During my career as an educator, I have watched with sadness as the effects of existentialism have pervaded our culture. Existentialism purports the belief that truth is experiential and contingent upon human reason, performance, and experience. This belief, in turn, gives birth to a culture and educational system void of truth and filled with hopelessness, despair, and striving.
For the last 11 years, I have experienced firsthand the effects of existential thought and human moralism directed towards the lives of our future posterity. As an assistant principal in Norcross, I have watched as hopelessness, despair, and striving became the anthem of my students' lives. Approximately 80 percent of the population came from fatherless and single-parent homes, leading to an unchecked, unsupervised, totally depraved populace of middle school students. For the majority of these students, school was the only hope of refuge and escape from the cycle of poverty, addiction, and turmoil; however, it only served to reinforce the intrinsic values of a culture lost. Public school, a Petri dish of secular and naturalistic philosophy, sees the child through the lens of individual performance and societal contributions. Students are no longer valued as "image bearers." No, they are measured by what they can contribute to the prominence of the school -- thus, precipitating the hopeless struggle of the seeker.
The question for us remains: Is hope lost? The simple answer: No! For the believer hope remains. Colossians 1:27 says, "To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory." Our hope and the hope for those soaking in the pool of futility is Christ alone! I believe Tim Keller best explains this hope when he states, "I am more sinful and flawed than I ever dared believe. I am more accepted and loved than I ever dared hope."
I would like to share a final story that I hope will serve to inspire and encourage all of us in our covenant mission and display the all-surpassing power of our sovereign King. I remember a young 12-year-old girl who showed up in my office last year in utter desolation. Her story -- an all too familiar story -- resulted in an endless swath of persecution on social media. Without sharing too many details, the young lady unfortunately was solicited by an unknown source on Facebook who promised her a bright modeling career. When she at last refused to provide further images, the unknown source blasted her social media contacts with unscrupulous information and inappropriate pictures. Subsequently, the incident resulted in the most heinous and venomous attacks by her so-called friends. The persecution from her friends -- her one source of refuge -- hurled this young lady towards a hopeless and final resolution. Praise be to God that this was not the final outcome for her. The Lord, rich in mercy, allowed me the opportunity to share the hope of glory. After a few minutes of sharing the love of Christ with her, she shared details with me of something that no person, especially a 12-year-old little girl should ever endure. Nonetheless, at that moment, the Lord brought freedom and deliverance to her. I do not know what became of the young lady, but my continued prayer for her is that the seeds of the Gospel will blossom and that she will find solace and lasting hope in the loving arms of the Father.
This incident reminds me that amidst this young lady's turmoil and our temporal struggles, there is "love and peace that surpasses all understanding." Therefore, how can we as a community humbly and faithfully continue to provide a place of refuge and hope for our students and parents who are desperately striving and hopelessly in need of support? The answer is that we have already built a foundation that depends on and appropriates the power of our God. We are a reformed covenant community that supports and sustains our members through truth, mercy, and justice. Thus, we are unified in our mission and dedicated to raising up a generation that will impact cultural change and expand the kingdom of God.
As a community of believers, we are so blessed. Ephesians 2:1-11 tells us, "As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions -- it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith -- and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God -- not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are Gods handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do."
Therefore, my prayer for our covenant community is that the Lord would use all of us to shepherd and equip the hearts of our future generations. That He would speak through us and in spite of us, and that we could enjoy the fruitful blessings of His unmerited favor.