For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven… – Ecclesiastes 3:1
This statement opens a wonderful passage from Ecclesiastes that describes how all things have a proper time and place. The chapter goes on to state (Ecc. 3:11) that “He (God) has made everything beautiful in its time…”
As lovely as this all sounds, it is more than a proverb or poetry. When we think about it, we realize how true it is that all things in life do go through seasons and cycles. The sun rises and sets each day. Weather goes through patterns in winter, spring, summer, and fall (at least, in some parts of the world). Sports, clubs, holidays, TV shows, and even the church years all follow rotations and seasons. To some extent, we might look at this and see the drudgery of repetition or endless routine. However, we can also take the outlook that these cycles are a blessing. God provides seasons to allow for variety and keep us from falling into boredom or chaos.
School is no exception to the rule of revolving patterns, and offers a glimpse of the beauty of change. Rather than dreading another academic season, kicking off the year can be quite positive. A new school year is an opportunity to embrace transitions, start fresh, and recognize God’s presence and purpose in the everyday details of life.
Summers often mean late morning snoozing, afternoons relaxing in the sunshine, vacation travels, and relative freedom from responsibility. Heading back to early alarm clocks, heavy backpacks, and hectic after-school schedules can feel frustrating and challenging, to say the least. Giving thanks for a new academic year doesn’t seem easy, but we can embrace the return to routine. This time, as any other, is temporary, and includes chances to learn and grow in social, spiritual, and scholarly areas. Regardless of what the uncertain months ahead hold, consider how God has appointed this time for His good purposes and will use it.
We can make the most of this season, too. Setting goals isn’t just for New Year’s Eve. At the outset of the school year, take time to make achievable goals for various areas. Don’t just aim to earn a 4.0 but consider creating positive habits like daily prayer and Scripture study or sitting with someone new at lunch. As you transition into the classroom, remember that God goes with you! He is with us in times of struggle and crisis, and He is with us in the mundane reality of brushing out teeth and opening a textbook.
Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? And not one of them is forgotten before God. Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows. -Luke 12:6-7
The Lord cares about a new school year. He cares about the seasons of our lives and the daily details of them. You are so valuable to God that He gave His life for to forgive your sins and give you eternal life. If he keeps a head count of sparrows and knows every inch of your complex body, we can trust that even a simple school day is important in His eyes. Through prayer and thanksgiving, practice the presence of God at all times of the day. Whether in public or private school, He is there! If Jesus will die and rise for your salvation, He will surely be with you every day. Look for moments to observe His power and hand in even the smallest details, and welcome the challenges of the classroom, knowing you are not alone!
Gracious God, thank you for the gift of education and the opportunity to praise you in all circumstances. Guide and go with me in this school year, that I might celebrate your constant presence in my life and use it to honor and serve you. Grant me peace and strength in every moment. Amen.
- What challenges worry you when it comes to beginning a new school year?
- How can you live in God’s presence, no matter where you are?
- What habits will help you as you head into this season?