Mark 8:34-35 “And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he said to them, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.  For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it.”

This three-day week at school was incredibly memorable. It was a fast and very busy week, however I was amazed at the number of “stop and reflect” times I had both alone and with my students.

The last couple of weeks in Bible class we have been discussing honesty and how easy it is for Satan to creep into our minds and hearts and how he can make it seem that just a little sin is ok. At the beginning of the year we had a discussion about big sins and little sins and I did the balloon demonstration. How many holes does it take to pop the balloon? Just one! No matter how big the hole or how tiny the puncture, the balloon will deflate. God does not view sin as “big” or as “small.” We may see consequences of sins as big or small, but sin is sin in God’s eyes. It also just takes one tiny blemish to make us unworthy to have a second chance or to spend eternity with the Lord.

Over the past several months, my students have begun to understand this concept. I have overheard conversations in our classroom about the balloon demonstration and have heard how insanely accountable they seem to keep each other at times.

This week I got a glimpse into what God is doing in my students’ hearts. I have taken the last two weeks to do some mini lessons about Easter to build up to our final lesson yesterday. One of those lessons was spent discussing Peter and his denial of Jesus.

They have asked some incredibly deep, serious questions.  The one I never thought I would be asked was this:

“Mrs. Goodsell, if someone walked in here with a gun and asked you if you believe in Jesus, what would you say? Like if you said yes, they would shoot you. You’d never see us again. If you said no, you would live. What would you say?”

I think my heart may have stopped for a moment when the student asked. Immediately I prayed silently that God would give me the words to say to this student (and the class) and to give an answer that was appropriate for a 10-year-old.

I told them that I would say yes. I told them that it wouldn’t be easy, but that if I said no to spare my life, I would be like Peter who denied his Lord. We talked about life being a mere moment in time compared to Eternity, so wouldn’t it be worth it?

I then challenged them with a similar question. If someone asked you if you believed in Jesus and there was a negative consequence if you said yes, what would you say?

“I might be too scared, but I love Jesus,” one of the boys in my class answered. One thing I love about my students is that they are so honest with me so often. “What if I didn’t want to deny Jesus but then did because I was afraid?”

Another heart-stopper. I had the students take out their Bibles and I again prayed for God to give me wisdom. I knew there was a verse somewhere in the New Testament to help address this, but did not know where. God directed me to 1 Corinthians 10 somehow. Then I found what I was looking for.

“No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.” -1 Corinthians 10:13.

What is the temptation here? To allow fear to overtake you when faced with a difficult decision. You might be terrified to say, “Yes I love Jesus.” You might get made fun of, you might lose friends, and you may lose your life. God tells us he will not give us anything we cannot handle. He will provide a way out, even a way out of fear to boldly say, “Yes.”

Some other questions my students asked this week were the following:

“If Jesus is perfect and loves unconditionally, why didn’t He use his power to stop sin from coming into the world?”

“If Satan knows he has been defeated, why does he still try?”

“Why doesn’t God just get rid of everything bad so that people can only focus on him?”

God is moving in these students’ hearts. They are searching, going to scripture, and wanting to go deeper. To be honest, these were some questions I started beginning to wonder when I got to high school and even early college. These are 10 year-olds asking and I am so thankful that they are searching so young.

As I have said before, of all people to teach, I feel entirely inadequate so many days. I am so thankful for the Lord’s words each day. I am thankful to be in a place where He can be the true teacher. He can guide, direct, and answer, especially during the many times that I cannot.

On a lighter note, here is the final question that comes up almost weekly which makes me laugh:

“Mrs. Goodsell, why can’t we just do Bible ALL day? If Jesus is everything, that leaves out Language, Math, etc.”  My answer stays the same—“Nice try! You just think Language is hard!”