The Faithful Teacher
David Cruz | December 04, 2018
I like evaluating. My engineer’s mind craves it every time I finish something--a meeting, a project, a semester, or in this case, an entire year of the RUF internship. I usually start by thinking about what a failure I have been, followed by falling into self-pity, experiencing a little bit of reassurance, and finally, by God’s grace, meditating on what he wanted to teach me. This last thing has recently proven difficult, not because God has not taught me anything, but because I have been unwilling to learn. In particular, there have been three things I needed to learn from the Lord.
One of them has been dependence. I remember how competent I felt when I applied for the internship. I had worked as a part time staff member for another campus ministry while working on my degree and was actively involved in my local church. Because of this, I thought I had the skills necessary for the job. How wrong I was! As soon as the first year started, the things which seemed so easy for me before became the hardest. Seeking students, having deep conversations, and even reading books became a torment to me. That torment, however, has proved an opportunity to depend on God’s daily provision and to seek him more in prayer to do everything.
Another lesson, linked to dependence, has been acceptance. I thought I didn’t need to learn (again) that I was accepted by God, because I had already experienced the relief that knowledge produced in a weary soul. Additionally, I had been reading and hearing a lot about justification and adoption. I thought I was good. But when I started to struggle to do what used to be easy for me, I realized I was trying to get God’s acceptance based on my performance, on the quality of my meetings and my service, rather than on Christ’s performance. I was trying to get something I already had. Since then, I have worked to more consistently remember how accepted I am before him, over and over again.
The last lesson has been focus. As you may have noticed, it is easy for me to be self-absorbed, to see how bad, weak and incompetent I and what I do are. But in the end, neither the internship nor anything else in this life are about me or my performance, but about God and his work in this world. The better moments I had last year were those in which I saw God’s wisdom to enlighten the minds of students to understand what they had heard several times before, when I saw his power to soften the hearts of those who were unwilling to believe, when I saw his goodness to give students love for one another, even for the unlovely ones.
Looking back on what I learned over this last year of my internship, what counted was not how willing I was to learn, but how persevering God was to teach me.