Running Toward Challenges

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As you probably know, I've been emphasizing hero-and-dragon themes in Chapel this year.  This is not because I want to reduce Scripture to Andersen's Fairy Tales, or make knights-errant out of our little boys (and girls), but because this kind of story-metaphor is so central to both education and Christianity.  Knights and dragon-killers lay down their lives by definition.  Christ was a warrior, but he beat his enemies by laying down his life.  Christ (like David) was a giant-killer, but he beat that giant (Death) by submitting to the will of the Father.  Then the Father gave him a seat at his right hand.  That's the heart of the gospel: spectacular joys and victories by means of suffering and death.

It's the heart of Christian education, too. Suffering, then reward.  Struggle, then success.  Grunting and hair-tugging over math problems at the dining table, then the light bulb.  As the writer of Hebrews might have said, "For the moment, all studying and homework seem painful rather than pleasant, but later they yield the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by them" (Heb. 12:11).

Is this a trivialization of Scripture?  Not a bit.  One of the Bible's great commands is that we must educate our children according to high gospel standards (Deut. 6:6-9), and if we do this well, we are teaching our children to be giant-killers.  As David "ran out to meet" Goliath (1 Sam. 17:48), we're teaching our children to run toward every challenge.  As Christ did not run away from the cross (Luke 22:42), we're teaching our children not to run away from difficulty and pain in the classroom.  We are teaching them to grow.

God's stories always end well.  Man is born to trouble as the sparks fly upward (Job 5:7), often tragic trouble, but God's purposes for us and our children are always good.  These are great, biblical truths for all of life that we want to get into our students' bones now.  Work is hard, and they will sometimes fail, but that is not the end of the story.

Grace and Peace, Nate Ahern