Who’s the best teacher you’ve ever had—whether it was at school or somewhere else? In what ways did he or she positively impact your life?
When have you found yourself in the role of teacher? What did you find rewarding, or unrewarding, about it?
What do you enjoy more, learning from others or teaching them? Why?
Today we’re going to spend time with another set of teachers—God, and the experiences God uses to prepare us for his good works. Looking back on our lives, it’s not always easy to figure out how we got here—or to believe that God could use what we’ve been through, let alone the things we’ve done to ourselves. But God knows every experience we’ve ever had—everything we’ve accomplished, everything we’ve learned, everything we’ve suffered through, every stupid mistake we wish we could take back—far better than we do. God is still creating us, in the sense that he’s shaping each of us into the people he wants us to be. And God wants to use everything in us to create something special, in your life and in every life you come in contact with.
Therefore, we’re going to reflect on the times and places God has already met us throughout our lives. It may have been a mountaintop experience when you knew God was doing incredible things and you were in the middle of it; it might have been a time you were in the valley, but God was still especially close; it may have been a time you didn’t even know God was working through, but looking back you can clearly see what God was up to.
Read the following questions, and think about when God has been especially present in your life. If possible, write down your answers as they come to you. Take at least five minutes to reflect on this:
• When have you taken a big step of faith and/or obedience because you knew it was what God wanted?
• When have you been conscious of God guiding your steps, whether you knew it at the time or realized it later on?
• When have you felt most fulfilled in your walk with Jesus? What was taking place in your life at the time?
Now, rearrange the moments you thought of, in the order they happened. Then review your list and try to answer the next set of questions. If you don’t have answers right now, that’s OK, but start thinking about it:
• What patterns, if any, do you see in where God’s taken you up to this point?
• Based on what you’ve written (or even if it’s not based on what you’ve written), where do you think God may be trying to take you next?
God has done some incredible things in our lives—things that have fulfilled the desires of our hearts as well as His, times when He’s even let us help Him although He could have done it all Himself, even things that may have been painful at the time but have helped others to see God’s glory. God wants to reveal Himself even more, and to use it—use you—to reveal his life in you to every person God puts you in contact with.
And yet, a lot of the time we’re not even aware of how God’s been working with us. We think if it’s not spectacular—or at least our definition of spectacular—it’s not God who’s working within us. However, as A.B. Simpson says in The Fourfold Gospel.“We do not have to get up into some exalted state to find Christ, or down into some profound and terrible experience. We can find Him everywhere we are…. We can take Him as we are, and He will lead us into all the experiences we need.”
May we take those words to heart this week, and beyond.