Within the past months that I’ve gotten to know her in seminary, a sister noticed how I assessed situations and informed me that I tend to analyze everything for the best—or what I always thought, wisest—outcomes. I wrack my brain for solutions to not only my problems but also the problems of others, to think of a way to minimize the damage as much as humanly possible. And all in the name of making “wise” decisions.
But there’s wise and then there’s wise. How much does real wisdom equate to sound advice rather than encouraging the other person to pray more? Of course, advice and guidance has its place, but that evening and today, I was more encouraged by her evident and genuine trust in God and by her encouragement to me to do the same. She encouraged me to go to passages in Isaiah and Romans (chapters and verses of which I’ve already forgotten) and told me to meditate on the sovereignty of God. No matter how much I wrestle with what would be the best course of action, God was in full control when He decided to put this before us and will continue to orchestrate things for the good of those to whom He has shown favor. All things I have heard and reminded myself of at one time or another, but I was so deeply impressed by how this sister, who I know has gone through much, exhorted and rebuked me with such sincere belief in what she was prescribing.
It helps to have suffered, I learned; but, it helps those around you much more if you prescribe something you yourself have held on to for dear life when all seemed forsaken. I wondered if she felt it at that moment, but for a brief moment in time, I actually saw how all this, her lifetime of hardships and my momentary affliction, could be beautiful. And knowing how much pain it involved (or will involve), I don’t say it in any way lightly.
A first-year HS student of mine was one minute late to school today. Our school’s policy conducts the student to approach, apologize, and give reason for his tardiness to three teachers — his homeroom teacher, the teacher of the class for which he was late, and the grade supervisor. I overheard the following exchange between my student and his homeroom teacher:
Student: Sensei, I’m so sorry for disrespecting our school, the teacher, and my classmates.
HR Teacher: You did, didn’t you? Do you understand that it was also a disservice to yourself, to miss even a minute of class? Why were you late to school today?
Student (in complete seriousness): I was really hungry this morning… I had an extra serving of rice.
I’m going to really miss these kids.