The Upper Room devotional reflection for Wednesday, January 25, 2023, was written Kami K. Preston of Tennessee.
1 For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. 2 For in this tent we groan, longing to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling — 3 if indeed, when we have taken it off we will not be found naked. 4 For while we are still in this tent, we groan under our burden, because we wish not to be unclothed but to be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. 5 He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee. 6 So we are always confident; even though we know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord—
7 for we walk by faith, not by sight.
2 Corinthians 5:1-7 NRSV
Making connections with students while teaching remotely is hard. I can’t pat them on the back or easily whisper words of encouragement when they struggle. I can’t offer high fives when they succeed. Instead, I try to get to know my students when they share a project or when we eat lunch together online. Still, it’s hard not to feel disconnected.
One day after a reading lesson on character traits, I presented a slide with a picture of my face and asked my student to list some of my traits. Waiting anxiously, I wondered, Will they be kind or brutally honest? A quiet third-grade boy melted my heart by writing these words: “She loves me.” Yes, child! I most certainly do. If I do nothing else right, I have shown one child that I love him.
Just as I work hard to connect with my students, God is always calling to us and reaching out to draw us into relationship. It can be difficult to feel God’s pats on the back of hear God’s whispers of encouragement. But when we take time to know God’s character through reading scripture and observing creation, we grow closer to God. What joy it must bring God to hear us say, “God loves me!”
One of the pillars of Methodist Theology is our understanding of grace. We recognize God’s prevenient (pre-existing) grace, given to us from the moment we are born. It is that little voice on our shoulders, beckoning us toward relationship with God and guiding us to live faithful and faith-filled lives. God values relationship with us so highly that Jesus is sent into the world to build a bridge over the chasm of our sins, so that we might be able to experience the joy and hope of relationship with God. Each of us must choose to heed the voice of God on our shoulders, that we might live a life that brings glory to God.
Dear God, thank you for calling us into deep relationship with you. Amen.
- Kami K. Preston