“Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.” – James 1:12

The fourth quarter of 2015-2016 has come. Teachers, staff, parents, and students can see the end of duties assigned to them, and that end looks wonderful. Thoughts of both relaxing and adventuresome vacations, good books in which to bury the mind, and coveted time to spend with families and friends compete to fill our consciousness. Thoughts of the future after high school graduation beckon to us as well. Counting down the weeks, days, and hours becomes the pastime, and everyone loses sight of the NOW. The NOW seems difficult, almost irritating. Teachers still have papers to grade, parents still have assignments to oversee, and students and administration must still meet their deadlines. Oh, summer, will you ever get here, or will you stay only in our thoughts, flirting with us.

Reality sets in, and we realize we must persevere and dig in our heels if we are to get through the final quarter and finish this year successfully and strong. But in our sinfulness, perseverance is not something for which we naturally strive. We long to be back with our thoughts of summer, with its luring images of less stress and structure. Nagging at us without fail, the NOW intercepts those blissful images. Somewhere deep inside us, the NOW is pushing its way toward our consciousness. The NOW is where each of us needs to be. The NOW is where God is. He wants us in the NOW, leaning on Him to receive His help so that we successfully stand the test and receive the crown.  God calls each of us to persevere, and that is good. Its purpose is to benefit us as we finish the work He has called us to do. He promises that we will be made “complete, not lacking in anything” (James 1:4). He promises that His power is made perfect in our weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9), for when we are weak, we can go to the One who has an abundant, never-ending source of strength from which we can draw.

Teachers, staff, parents, and students, let us purpose to stay in the NOW, where God is. He will give us the kind, edifying words to encourage each other, to encourage the students, to hold one another accountable, and to bear the burdens that we all experience at this time of year. He is our Source for everything we need to finish this year successfully and strong so that we might glorify Him, the Most High. Let perseverance finish its work so that we might hear our faithful God say, “Well done, good and faithful servants!” Summer will come, and those wonderful images of vacations and family time, friends, and college preparations will all become reality! BUT… just not NOW!

“Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking in anything.” – James 1:4