expression along with the the Holy Spirit's guidance was telling me that she was holding back tremendous pain.
In the short conversation, she asked for me to be lenient and flexible (which I was willing to do) in some of the course assignments because she was going through a divorce. As soon as the word "divorce" came out of her mouth, the grief that she was holding back spilled over, and she started crying openly. My heart was just breaking for her, seeing the agony and confusion that she was going through. God prompted me to ask her if she was a Christian, to which she responded, yes. Then, he prompted me to ask if I could pray for her. She nodded silently, yes. Then we bowed our heads there in the classroom which God had obviously cleared out for this reason, and I prayed for God's peace that passes understanding to fill her heart, for her to have the wisdom and courage to know what to do about the terrible situation she was in, and that He would give her a strong sense of His comforting presence so that she could "lean on those everlasting arms."
More on this tomorrow. May God bless you with His perfect peace this evening.