I always knew it would be hard.
I always doubted myself way more than those around me–my colleagues, my professors.
But doubt has always marked my life when it came to my abilities. I have never been able to see what other people see. And when life seemed to line up with what I saw in myself, I began to doubt even more so the words of others.
I confessedly struggle with doubt.
And I didn’t doubt that this year would be hard.
There are numerous things that are hard about my job as a high school Bible teacher. I have left most days utterly defeated. I have fought back tears mid class, and I have had anxiety attacks at lunch breaks.
But here is an honest outpouring of a doubt I am wrestling with currently.
Part of the “hard” of Bible teaching.
It is the doubt of the sower.
Every day, Monday through Friday, I teach 9th and 10th graders about Scripture. About Jesus. I ask them hard questions. I do my best to make class interactive, challenging, and fun. They read Scripture. They hear it. They write it. They have memorized it. Every day, Monday through Friday, I teach 150 teenagers the Bible. Every day, Monday through Friday, I share the gospel.
And every day, Monday through Friday, I can, oft times, almost visibly see their hearts grow colder. Hardened. Indifferent. Apathetic. Embittered. Combatible, at times.
Not all. Definitely not all.
Part of the “hard” is the hardening.
I was not prepared for the hardening.
I was not prepared to be the sower.
I have always known the Lord doesn’t need me. He can speak through donkeys–He most definitely does not need me. I know I am not a John Piper or a David Platt. I know I have so much yet to learn.
But it was always then that I would remind myself of the power of the Word of God.
That the Word of God was living and active. Sharper than a double-edged sword. Piercing through bone and marrow.
That the Holy Spirit, through the Word of God, was more than able to save completely devoid of me.
But I confess that I have doubted the living and active Word of God.
Because, Monday through Friday, I watch 150 or so 9th and 10th graders, seemingly unaffected by it. Or even hardened by it.
Throughout my life, I have shared the gospel with friends, strangers, coworkers, family members.
But they remained unchanged. I have never seen one person come from death to life.
I was not prepared to be the sower.
I have prayed and prayed for my students. I have prayed and prayed for family members. They have heard and read truth so many times. And nothing.
And I want to doubt myself. And I want to blame myself. That the problem is not the message but the messenger. That I shouldn’t be a Bible teacher. Perhaps these students would respond to the truth if it were taught by someone other than me. And perhaps that might be true.
But I was reminded of 1 Corinthians 1:18, “For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.”
The Bible teacher. The Christian. The Pastor. All who proclaim the gospel will feel the ache of that verse. The ache.
The ache brought on by love. By the love that desires for the Word to not be folly. For the cross to not be foolishness to those around you.
But to many–it is.
And I was not prepared to be the sower.
When I lived in India, one of the missionaries I was working with asked me, “Shara, if you knew no book would ever be written about you, if you knew you would preach the gospel and no one would ever believe, if you knew your life would not be a story for people to tell about years later, if you knew you would never see any fruit from your labor, and no one would ever remember you when you died, would you still want to be a missionary?”
I remember how hard this question was, but still how easy. Of course I would. I thought. I said.
And in the years since then I have seen my life as the sower. And perhaps that is what my life will be.
Am I okay with that?
Am I okay with being the one who sows the seeds, but never gathers the fruit?
As an actress, I still yearn for the applause. The instant gratification of making an audience uproar in laughter. The standing ovation. The fruit of my labor.
I wasn’t prepared to be a sower.
“And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.”
Perhaps my ministry will always be that of the sower. The faithful proclamation of Truth day in a day out until my dying day. Perhaps I will see some of the fruit of that. Perhaps I will not. But do I believe that God’s Word is still powerful? Do I believe that the Gospel is still the greatest news that could ever be shared? Will I not grow weary in doing good? Even if that means setting someone else up to reap in due season? Even if I never see the fruit of my labor.
Is God enough?
I struggle with being the sower.
But He gives more grace.
And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.