Christine Eige is an ELCA teaching missionary in Japan. To support Christine, or another of the ELCA’s nearly 230 missionaries, go to www.elca.org/missionarysponsorship.
April flew by in a whirl of activity, and I hardly know where the time went. Since we have year-round school in Japan, April marked the start of a new school year. This year my school has 347 junior high students and 1052 senior high students. I teach kindergarten, junior high and high school classes each week, and the variety of levels definitely keeps me busy. I am still working on remembering my students’ names and the names of all the new teachers, but I know that will take time.
Once again this year, my school participated in the Missoula Children’s Theatre program, so that gave me a great opportunity to get to know some of my students outside of a classroom setting. This year’s production was a musical version of “Little Red Riding Hood.” I am proud of everyone’s hard work, but more importantly, the students had fun. I loved cheering on my students and celebrating their personal victories.
In the midst of all this busyness, God reminded me of how important it is to stay focused on him. It is so easy to get swept up in to-do-lists and all the details of life. I admit that when I get really busy, I often fall into the trap of not taking quiet time alone with God. I try to rationalize this decision by telling myself that God will understand and that there is just too much to do during a day. What I fail to realize is that when I take the time to focus on God and soak up his truths from Scripture, suddenly I have more strength and energy to accomplish that mountain of tasks I face. I have more patience with myself and others when things don’t go as planned. When unexpected crises arise, God’s words are already in my heart and ready to comfort me.
God constantly provides for us and sustains us through the ups and downs in life, but just like the Israelites, we need to receive our manna from heaven each day. Instead of living off of the encouragement, hope, strength and sustenance that God gave us yesterday, Sunday or last week, we can receive a fresh helping of God’s goodness each and every day. Lamentations 3:22-23 reminds us that “because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is (God’s) faithfulness.” So, what does God want to teach you today? Will you take the time to listen?