Additional "From Further Afield" Articles


Published: 1/10/2015 3:36:38 PM


As an English teacher, when a student asks to talk to me after class or between classes, I assume that it’s going to be about missing homework, grammar, or language exams. However, the last two weeks have brought quite a few surprising conversations that have had nothing to do with those topics and everything to do with deeper heart issues. While I’ve had the privilege to speak at length with many students in the past, the conversations have always come up as we were spending time together outside of class (in a Bible study group or a retreat, for example). It was altogether different when these students began discussing a difficult topic with me on their own initiative, but these are the moments I pray for.

I pray that I can be a teacher, a missionary, a person who can be open to those around me so that they feel comfortable enough to ask tough questions that they might not be able to ask anyone else. At the beginning of the school year, I made it my goal to spend at least 15 minutes in prayer every day. Although I often begin with petitions for myself and my family, I find that my students also end up in my thoughts and prayers over the course of those precious minutes. Since I began praying ever more fervently that the Lord would use me to be His hands and feet in and among my school community, more opportunities have come up to share my life and witness to those around me. As one of my dear mentors used to say, "Coincidence, or God’s handiwork? I’ll let you decide.”

The stories I have heard have been varied and diverse, but with all of them, I was able to share some insight and the peace of God. One senior girl was torn up after she broke up with her boyfriend, because he told her that he literally couldn’t live without her. One 8th grader, after coming back from a couple days of being out sick from school, told me that her body is okay but her spirit and soul aren’t quite healed yet. These struggles are all too common in our fallen world, and not just ones that unbelievers face. In fact, both of these students are believers.

Another adult student asked me if I was satisfied with my life. I have to admit that I wasn’t even quite sure how to answer the question. How do we measure satisfaction? I think it’s much more different than how we measure success, because success can easily be measured by things outside of ourselves (if we agree to that system). While we would probably all say that true success isn’t in wealth or position or property, we have the tendency to measure it that way without even thinking about it. Satisfaction doesn’t have these objective bookmarks. Satisfaction is decided by each person for himself or herself. My student only saw what she wasn’t satisfied with, she couldn’t see past the black points to the ones that should really matter. I’m sure that we’ve all fallen into this trap a time or two; we know that we can focus on what is truly good and can satisfy, but we close our eyes to those things for moments (large and small). What is truly good and satisfies our lives is the love Jesus has for us. That love that took Him to the cross for us. And, praise the Lord, He didn’t stay dead, but He rose again. Death and sin are defeated; we can be forgiven and washed new in the blood of the Lamb! And we can share this incredible news with those around us, to those who, like us, have also looked away for a moment or two. We can support our fellow brothers and sisters in the Lord, and we can share the Gospel story with those who don’t yet believe. We can be satisfied with our lives, as the Lord works in us and through us.

I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. Philippians 4:12

But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. 1 Timothy 6:6-7

What is truly good and satisfies our lives is the love Jesus has for us. Happiness comes and goes, but the forgiveness and eternal life that God gives us by grace through faith in Christ brings lasting satisfaction. As the words of the chorus from Chris Tomlin’s song Enough, based on Psalm 90, reminds us:

And all of You is more than enough for all of me

For every thirst and every need

You satisfy me with Your love

And all I have in You is more than enough.

Contributed by Sarah Berta-Somogyi