Wednesday, April 5

A Table Before Us

Two of my third graders were arguing with one another last week. Actually, one of the girls is in my class and the other one is a third grader who switched to the new teacher earlier this year. Both girls are leader material. Both of them long for attention. Needless to say, their desire for friends and a good reputation lead them into territorial arguments. When they came running up to me after P.E. last Monday, I looked at the other teacher and said, "Okay, they're eating lunch together all this week." And that was the deal...they were going to sit together and spend time together whether they liked it or not. Secretly, I thought that was probably what they had wanted anyways. In their argument, I heard them crying out for someone to show them how to be friends.

They were embarrassed to sit together, but did so with much argument and foot stomping.

Both thought I forgot about the lunchtime requirement. (Fortunately, I remembered this time.)More foot stomping. One of the girls refused to even finish eating her lunch. They sat at opposite ends of the table...arms crossed.

Tuesday afternoon.
I sent each an invitation to join me for lunch the next day. Real food...not cafeteria. They both rsvp'd and said they would come.

We sat together at the table. Both were pretty quiet. I pulled out the lunchables (kids loves those things), grapes, and jello. And all of a sudden, this verse popped into my head...."He prepares a table before me in the presence of my enemies." We began to talk...not about anything in particular...just small talk. It was good. By the end of the lunchtime....without me even having to pull it out of them...they said goodbye to each other. That may sound small, but really, it was huge....they had refused to talk to each other before.

Wednesday after school.
I heard both girls again call across the sidewalk to say goodbye to each other.

So maybe they will continue to feel a little apprehension about befriending one another. I realize that peer pressure could keep them apart. But I do know this, for a few moments last week, these two girls were able to speak amicably to one another. They were at peace enough to go out of their way to say goodbye.

I don't think I'll ever think about that verse in the same way again. And hopefully I'm not taking it out of context. I've always thought it was a prideful thing, like...haha, enemy, look how much God loves me. But, maybe, just maybe, He provides in a way that puts us in a position to share in the goodness of God together. Maybe some of our enemies should not be our enemies at all. Maybe God's love needs to step in and provide a table before set our differences aside, to make amends, to be at peace. I get tears in my eyes just thinking about it.


JMT said...

April, Its so refreshing to hear about how your impacting the lives of these kids. Its an incredible feeling when the Lord teaches these life lessons to us and others by using our willingness to obey him. Makes his word come alive! Zeph 3:17 is what I know he's doing in your life. Your awsome! Love you! -Josh

Bethany said...

Those kiddos are so blessed to have you...

I guess that's one of the joys I have teaching 4 and 5 year olds. They seriously do not hold a grudge.

Mike: Joey, I'm not your friend anymore. I just don't feel like it.

Joey: Oh.......hey, Mike! Guess what...I got a new monster truck!

Mike: Cool! Are you going to pick me for snack helper today?

(actual event)

On the other hand, you don't have to deal with accidents, shoe tying, and coat zippering...

Keep up that influential work of yours, April. Miss ya lots!

Anonymous said...

i agree with josh and beth. God is working through you to reach those kids. that is so awesome what God showed you. luv ya

83princess said...

WOW! What a thought! This really humbled me into thinking that the table maybe isn't meant to be prideful thing but an invitation to love like He loves...forgivingly (if that is a word)
The scripture that comes to mind is "we do not wrestle against flesh and blood but...against the ruler of the darkness of this age"
Beautiful...simply beautiful!