An Answer in the Form of Questions (a lot of them)

As I am attempting to maintain alignment with God’s will and now asking Him to help me overcome my unbelief, I’ve discovered the most unique answer to my requests.
God has flooded my thoughts with curiosity and questions. Specific questions like…How can a school balance both developing children in living holy lives and also provide real opportunities to be salt and light? Could a school that is just grades K-6 or K-8 manage that balance? Will I be able to visit Anastasis Academy (www.anastasisacademy.com) in Colorado, to gain understanding of all of the logisitics? How can a school with a small student to teacher ratio still provide teachers with plenty of planning time to collaborate and create dynamic learning opportunities? I could go on to fill pages with the detailed inquiries that have been placed on my heart.
You may be thinking, “How is this an answer to prayer?”
Amidst all of these questions, I have an unexplainable confidence in knowing these are God’s directed concerns. I’m pretty sure God welcomes my curiosity because it is no longer doused with doubt, but it is filled with fascination. As I looked at the many examples of faithful servants in Hebrews 11, I couldn’t help but assume that they were filled with questions as well. I’m grateful that questions do not have to equal doubt. As my fascination and contentment with God’s holiness increases, so too does my faith. It seems wherever I read about faith, there is a result of righteousness. Now there is a characteristic to work towards.
In Genesis 22:1-19, God tests Abraham’s faith. The only way Abraham could have been willing to follow God’s command to sacrifice his own son Isaac, was through a pure trust in the Lord’s holiness (completely OTHER and HIGHER than anything in this world). When we face tests of faith, God’s holiness is waiting on the other side, affording us a glimpse of his heavenly goodness. I wish the bible told us what Abraham was thinking as he led his son up the mountain to the altar. I’d like to think that his mind was filled with questions driven by wonder and reverence, with an absence of doubt. Ultimately, Abraham named that mountain Jehovah-jireh, meaning “The Lord Will Provide”.
As teachers and parents, our most promising learners are the ones who inquire with fascination and wonder. It is the ones that dismiss and/or mistrust our guidance that we really need to encourage and support. I would challenge you to reflect on where you might fall on this spectrum of faith.
I would anticipate that being a fascinated inquirer of a Holy God, is a very exciting lifestyle. May my faith increase to the point where I can refer to this journey as “The Lord Will Provide”.
Joy in the limitless possibilities!

Ryan Hershey see my blog at
www.faithandeducationcollide.blogspot.com

“Help Me Overcome My Unbelief”

Well, I’m diseased…
Everything I read, see or experience I relate to teaching, learning and education. This diagnosis also causes me to avoid some things that are meant for my personal relationship with God as well as my family.
As I read an article by Terry Pluto, faith and sports writer for the Akron Beacon Journal, I was doing my best to relate his words to my teaching. In the article, “God Believes in Us”, Pluto says, “I need to remember that God believes in me even more than I believe in myself.” Now I could write a whole blog post about that characteristic of God. How, as teachers and leaders we should embody a faith in our students that surpasses their own. That was the point when God wrestled away the symptoms of my “disease” and shifted my blinders away from education and fixated them on Him. 
Pluto went on to refer to a story in Mark chapter 9, where a father brings his demon-possessed son to be healed by Jesus. In verse 23 Jesus said, “Everything is possible for one who believes.” While that is profound, it’s what is written in the following verse that God intended for me. The father in the story responds to Jesus with this desperate plea, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”  
I’m constantly asking God for “stuff”, but I can’t ever remember requesting a stronger faith. I always was in the frame of mind that it was my job to believe and have faith because God offers such an abundance of promises and blessings. But God used Terry Pluto’s words to set me straight; “I have to remind myself that before I ask God for anything else, I must ask him for more faith.”
This is exactly what I needed to hear, as my vision for this blog and my future in education was becoming much more of mine than God’s. I was feeling antsy about who was reading the blog and the possibilities it would lead to.
God really provided clarity through Hebrews 11. How ignorant of me to think that people like Moses or Noah, as well as the numerous others mentioned in the chapter, never had to ask God to help them overcome their unbelief. As we ask for an increased faith, I think we’ll gain contentment in knowing God maintains a holy perspective. Chapter 11 also describes all of these faithful servants as pleasing to God and commends them as righteous.
We very easily mask God’s power when we don’t ask for help. I think the song “Light Up the Sky” by the Afters displays the great contrast between a meek faith constructed on our own, and the faith achieved through God’s design.

Now when I seek the vision God has given me for education (in addition to anything else), I’ll sincerely start with, “help me overcome my unbelief”.

Ryan Hershey see my blog at
www.faithandeducationcollide.blogspot.com