I remember the afternoon so well.
One of my students barreled down on a teacher in the hall. I could hear the angry shouts from both sides within the closed walls of my classroom.
I arose from my seat with the desire to intervene in defense of my fellow teacher and with compassion for the student, who by all means had reached a breaking point. Calling my student’s name, the shouting finally stopped and the other teacher huffed away in fumes. We sat, the girl and I, down in the middle of the dirty hallway floors, and that child shattered into tears.
“You can’t talk to adults with such anger.” I remember saying.
She glanced at me, blades piercing deep within her eyes. “But she…” You can guess the rest.
“It doesn’t matter. You’re responsible for your behavior.”
The teacher—unaware of the topic of our conversation—huffed past the steps once more. “You aren’t doing her any favors, you know.” She mumbled the words under her breath like a snake poised to strike its fangs into me.
Oh, how I wanted to tell her the brokenness I saw both in her and in the child. How I wanted to explain why I had intervened and how I had defended her before this young lady even though I saw fault in her temper.
But I didn’t respond. It seemed better to hold my tongue than to create a losing battle with a fellow teacher.
The girl and I finished our conversation on those steps with a hug—a hug this child had never offered before and an understanding of where she had crossed the line with this particular teacher.
Later, I made my way to the other teacher’s classroom and explained the conversation I had, had with the student. It didn’t build peace. There was always some unspoken tension.
And me, being me, hated it.
I’m not one to wage war unnecessarily. I rehashed that day in my mind, wondering if I should have just allowed their words to spew forth at each other. But every time I questioned my decision, I settled on those final moments there on the building’s steps, the change I had witnessed in the child.
Sometimes, in the work place or in life in general, we feel out of step. I couldn’t do enough to win my co-worker’s favor, and at times, I felt completely at a loss with who I was and where God had placed me. Unfortunately, this one instance, isn’t the only moment I’ve felt that sense of self-doubt. There were other days…
How can one live for Christ and yet fail so miserably?
At least…that’s how I felt.
2 Corinthians 12:9 says:
And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.
Verse 10 adds:
When I am weak, then I am strong.
I’ve felt like a failure more times than I can count. I’ve regretted. I’ve second guessed. I’ve lingered in loneliness. I’ve doubted, and yet, God’s love has never changed. If you search through Scripture, God doesn’t often pick the most qualified. He tends to do the exact opposite.
Why?—Why would He pick someone like me?
Because in Him, my weakness becomes His strength. Where I am incapable, unqualified, least deserving, He is all-powerful, all-sufficient, and most worthy.
When I look back on that decision, the day I inadvertently created an adversary at work (I cringe even saying it), I think through what Jesus would have asked of me. This girl who sometimes is too shy to speak forth and hates confrontation—what would He have wanted of her in those seconds of indecision?
Honestly, I know He would have me represent Him and handle the child’s anger with compassionate truth. My decision caused heartache. I felt alone and at a loss sometimes at work in the weeks that followed.
But my dear friends, the truth was, I was never alone, for my God took my weakness and made it strong. I was able to love on both the student and the other teacher in the weeks and months to follow. Despite bitterness, I displayed compassion and self-control. They saw a difference in my life, a difference, God alone had made.
So if you’re struggling with co-workers, loneliness, loss, or just feeling out of place, dear one, we’re free to live!
God is not restricted by our lack of qualifications. He is not cowering at our inability—no—He is eager to use the weakest link to display His greatest strength. Let Him use you for such a feat and live with confidence in His power.