This week, I started my first volunteering session with a group of high school students, supporting an arts project running for the next 6 weeks. I was very excited to start and a little apprehensive not knowing what to expect. It's been so long since I was a 12 year old that I wasn't sure what I would talk to them about. As the students filed into the room, I observed their wariness and apprehension at the beginning - they were waiting to see what the teacher would say and how she would interact with them. As the introductions took place, I noticed some of the other students looking at each other and then seemingly taking their lead from the others who seemed more confident.
There were a couple of students who kept their head down whilst the teacher spoke and others who fidgeted, not paying full attention. As the class went on, some of the students started to open up and answer questions, give their opinions and even react to what the teacher was saying. As the teacher explained the first activity and asked them to start, they all looked at each other to see who would move first and also look at each other during the activity to see if they were doing the same thing, if they were doing the right thing. There were some who threw themselves into the activity, asking the teacher for reassurance that they were doing the right thing and then even beginning to help each other.
In my role as an assistant to the teacher, my role was to go round to the students who looked like they needed assistance and provide clarification or further direction if they needed. At the end of the class, I couldn't help but think this was how God saw us. You get a group of believers together and some will connect straight away with what God is saying, will understand what they need to do and get on with it (Psalms 119:33 - 34). Others will inadvertently become a role model for others, helping them with what the Teacher has asked them to do. Others will disconnect entirely, refusing to take part in any of the activities, others will be wary to begin with until their confidence grows and they start to follow the lead of the teacher, doing as instructed. Others's attention will wander off when they are given an instruction and God will have to discipline them to bring them back in line (Psalms 119:67).
It made me appreciate the awesomeness of God and how He deals with all of us individually, taking the time to wait for us to follow Him, not leaving anyone behind. He is the One who leaves the 99 behind to go find the one. In all our dealings with God, we need to remember that He is faithful to the end, even more so than the teachers we have today. In this school of life, there is no one who can teach us like God can. Maybe you've been the student who didn't listen and did whatever they wanted, ignored other students, etc. but all God is waiting patiently for you to sit up, listen and obey. Which student will you be?