Good Things

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And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose. —Romans 8:28, KJV

As a Title 1 math teacher, I was invited to bring an activity into a first-grade classroom one afternoon. The classroom teacher and I had met, and we planned to play musical numbers. Rubber circles with numbers would be placed on the floor.

We would play music to which the children could walk, march, skip, or dance around the circle of numbers. When the music stopped, each student would stand on a number. Then I would draw a card that had a description of the numbers that would be “out.” We were using this activity to review math vocabulary. I knew this game would challenge our students on a social and emotional level. Children would be eliminated from the game until one child was left and could choose a prize. So, we began by sitting in a circle and talking about the rules of the game, how students could show good sportsmanship, and how they could be happy for a student who won rather than getting jealous or angry. The game went well, and I was pleased with the children’s behavior. At the end, the students all indicated they enjoyed the game and would like to play it again sometime. As I was gathering up materials and preparing to return to my office, one little girl approached me. “I really wanted to win,” she confided.

“I prayed and asked God to let me win. I folded my hands and said, ‘Please let me win! Please let me win!’ But I did not win a prize.” I smiled at her.

“It would have been wonderful if you had won a prize,” I responded.

“But there are other good things you got from this game. You are learning to be patient and kind and to be a good sport. You said nice words to the students who did win, and the things you learned from this game will last a lot longer than anything that is on the prize table.” She smiled, and we said goodbye. I chuckled to myself as I went back to my office.

How many times had I asked God for some little thing I wanted, and He had given me something so much better? Instead of something we might want, He often gives us what we need most. I am encouraged that “we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us” (Romans 8:26, KJV).

Marsha Hammond-Brummel

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