Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: TEACH (11/29/18)
- TITLE: All the World's a School
By Dave Walker
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Shakespeare, while himself in the play, was also in the audience as a consummate spectator. From what he learned as he observed the players, he created vivid word pictures of the physical looks of his kings, jesters, witches, plotters, beasts, and fairies. Then he observed their invisible attributes and made them credible, three-dimensional characters who have captivated audiences and readers for over 500 years.
Shakespeare learned from his world and so can we from ours. All the world's a school and all the people in it are its pupils -- if we will look and listen.
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My wife, Dorelle, and I sat opposite a cheerful, attractive woman, having coffee. Without introduction, she started speaking to us animatedly and inconsequentially. In spite of her smiles and natural friendliness, there was a vulnerability about her manner, as if she was afraid of being hurt. "Teach us more about her, Lord," we silently prayed. "Why is she here talking to us? What do You want to do in her life?"
In the conversation, she asked us about our children. Dorelle responded, "I have two boys and a girl." After a pause, she added, "And another little girl in heaven."
The stranger's eyes glistened and she said softly, "My name is Irene. I also have a child in heaven." She grasped Dorelle's hand; tears and words came pouring out of a broken heart.
When he was one year old, Irene's little boy developed encephalitis. The doctors gave him little hope of recovery and certainly none without severe mental retardation. To their astonishment, he miraculously recovered with no loss of mental function, but with total deafness.
In spite of his disability, he was warm and caring, excelling in sport and academics. It seemed God had spared him for a special purpose.
Then as a young man, he developed pain in his hip --- a sporting injury, they thought. When it persisted for months, it was taken more seriously. It was bone cancer. He was dead within a year. We could see Irene's heart was still bleeding.
Any faith in a loving God had dissolved as her son died, so God sent us to teach her about a God who carries us through these times as a shepherd puts a wounded lamb on his shoulders till it is healed.
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Not only does God want us to learn about those He puts across our path so that we can show His love, but He has surrounded us with lessons about Himself. "For since the creation of the world, His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made..." (Ro.1:20).
I was sitting under the panoply of stars a while ago, awed by the spectacular display. At the same time, though, I was thinking about a little ant that I had seen scampering across my table earlier in the day. While watching it, I was trying to think of all the tiny components that made up that ant, and the functioning elements that caused it to search for food, to navigate its way home and to suddenly accelerate away from me as I put my finger near it. How fearfully and wonderfully that little creature is made. And now here I was sitting under the unfathomable vastness of the heavens. In my mind, I was saying, "What does that teach me about You, God?"
Then I knew. God is not influenced by size. We often are intimidated by our minuteness compared to the size of the universe, but that didn't stop God from visiting our planet and showing His love by dying for us. It does not stop Him from creating an ant with immeasurable intricacy. It does not stop Him seeing the pain in a grieving mother's heart and sending someone to teach her about His love.
Shakespeare was not quite right (though we must allow the Bard poetic licence). All the world, in fact, is not a stage. We are not here as a theatre to act out a part like puppets for God's amusement. We are in a real world, to discover who we are and who God is. He is our Father and we are His children. All the world is a classroom to learn that one great lesson, and live in its glorious fullness.
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