“Well I’m glad you’re back today”, I said to the young man, “Don” who had entered my room.
“I wouldn’t welcome me back”, is what he had said to me.
“Hey Don, good to see you today” I said as Don, pants slung too low, sullen look on his face, came down the hall to my room.
….I’ve got to remember to welcome him back next week..I thought to myself.
A student privately tells me that Don had done it.
“Thanks for cleaning that up Lakeisha” I said to the young lady by my desk.
“Mr. Gantz, I’ll clean it up, for real, I’ll do it” Lakeisha had said to me upon seeing me walk into the room.
I noticed my desk and the floor area surrounding it strewn with garbage from my now empty garbage can.
I greeted Don as he entered my room.
I see Don, on whose behalf I had called home the day before to try to head off some negative behaviors.
Don, the model student for me thus far enters my room.
This is what we are instructed to do for those who do us wrong. It’s not easy. With God’s help we can.
I am intentionally reading through the Bible this year. There are parts of the Bible I’d rather not read, to be honest, and right now I’m in one of those places, Job.
I know the book of Job. Satan challenged God to let him mess over Job and see if he’d remain faithful to God. Of course Job loses almost everything and ultimately remains faithful. I don’t really need to read it again right? After all, I’m a concrete thinker and all of this poetic language doesn’t resonate in my recently damaged brain.
So I found myself last night reading Job. I actually told Janice I don’t like reading Job, but faithfully plowed through a bunch of chapters relying more on the headings provided by Mr. Schofield to determine the gist of the chapter. The sooner I can get out of this book the better I’m thinking so I’ll read a whole bunch.
And then the words stopped me. Stopped me in my tracks. Job 36. He’s writing words about a storm. I start making the connection. There’s a big storm out there, Irene, which is threatening many here and has already devastated many in Caribbean countries that most of us don’t pay any attention to.
:27 “For He draws up the drops of water, They distill rain from the mist, which the clouds pour down, They drip upon man abundantly”
I’m no scientist but apparently his friend Elihu who wrote these words was. The science of rain formation! In what is the oldest book in the Bible! Cool!
:30 “Behold, He spreads His lightning about Him, and He covers the depths of the sea. For by these He judges peoples.”
The storms are part of God’s plan. That’s a tough pill to swallow. Some people apparently are being judged by God in what is unfolding in front of us on TV.
:32 “He covers His hands with the lightning, and commands it to strike the mark. It’s noise declares His presence.”
The noise of a storm indeed declares His presence. We shouldn’t need to be reminded of it. Where can I hide from His presence? That’s what David asked. There’s many seeing God’s presence right now in this storm. And did you catch the lightning line there? He commands it to strike the mark. Is this where we get the God will strike you with lightning idea? Could be. I never thought about it.
In chapter 37 now, more science, :9 “Out of the south comes the storm and out of the north the cold” No need for explanation there. Hurricane season has us all looking south, and the coming winter season has us looking north.
:13 “Whether for correction, or for His world, or for lovingkindness, He causes it to happen. (dear microsoft, lovingkindness should not be underlined as a misspelled word, it’s a word that has been around for millenia, a word meaning God’s faithful love for unfaithful people) These storms have a divine purpose. Jesus talked about this in Luke 13. “Or do you suppose that those 18 on whom the tower fell in Siloam and killed them were worse culprits than all the men who live in Jerusalem? I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.”
The storms of today, spoken of in ancient times serve a divine purpose. These storms are correcting people. Some will perish. And this is the message. What we do in this life, if the literal storms hit or not, has to lead to a time, a moment, in which we repent. And when we do that, then we can agree with Elihu’s awesome conclusion.
:21-24. Now men do not see the light which is bright in the skies; But the wind has passed and cleared them. Out of the north comes golden splendor; Around God is awesome majesty. The Almighty-we cannot Him; He is exalted in power and He will not do violence to justice and abundant righteousness. Therefore men fear Him. He does not regard any who are wise of heart.”
Forgive me as I take a break from my normal writings about some aspect of my teaching, the poor and Christianity. I’d like to divulge in one of my passions, baseball.
It’s been a frustrating baseball season. My team, the White Sox currently stand at 63 wins, 63 losses. Now most seasons in most divisions in baseball I wouldn’t be frustrated any longer. If the Sox played in any other division in baseball they’d be hopelessly out of contention. Instead we’re only 5.5 games out of first, with 6 left against the Tigers whom we’re chasing and 8 against the Indians, the team just ahead of us.
I’d actually would be less frustrated being a fan of a .500 team in another division because, well, like most teams in those other divisions, the season’s over. The hope of football is around the corner for fans in many places in the country. But not for the Sox fan.
Instead, as .500 teams do, they’re good enough to win some games, you know, get your hopes up. They’re also bad enough to lose some games, you know dash your hopes. And just when those hopes begin to be dashed, they win a few more, hopes up, lose some, lose hope, etc. etc.
Fans of teams like the Sox play a lot of what if games. What if Adam Dunn had hit like he had any other year? What if Alex Rios had played like he did last year? What if the bullpen hadn’t had a horrible early stretch of blowing games? Surely those what ifs add up to 5 or six more wins and a dead heat race with the Tigers.
I’ll keep cheering, monitoring little simulated baseball fields on Yahoo sports to keep up with the games, muttering at ESPN showing another game involving a Boston, NY, Phil and Atl. team. Baseball season is great fun for me. Except for this year. Oh, go Sox!
We love Sundays. Interestingly, most of us despise the next day. There’s no TGIM restaurants. There’s no casual dress Mondays (there should be) Instead, we have to get back up and get going. Do you think that our dislike of Mondays are a tool of Satan?
The command to work came early in the Bible. Adam blew it, and God told him “6 days will you labor.” Ever have one of those I wish Adam hadn’t blown it moments on Sunday night?
Sunday is our time to give glory to God. I love reading some of my Desire Street students’ facebook posts on Sunday morning. They’re always something like “going to give God His due at Church this morning.”
Monday is our time to begin honoring God through our work. “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men,knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.” (Colossians 3:23-24) Of course if the enemy gets us thinking negatively about our work, then our work will be negative. Opportunity lost to honor God.
Our work is a testimony to the world. Let’s do it!