I have always appreciated God’s provision on my journey as a teacher. He provides the living books, the enlightening philosophy, the timely feedback needed to grow—everything. But, as I have realized many times over the years, God’s provision also—I would say, especially—includes the difficult parts: for example, those moments when a student’s cup of anxiety overflows. One year, God sent me a dear little third grader who was terrified of all flying insects. He also sent me wasps.
My student and I began our lessons in walking through fear one beautiful autumn morning during recess. Wasps and bees often expel unnecessary drones from their hives and lock the door behind them. This makes winter provisions go farther for the “essential” citizens. This is why flying creatures seem to appear at every autumn picnic and are overly interested in what you are eating. It would be an understatement to say that my student noticed the increase in their numbers.
In the weeks that followed, my young friend and I saw a lot of each other. When she spotted an insect and wanted to run inside, I called her to me and put my arm around her. It seemed as though a wasp landed on someone almost every day. She always seemed to be right there as I brushed a little fellow off a classmate’s shoulder. After every “rescue,” I found her widened eyes, took a breath with her, and laughed. God was walking through the fear with us. I noticed that the insects never landed on her—and was I ever thankful!
But, in life, as well as in lessons, I suppose there must be exams. One day, at the end of autumn, after a wasp-free recess in the crisp air, we filed back in and shut the door behind us. Suddenly I had three students whispering to me, urgently. My friend, so went the report, had a wasp…in her hair. I confess that my heart sank. Would all our careful, non-traumatic work be wasted?
I locked eyes with my young friend. I see it. I am with you. Don’t be afraid.
“Stay still,” I said. “I will get it.” She blinked slowly. And then my young friend displayed the most trusting, poised, even stately self-control you could imagine as I extracted the little fellow out of her long hair, crushed it in my fist, and shook it onto the floor. There was a moment of silence as everyone felt their heartbeat. Then my class exploded into cheers, relieved laughter, and applause. “I can’t believe you got it with your hand!” she said. “I can’t believe how brave you are!” I replied.
I was reminded that it is God who conquers fear. If He never sent us hard times, we wouldn’t know how brave we are with Him, and we wouldn’t be certain of who He is: Immanuel, God with us. May we always trust Him for everything we need—even wasps!