Wednesday was a bad news day.
From the morning edition of The Oklahoman to that night's national and local newscasts, there was a lot I (Craig) found myself sighing over: a middle schooler in Enid gets beaten unconscious at school; a teacher aide (who actually worked with a friend of mine) at Southmoore high school is caught sexting photos of herself to sophomores.
To top it off, I got an email from a colleague at my former school telling me about a senior prank gone wrong. Apparently, the Head of School's email was hacked and the following message sent to the entire parent community:
"We would like to inform you of some small changes that will take place, this year, regarding Junior/Senior Banquet. As servants of God, we strive to protect our community. For this reason, we have arranged for condoms to be available at this event. Every male student attending will have the option of taking a complementary condom at the door. This is to encourage our students to practice safe sex. We hope that by doing this, we can set a positive example, so that other schools may recognize our efforts and take action against sexually transmitted diseases. Thank you, and have a blessed day."
Sometimes it's hard to see God at work, particularly in our schools and especially despite our human capability to really mess things up. And yet I read a quote on Wednesday from United Methodist Bishop Will Willimon that was particularly helpful in the midst of trying to do some good in the midst of that bad news day. Willimon wrote: "Scripture teaches that time and again, God refuses to be stumped by our inadequacies. Therein is our hope."
Indeed, therein is our hope. "Whom have I in heaven but you?," wrote the psalmist, "And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you" (Psalm 73:25). John records that, "Simon Peter answered him, 'Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God” (John 6:68-69).
With four weeks to go, I take comfort that any hope we have cannot be in ourselves – which of us this time of year has anything left to hope in? In the face of what's ahead, let's confess to God, each other, and ourselves where our true and only hope is: in Christ, his love, and his grace. Pray this for yourself, your students, and our families.
This is what I'm praying for all of us these next four weeks.