Show What You Know

Every year Kindergarten screening makes me think how very much like the five-year-olds I am.  Let me explain what I mean.

The process of screening works like this:  The kids show up with their parents, are quickly whisked away int o a room with a stranger, and are expected to perform tasks on demand that have been determined ahead of time by the adults in charge.  Although the adults know what the tasks are, the kids have no idea what is coming up next.  All they know is their parents have told them it would be fine and they should just do their best.  Those words are of little comfort to most of them.

To the adults in the school, we aren’t expecting much.  We just want to get a snapshot of how well the kids count, identify numbers and letters, follow directions, and handle a pencil.  To the kids, it’s like running a fiery gaunlet.  We are asking them to use everything they have learned so far in life, and to do it in unfamiliar territory around strangers.

Isn’t that what God expects from us?  How often aren’t we put in situations that are unfamiliar and are then asked to draw on everything we’ve learned up to that point to accomplish a task?  That seems to be my life story at least.  And He designs it intentionally.  He gives us the opportunity to learn new skills or to refine our approach, and then He provides a setting for us to use it meaningfully.

Just like the kids that are coming in, He doesn’t always let us stay with the people we know and are comfortable with.  He often expects us to go into uncharted (for us) territory, and we might find that to be a scary place.  I know if it were an option for me, there are times that I’d prefer to cling to a loved one’s hand and refuse to leave the familiar.  The parents expect their kids to go bravely; and God expects us to move forward bravely.

Just like the teachers and parents, God knows that the situation He’s sending us into is one that He’s designed.  He knows it is necessary for us to be moved out of our comfort zone, and He knows we will grow as a result.  He also knows that many of us would really rather throw a screaming tantrum than to move forward.  Kids feel free to do that in a physical sense often at the top of their lungs; as adults we are a bit more subtle, but honestly, don’t we really do the same thing when we stubbornly refuse to move?

Just like the kids that are tested, we will find that we are able to do what God is asking of us.  It just takes us getting started; before we realize what’s happening, we find that we are actually able to do what is expected.  An added, and sometimes unexpected, bonus is that we find that we are having fun while we are working in His will.  Our God provides exactly what we need; we simply need to keep His perspective and trust His provision as we move to accomplish His purpose.

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