By Jasmine Baucham
Last year was my first year teaching at Trinity Classical School, a collaborative private school that I love. I taught fourteen bright-eyed students, who I love. I taught them beautiful things, which I love.
And yet… as the school year ended, I sat on my bed amid my books, utterly deflated. On the whole, things had not gone according to plan. I had made way more mistakes than I intended. I had been redirected way more than I had hoped.
My first year had not been perfect. And I was determined that the second year just would be, starting with tackling a teaching conference in Idaho with gusto that would give me all of the tools I needed to conquer valiantly.
Now, replace “first year of teaching” in my story with the huge endeavor you undertook last year, whether it was to train your children to be gospel-motivated little angels, to support your husband with flawless submission, to finish that year of school with a perfect record, to minister with the very mind of Christ… and think about all of the resolutions that sprouted from your failures in those areas.
God’s Sovereignty in Safety and Accidents
I hate airplanes.
So, when I realized that the trek I would take with my supervisor and co-teacher would include three flights and two layovers, I was, in the words of a true southerner, fit to be tied.
The reason I hate airplanes is the same reason I ended up frustrated at the end of the school year: I am not in control. But whereas Johnny might not have stared at me in glossy-eyed wonderment if I wasn’t passionate enough in the classroom, if my pilot makes a mistake in the air… I die.
Well, I made it back from Moscow safe, more or less sound, and carting ten thousand new ideas to implement in my classroom this semester. And I had plenty of time to ruminate over those ideas from my bed with the company of ice packs, hot pads, and a steady internet connection.
You see, not three days after that fated plane touched down, I got into a car accident.
All of you airplane aficionados can stop smirking and twirling your wicked little mustaches and telling me that more people die in car accidents than plane crashes. I’ve heard it all before. I’m the neurotic chick who sees a statistic as small as, say, 2 percent and panics: “So you’re saying there’s a chance?”
Aside from just now regaining my ability to bend down and pick up things and going to bi-weekly visits to the chiropractor, I’m fine. And, though I wasn’t driving at the time of the accident, I’m still humbled at my perceived notions of control. I was calm in that passenger seat of the well-known Corolla but I panicked in my row of the 747.
A Teacher Learns a Lesson
As I’ve been planning for the school year ahead, the lesson of my non-plane-crash has continued to resonate with me: in the class, as in the car and on the plane, God is ultimately in control. And while my copious preparations will go a long way to ensure second-year confidence that doubles my first-year outlook, when I stand in front of those students twice a week, I will be no more in control than I am staring at the flight attendant with panicked eyes every time we hit some turbulence.
Whatever our situation in life, be it the journey of a first year teacher or a dead ringer for John Lithgow on the plane in the Twilight Zone movie, we need to remember the beautiful fact that we serve a sovereign God. And he remains sovereign whether we acknowledge his sovereignty with the peace that is the only proper response or fruitless worry.
For, “are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows” (Matthew 10:29-31).
Worry is a byproduct of the Fall. Mankind went from a beautiful closeness with the Lord in the garden, seeing with his own eyes the provision of the Lord, to being separated from God by his own sin. Yet, through Christ, we are able to bridge the gap between our exertion and God’s ultimate provision: we toil, yes, but with confidence that, ultimately, the Lord provides. The ram in the thicket heralded the truth of a soon coming King who holds all things together (Acts 17:28).
God’s care and provision sustains, all things. Without his constant influence, we would be nothing. He is Lord, not only over our labors, but over their outcomes. My summer journey was full of reminders of this fact, as, I’m sure, was yours, even if you didn’t realize it until now. Connect the dots between your striving and the fact that everything has already been accomplished in Christ… and revel in the beautiful freedom that that provides.
Jasmine is the oldest of Voddie and Bridget Baucham’s eight children. She is a homeschool graduate, holds a BA in English Literature, and is currently pursuing an Master of Arts in Religion. Jasmine currently serves as a sixth grade teacher at a classical/university model school in Houston. She is the author of Joyfully at Home, and loves living at home where she continues to learn from her mother, enjoy her siblings, assist her father and others in research, and will begin studying at Reformed Theological Seminary this summer.
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