I’m warring against the year-end temptation to moan and groan about school. You would forgive me if I were to tell you I’m tired, wouldn’t you? But I refuse to allow myself to quit too soon emotionally, and it’s because I remember something wonderful happens around May of every year.
In the last month of school, there is always an extraordinary up-curve. We chug along for months, one Spanish sentence after another. Verb conjugations and more verb conjugations. Stack after stack of nouns to memorize. Adjectives, adverbs, and more vocabulary. Translate this. Translate this. Translate this.
And then my students begin speaking and reading and writing in Spanish.
“I have to be honest,” I told one student. “I watched you to see if you were cheating on this last quiz. I mean, I didn’t really think you were cheating, but I couldn’t help thinking about it. Something has changed.”
“You know what?” she said. “I’m getting it. I’m looking at the sentences in study hall, and I barely even have to study. It’s just easier all of a sudden.”
It’s really an incredible phenomenon. So many weeks and months of grueling work, but then it starts to pay off. I gave my freshman class some children’s books to translate in groups a few days ago, and one of the girl’s brought hers to me at the end of class. “We translated the whole thing –all the way to the end!” she exclaimed.
Grueling: Extremely tiring or demanding.
You’re hearing me, aren’t you? Grueling job. Grueling marriage. Grueling relationship with your kid. Grueling financial season. Grueling health crisis.
The hard situation keeps going and going.
But I believe there is a happy up-curve when we stick it out, no matter what the circumstance. When we love longer, keep working to communicate, continue to pay down debt, trust God with our health, and stay in a job on the unpleasant days –when we persevere, exponential change takes place in our souls. We grow inside, and it shows the most as we get farther along in the trial.
That’s why James tells us to consider it a joy when we go through all flavors of trials, because the up-curve is coming.
“Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” (James 1:4 NIV)
Mature. Complete. Lacking nothing.
When do these words become a part of who we are? Well, not at the beginning of our journey with the Lord. They come sometime after “g” for “grueling”.
As for joy? I can tell you my students weren’t using that word a month ago. “Dear Mrs. Fitzwater, it is such a joy that you make us memorize 25 sentences every week. Bless you.” Uh, huh. I’ve been blessing their socks off.
But wow, you should see what my freshmen know in Spanish now, compared to what they knew nine months ago.
There’s a “wow” in your future, too, if you’re willing to persevere through this hard season you’re in. There’s a happy up-curve, so keep leaning on the Lord and moving forward. You will not be sorry.