“I can hardly believe it,” my friend shared with me on Saturday at my safety workshop for the ECD principals and teachers of Weiler’s Farm. “I have fifty children enrolled in my school!”
I gave my friend a hug.
“Are the parents paying?” I enquired.
“Yes!” my friend replied. “They are!”
The back story of this conversation is that I met my friend in October. She attended my workshop and then invited me to visit her preschool. When I did, I discovered a preschool of happy children who without a doubt were engaged in learning. Considering how little resources and how little training the principals and teachers have to work with, they make learning happen! This continues to be a great encouragement to me!
However, my friend didn’t just invite me to her preschool to see it. She wanted me to hear her story. Recently widowed, my friend was doing all that she could to make ends meet. The parents of her students were not paying for the educational services she was providing. She was at a loss as to what to do next. She believed that her God wanted her to provide a preschool for these families. Yet, she didn’t know how much longer she could do it without the funds for the food and school supplies the children needed.
Prompted by the Holy Spirit, I shared with my friend that I would help her. I would purchase tables and chairs for her preschool. At that time, she only had two tables and a handful of chairs. Normally, I wait to provide tables and chairs – to determine if there is a real need and also to ask that the principals attend my trainings for a while so I may get to know them better. The crisis of this situation was apparent. Action was needed. I knew from experience that a donation of tables and chairs provides a visual cue that serious learning is happening. Once an ECD has sets of tables and chairs, it makes a significant difference in the eyes of the community and the parents count the ECD as a genuine place of learning.
I instructed my new friend: “When your school year begins in January, inform the parents that you will only be taking children who will pay their school fees. For a child to sit at one of the new tables and chairs, they need to pay for their spot.”
I also told my friend, “Make me the bad guy. Tell the parents that the person that donated the tables and chairs requires that the parents pay for their children’s seats.”
Fast forward to the start of the South African school year in mid-January, and that is exactly what my friend did. The parents balked at first. However, when my friend turned a family away because they refused to pay their child’s school fees, it got the community’s attention. Her little preschool would no longer be a place for free rides.
“My hope has returned,” my friend shared. “I don’t feel cut off and alone anymore. You helped me, Heather.”
What a privilege to serve my friend and her community!
I couldn’t help but remember this situation when I read my hope verse today:
There is surely a future hope for you,
and your hope will not be cut off.
New International Version, Proverbs 23:18
We need all the encouragement we can get, don’t we?
For my friend and perhaps many of us, we may feel like we are cut off, cast aside, ignored, afflicted and forgotten in a world that offers so much. It may seem like others are getting what they want – sometimes without much effort – and we are not. We may wonder why the opportunities, the prosperity, the good health, and the blessings others enjoy, seem unattainable.
When will it be our turn?
And yet, this verse from Proverbs offers an incredible promise!
There is surely a future hope for us!
Our hope will not be cut off!
In other words, hold on, friends.
Once again, hope is based upon the transliterated word, tiqvah. Tiqvah is a cord, hope, and expectation.
Yes, the cord of hope is back!
The cord of hope we grasp is founded upon the person of Jesus Christ. Our Savior is holding the other end of our cord of hope – anchoring it in the promise of a coming glory – Himself!
Matthew Henry says:
He promises a hope that will be infinitely outdone!
For my friend, she desired that her parents would pay their school fees so that she could not only provide a good education to her students but also provide for her family. What she hadn’t expected was that when she set this boundary, instead of losing families when she enforced that they pay for her services, they took her seriously! Now, her little school has fifty children! She is being paid and is now able to feed and clothe her family. The Lord provided an opportunity to increase my friend’s care and investment in her community in His name and for His glory and praise!
One key thing my friend also did during this time, was that even though she felt cut off and alone, she continued to cry out to her God for help. She continued to lift her eyes above all that was happening and seek her God and Savior.
And He answered!
This is a great encouragement to us when we are in a similar situation and feel lost, alone, cut off and afflicted.
We need to maintain high thoughts of our God and keep looking to Him.
We need to remember to fear the Lord and remain in awe of Him. He is a holy, majestic, powerful God.
We need to keep praising our Lord and adore Him – for who He is!
We need to keep seeking strength, wisdom and encouragement from the Word of God.
We need to enjoy our relationship with Jesus Christ. He is our friend. And He is present with us!
We need to rest and take comfort in the Lord. He is our Protector and Shield.
Last of all, we need to remember to defer to our Lord’s authority. He is Lord. We are not. He will act in His time and in His way.
Ultimately, Friends, our hope isn’t in the people or things of this world – sure, sets of tables and chairs significantly helped my friend at a time when she was incredibly downcast and needed support – yet, such a situation is still a temporary, short-lived hope. The cord of hope that we are offered leads us to an infinitely more encouraging and sustaining future hope. This future hope is what is coming in the next life when we shall be with Christ forever in eternity. And every hope fulfilled here on earth shall be infinitely outdone then!
So, my friends, we may be wanting this-that-or-the-other-thing on this earth. That’s not bad. However, what’s even better is what is coming – and more importantly – who is coming! Our future hope is sure and that is Jesus Christ!
Keep looking up and keep your eyes focused upon Him.
Every hope you have on earth shall be infinitely outdone!
That’s a promise and hope to remember!
Photo Credit: Kelli Boesel