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And so, we are here at last! After weeks and months of time apart from one another, following the strangest turn of events and end of a school year we have ever seen, we get to start classes again on Monday! Praise the Lord! Proverbs 13:12 explains just how we’ve been feeling: “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, But when the desire comes, it is a tree of life.” Amen.

Our hope has been deferred for a long time–the equivalent of nearly two summer breaks–and now we get to enjoy the life-giving blessing of being together once again.  We want to be open in order to be good stewards of the gifts we have in our children and in order to be obedient as best we can in honoring God as we take responsibility for raising them. And just as we are no more deserving of this grace, we are also no less fragile than our neighbors and friends. We, too, can get sick. We, too, can spread sickness. We, too, can die. But God is not distant or disinterested, regardless of the outcome; if He wills that we get to meet all year without a glitch or a hitch, praise be to God for His generous care according to our hope. And if He wills that we have to defer hope yet again, He will make the fruit of that desired tree all the sweeter when all this is finally over. When the prophet Isaiah writes to compare our living God with the false gods of Babylon, he uses vivid imagery of the pagan nation carrying the heavy burden of their idols of silver and gold: “Bel bows down, Nebo stoops; their idols were on the beasts and on the cattle. Your carriages were heavily loaded, a burden to the weary beast. They stoop, they bow down together; they could not deliver the burden, but have themselves gone into captivity” (Isaiah 46:1-2). Carrying false gods eventually grinds people down; not only do they fail to deliver, but their worshipers have to carry them wherever they wish to go until they ultimately find themselves captives. By contrast, our God carries His people, not the other way around: “Listen to me, O house of Jacob, and all the remnant of the house of Israel, who have been upheld by Me from birth, who have been carried from the womb. Even to your old age, I am He, and even to gray hairs I will carry you! I have made, and will bear; even I will carry, and will deliver you” (Isaiah 46:3-4). This is the God we return to school to learn about and serve!

I am so grateful to be carried into this school year by a faithful and living God. What a blessing to watch Him work. Please, join me in praying for a smooth, healthy, happy, and quiet start to our school year, overflowing with faithful and expectant joy in the Lord. His mercy endures forever! I believe we’re in for an exciting year. May the Lord be pleased and protect us in his power.

In Christ,
Bill Stutzman