Anyone who lived in Seattle during the magical 1995 baseball season will remember “the Sheriff,” Norm Charlton. Arriving midseason, he had been one of the Cincinnati Reds “Nasty Boys” who delivered a sense of invincibility along with his fastball.
He would stride out to the mound with his thumbs in his waistband, and no matter how many runners were on base or how many outs there were, he was the old west sheriff, come to town to set things right. I remember one game that was so intense that the bill on one pitcher’s cap was soaked through with sweat, even though it was a cool fall night. Norm Charlton, however, seemed to have a secret reserve of calmness and strength that he could draw from. Reaching deep, deep down, he’d simply throw the fastballs in the right spot and get the job done.
Christian teachers seem to have this same kind of secret well. Drawing from their knowledge that every child–every child–is made in the image of God (Genesis 1:27), and believing that he has a plan for that child (Jeremiah 29:11), and knowing that God’s own Son was sacrificed because he loves each and every one of us so much (John 3:16), Christians who work with kids have extra reason to hope that their work makes a difference. That they can’t give up. Even when one of those children throws a fit or a chair!
The best part of being a Christian who works with kids, even in settings where (as I said in Part 1), of course and appropriately, we are not speaking of Christ evangelistically, is that we know that we are not alone in that room with a difficult child. There is God’s own Holy Spirit present with us, giving us love, patience, hope, and peace that passes all understanding.
Teaching friends, may you, like Norm Charlton, draw deep from your reserves of strength this upcoming year! Is there a time when you felt God was present with you in a difficult situation? Encourage us by sharing it in the comments!