Kids are excited for a new year and getting back to friends and activities at school. I’m excited when I DON’T have to write out a date to show how slow I am by still writing “2019.” Kids get excited about all the possibilities of trying new things. I get excited when I can find a way to get out of trying yet another new thing. I can’t even type the right numbers into computers—I meant to type in “Matthew 19” to review the context for this month’s memory verse, and got chapter 26 instead.
My mistake was enlightening, though. Just a few chapters after our memory verse at Matthew 19: 26– “With God all things are possible,” Jesus is already facing plots to kill Him. I wonder, if Jesus was still thinking that “With God all things are possible” when facing such threats, or when they finally acted on those threats? I’ve got to tell you, I really struggle with this passage.
Yet it is AFTER all the plotting, and even success in torturing and putting Jesus to death, and after Paul’s own bouts with torture and prison, when St. Paul reiterates the same theme “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Phil. 4: 13). After all, the Jesus who went through torture and the cruel death of crucifixion, just a few days later, rose again to life! So while I still struggle with this theme, I must say that I struggle in faith, trusting that where my understanding fails, Jesus’ promise prevails.
There have been MANY times in my parental and teaching life, helping kids struggle through all kinds of challenges big and small (and when the kids have been both small and way too big!), when this promise has seemed so empty. Yet the old proverb springs to mind “Hope springs eternal”—especially in the eager young hearts of kids. Perhaps it is our job as parents and teachers to feed that hope, to point to the source of that hope in Jesus, even when Jesus Himself went through so much in His love for us.
Each new year brings A New Hope—not just as the beginning of the Star Wars saga, but a new beginning in each life’s saga. It is both our privilege and duty as parents and teachers, and any with the opportunity to share wisdom with younger souls, to be “the Force” one might say, to guide others into their own New Hope—most truly found in Jesus!
Let’s not get bent out of shape and lost in struggling to write the new date, but instead get lost with eager young souls around us, in the wonder of the New Hope that always comes this time of year!
May the (TRUE) Force be with you—Rev. Jim