The Bell Doesn’t Dismiss You

In High School, I had an English teacher whose classroom was right across from my mom’s class. Now my mom was an art teacher, and everything about her classroom epitomized art.

It was messy. It buzzed with the sound of laughter and conversation. The desks were not in a row. Artwork hung on the walls, clay footprints guided the way from the spinning wheel to the sink and my favorite….the box of paperclips, were all hooked together, making it impossible to grab just one.

Sounds fun right?!

Well, the English class across the hall was a completely different story. There students sat quietly at their desks in full attention. They raised their hand when they had a question. They did not leave their desks without permission. And the most important thing. The thing the teacher made clear on the first day of school: THE BELL DOES NOT DISMISS YOU. I DO.

The Lord reminded me of this scene the other day on my jog. With all this COVID stuff going on, I think the Lord works a lot like that English teacher (no offense mom….maybe your illustration will come next week!)

The Lord is saying, like that bell….all these circumstances out here, they don’t define you. I do. Just because you hear the proverbial bell ring, that doesn’t mean it’s time to go. It means the time to go is close, but I want you getting your directions from me and not that bell!

This is a time to have our ear pressed to the ground listening for the Holy Spirit. It is not time to panic or throw our hands up. It’s time to listen. The Lord will speak when we are listening. Are we willing to hear what He has to say?

Jesus demonstrated this on the cross. No one took His life. He gave Himself up. Do you see the difference? His prayer said in effect: Father God, I hear the bell ringing, but I look to you – what do you say? Is it time?

Circumstances don’t come to us without first being filtered through God’s hand. Even COVID-19. The next question is how would you describe God’s hand?

If you believe it to be good and your source of protection, strength and provision, then you will trust that hand, no mater what things are filtered into your life that you have to deal with.

You know those things aren’t by chance or mere coincidence. God is still in control and will use these circumstances, no matter how hard or heartbreaking they are. They DO NOT change God’s character.

What kinds of bells are ringing in your world right now? Bells of loss or hard decisions? Circumstances seeming to dictate what happens to you?

Look to the Lord. Seek to hear His voice above what’s going on. Ask Him what you should do, where you should go, how you should respond. Then listen.

And finally, when He speaks, follow His direction no matter how crazy it may sound. God sees from a different perspective than we do and He often shields us from knowing all the details.

It’s really for our protection, because if we knew everything – it would paralyze us. He gives us the knowledge we need for the moment, the day, the decision right in front of us. When we walk in that knowledge, more is opened up to us, and the process repeats.

All of this is to deepen our faith, our relationship and trust with the Lord.

1 Peter 1:6-7 “In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith – of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire – may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.”

I pray that through the hardships we are facing right now, we will see God in new ways, experience new aspects of His character. Those will be building blocks added to our faith that nothing can take away.

Then, when the next crisis happens, and it will, we can look back and remember COVID-19 in April 2020 and remember how God moved when it seemed impossible. And because He moved then, I know He will move again in the new situation.

Thank you Jesus for your sacrifice and your unconditional love for us that we can have hope in all situations!

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