There were three students who needed one more math credit to graduate. They had success with me as a teacher in the past. Understanding their learning styles and who they were as students, guidance and I decided to let them use a class I was teaching to give them an option for success. Throughout the year I worked closely with them constantly providing what was needed in order to pass. I desired to learn how to motivate them to want to learn and work to the best of their ability. When the fourth marking period hit, we had individual meetings to discuss the specific requirements they each needed in order to graduate. Two of the students had worked very hard all year; therefore, were sitting in an excellent position to pass with flying colors. The third student however was not as attentive. Whether it was the distraction of his new girlfriend, the fact he knew I really cared for him as a person as well as believed in him, or something else, this student was very relaxed and just assumed everything would work out. Half way through the marking period we had another meeting where I had to be very specific about what he needed to do to graduate. I told him I was available before and after school to help and knew he still had time to make sure he would pass. Well the final exam came and he was unable to make the grade he needed to pass the course. There was so many choices he could have made those weeks before the exam to make sure he’d pass which he just did not choose. He came to me after classes had ended and graduation day was near. “Miss. Bedi, is there anything I can do to pass?” Honestly I was a bit hurt by this ask. I reminded him about all that I tried to do all year to help him pass. I reminded him of all the lists I had made to make it as easy as possible to pass. He had the choice all year to pass. At the end of conversation he knew he had to accept the consequences of his choices. What a terrible feeling. There was a standard that had to be reached and I was only asking him to do his part that was within his reach to do. There was not a requirement that was beyond his reach. I went out of my way draw him into the process to not just reach it, but go beyond it. He didn’t want it until he woke up one day and faced the reality of not graduating.
This is the memory that I am reminded of when I just read through Amos. As I have been reading through the Old Testament in chronological order, I have been following Israel as a nation. How it formed and divided it’s territory. I have followed the journey of judges and prophets that brought in a king. I have watched a united kingdom divide into two. Then I have sadly watched king after king make choses that bettered their agendas then walking in full trust of God’s ways.
As I read through Amos, I hear God’s sad heart that after generations of pursuit to encourage, advise and demonstrate his heart and desire for strong kingdoms, judgment is near. Consequences of each choice are now the reality of the day. Yet, I also think that even when the consequences were declared, I wondered how God would have responded if they humbled themselves and cried out to him?
My student still had hope. He could graduate if he went to summer school. So although not a preference, there was still a way that he could accomplish what was needed. He was allowed to walk with the reality that he wasn’t finished. He got his diploma at the end of the summer and moved forward.
God also never desires to leave us separate from Him. Amos ends with an incredible picture of restoration and hope. God’s heart is that it will go well for us. God’s heart is that we would walk in a right relationship with Him and others. Through this, His truth and glory are declared to the nations. God continues to go beyond measure to pursue us and invite us to live on the path of righteousness and abundance.
Where in my life am I justifying my lifestyle choices, assuming it will all work out for me without giving regard the ways of God? Where do I neglect the small daily choices that pull me away from God? God demonstrates faithfulness and a steadfast love that overflows my cup. May we draw near to Him and allow Him to teach us to take steps of faith.