So we’re six weeks into the school year and our theme of “Make a Difference…Choose Shalom!” So, to borrow from Dr. Phil, “How’s that working for you?” The idea of building a school culture where all can flourish and all strive to make intentional choices that facilitate that outcome is a right and noble goal. The fact of the matter is, to live that way is to attempt to swim upstream against the mainstream. There is a lot of “push back” from the adversary of our souls as we pursue Shalom at LCS.
Upstream vs the Mainstream
The mainstream of our culture prescribes that the primary tools to get the good life involve the big four: Power, Prestige, Privilege, and Possessions. The hope is that attaining these will give us the control we need to assure that we will experience personal peace and affluence in this life. The ultimate goal in life becomes our own personal happiness. We transmit this value to our children when we make their happiness our ultimate goal in life.
Is personal peace and comfort the goal?
I read in today’s paper the story of two Pakistani Muslim extremists who were willing to die so that they could kill Christians coming out of church yesterday. Since the launch of our Shalom initiative, I know friends who have lost loved ones, parents who have suffered heartbreak, parents and children facing life threatening disease with little chance of survival. Where is the Shalom in all of that?
We would aspire to our life being a joyful, smooth ride. We would love life to be like a resort, but the scriptures indicate it is more like a battlefield! “Fight the good fight…” (I Tim. 6:12), “…my strength is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9), “share in the sufferings of Christ” (I Peter 4:13), “Rejoice in suffering…” (Romans 5:3), “put on the full armor of God” (Ephesians 6:5), “trial of your faith produces steadfastness.” (James 1:2-3) Sometimes life feels like a roller coaster- you go faster and faster through dips, sharp turns, and terrifying drops only to arrive back where you started from without making much progress!
Is the way to Shalom to escape suffering?
But adversity is not the whole story. It would be arrogant to assume that we can live in this fallen world and be exempt from suffering and sorrow because we are believers. The uniqueness of the Christian life is that we can rejoice in the midst of the suffering because we know it is purposeful and we know that this life is not all there is. “And do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”(Philippians 4:6-7) “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good….” (Romans 8:28) “In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus.” (I Thessalonians 5:18).
Comfort vs. Holiness
As we look at scripture, we see that God is far more interested in our holiness and spiritual maturity than he is our comfort! Sufferings are standard equipment for this life. The Christian has hope because we know that the sufferings are purposeful and are instruments in the hands of the skilled Master Potter that shapes the clay according to His design. It calls us to look beyond this life and rest in His eternal purposes.
Don’t mistake Shalom for smooth sailing!
The call to Shalom is the call to flourish even in the midst of adversity. As we join together to build Shalom in our school community, let’s be quick to encourage one another, pray for one another, and be there for each other during the hard times. It is certain they will come. May the distinctive of LCS be that we can practice Shalom even in the rough waters. Look around for someone that needs an encouraging word today and let’s help one another “Make a Difference….Choose Shalom!”
Dr. Mike Sligh, Headmaster, has served at LCS for more than 40 years. To contact Dr. Sligh, email him at email@example.com.