The School of Sovereignty: Heart Preparation for an Uncertain School Year

RACHEL CRADDOCK|CONTRIBUTOR

Honestly, when I was asked to write this post, the first thought that came to mind was, “I am an unlikely person to write an encouraging article about going back to school.”

I prefer the predictable. I am quite uncomfortable in the unknown. I still order chicken nuggets with a coke “no ice” at restaurants because chicken nuggets with a coke “no ice” was what I ordered at fast food restaurants as a child. I seldom swim in oceans, lakes, or rivers because I am not exactly certain which creatures may be swimming near my feet. I struggle when I cannot see every nook and cranny of the waters in which I am swimming.

So, now you know my secrets and why I am an unlikely author for this post. I would rather live everyday like it was Groundhog Day—again. When it comes to uncertainty in my life, there is a gospel gap between my theology and the way I live in the unknown.

As a mom to four elementary-aged children, God is inviting me into a season of uncertainty. Like many of you, I will be swimming in all the unknowns that come with a new school year during the global pandemic.

Here are some promises I am intentionally massaging into my heart as I learn and grow to trust God in the school of His sovereignty.

The Gap Is Filled

The gospel gap between what I know and how I live is filled by Jesus. He has already filled the gap; I just fail to remember His power is the only thing that sustains my every breath and stills my every storm.

God knew from before the fullness of time that His people needed a gap-filler. This is why it was the perfect agreement of the Trinity to send Christ to redeem, deliver, and adopt God’s covenant people.

When I cannot see all the nooks and crannies, as one who claims Christ as Lord, I am called, as a redeemed human, to trust in the days God has sovereignly ordained for me. God is not surprised by what is coming for my family this year. The Craddock Family’s days are numbered, and each hair on our heads is known and accounted for by a sovereign and good God.

I must look to Christ. “He is before all things and in Him all things hold together” (Col. 1:17). Christ fills all the nooks and crannies. He holds all our uncertain days together.

In the school of God’s sovereignty, there is freedom to wrestle because Jesus fills the gap between what we know and how we live. Christ invites God’s holy people to a posture of rest as we live securely in His gospel grasp. “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest (Matt. 11:28).

Fresh Starts

We can walk in the school of God’s sovereignty one day at a time.

My oldest child once told me, “Mom, I need a teacher who is willing to give me a fresh start every morning.” Don’t we all want a teacher who will give us a fresh start every morning? One who will not hold yesterday’s warnings or missed assignments against us?

We have this kind of teacher in Christ. In Christ, God’s mercies are new every morning. “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness” (Lam. 3:22-23). When we find ourselves wrestling in the uncertainty, we can rest confidently in God’s faithfulness and His new mercies each day. When a new day dawns and we are tempted to fret, fear, and fail to trust God, we can remember we are His dearly loved children. His love is steadfast and sure. He is generous and freely rains down his mercies upon us.

We live out this truth one day at a time. Anxious hearts tend to think ahead, but in this season, we must be intentional to receive God’s mercies one day at a time and to walk in His faithful provision each day. As the Israelites gathered manna with each morning’s dew, we too must trust his mercy will be ready and waiting for us with each new sunrise. Our God has proven faithful in the past and will continue to be faithful to His people forever. Great is His faithfulness!

Compassionate Hearts

 This is a difficult time for everyone. Change is hard. As we think biblically in the school of God’s sovereignty, remember His faithfulness to a rebellious people throughout the Scriptures, and have the heart-awareness to know the rebellion and unrest in our own hearts, we must put on compassion as we engage with others.

“Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy, and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience . . . as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive” (Col. 3:12-13).

This is an opportunity to reflect God’s glory to those who struggle with all the stressors and unknowns during this pandemic. It’s an opportunity to reflect glory in our own homes as we adjust to a different school year. The world is watching to see if Jesus is real. Our children are watching; they are learning what we value and what we love as they watch us engage as students in the school of God’s sovereignty.

This school year will not be Groundhog Day—again. We will all walk forward into unknown waters. Families will make diverse choices, teachers will teach in a completely different way, and the leadership of our schools will make difficult decisions. As God’s holy people, learning in the school of His sovereignty, we are called to put on compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience as we live out what we know about our faithful and merciful God.

I am learning alongside you. God is teaching me to trust Him layer by layer as He pulls away the old and transforms me to be more like Christ. He is before this school year and in Him all things are held together. May we, as His people, reflect Him as we walk out what we believe in the days ahead.

About the Author:

Rachel Craddock

Rachel Craddock is a graduate of Eastern Kentucky University and a first-grade teacher at heart. She currently leads the Women’s Servant Team at North Cincinnati Community Church and serves on the Committee on Discipleship Ministries (CDM) National Women’s Ministry team as a Regional Advisor. She is the author of Slowly Unraveled (CDM, January 2019) and a contributor to Hinged: Vitally Connected to Christ and His Church (CDM, January 2020). Rachel enjoys speaking at women’s retreats—her heart is to teach women how the gospel is relevant in everyday life. Rachel is married to Michael and together they have four fun children: Ezra, Asher, Caleb, and Lydia Jane. She and her family are members of North Cincinnati Community Church in Mason, Ohio where her husband is the lead pastor. You can connect with Rachel her blog, rachelcraddock.com

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