“For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves.” Colossians 1:13, NIV
She slammed her books down on the desk, plopped into her chair, crossed her arms, and stared out the classroom window.
“Good morning, Anna,” I said, knowing the response would be her usual silence.
I knew Anna had issues going on at home causing her distress. So as much as I wanted to, I couldn’t take her silence personally…
In a perfect classroom, our students would never have inner struggles hindering their learning. They would never have issues outside of school that put them into survival mode, stalling their ability to think deeply and clearly about the topics we are attempting to teach them. But, the problem is that none of us have perfect classrooms because we live in a fallen world. Therefore, we should not be shocked when students don’t give us their undivided attention in class. Instead of taking offense, we can demonstrate understanding when our lessons about how to fix a dangling participle or the fall of the Roman Empire aren’t a priority to them.
When Anna enters my classroom wrapped in the world’s darkness, I have a choice to react with disappointment, or I can see it as an opportunity to love. Whether it’s continuing to greet her kindly each morning, offering a safe place for her to share, or a simple pat on the shoulder as she leaves the classroom when it’s over, I can choose to help her feel safe and loved.
The truth is, it is my best chance at getting her into the mindset of learning. And it is her best chance to be loved into the kingdom of God.
Lord, please help me to respond with love to my students who are walking through the darkness of this world. Let me be a shining light of love that points them to the Kingdom of Your son, Jesus. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Copyright April Graney.
If you enjoyed this devotion, April Graney’s children’s book, The Marvelous Maker, teaches children more about how Jesus rescues believers from the dominion of darkness. Find her children’s books, back-to-school prayer guides, and more aprilgraney.com.