I was worshiping the Lord with an amazing group of people when I saw a vision of a classroom. It looked older, vintage almost but nice. The little wooden chairs and desks were all lined up in neat rows facing the teacher’s desk and a chalkboard hung on the wall, blank except for two perfectly written words – Safe Place.
The room was filled with many I didn’t know but we all heard the invitation to sit at the same time. And so we carefully lowered ourselves into the chairs and waited. The air was electric with eager anticipation, reserved wonder, and even some anxiety.
Then I heard the gentle voice of the Lord and peace flooded the room. “Don’t be afraid of my instruction. There’s nothing to fear in my classroom.”
I sense that the Lord is saying that the classroom has not been a pleasant experience for many of us. Whether it was school or something else, we sat in our chairs almost trembling as the ropes of fear and dread tightened around our chests, squeezing our lungs, making it hard to breathe.
The Lord showed me that there are primarily two reasons for this. The first has to do with the instructors/authority figures we grew up with. Many of us experienced harsh instruction, consequences handed down as soon as we got it wrong. There were disappointed looks, curled up lips, crossed arms, and shakes of the head letting us know that we failed again and probably always would. Second chances were not given and so we were left feeling disqualified from any future opportunities to get it right.
The second reason for fear in the classroom has to do with the other students. We remember the smirks, how much the cruel laughter ripped our hearts as we hung our heads in shame after getting the wrong answer. We covered our ears in an attempt to block it out but the damage was done. We used their disdain as confirmation of what we already believed about our worth and value. We promised to never get out of the chair again, never to risk getting it wrong for all to see.
But the Lord is saying, “My classroom is a safe place for you.”
The author of perfect love is our instructor and his voice is gentle, stern when it needs to be but never condemning and never harsh. There is nothing punitive in his heart, never a spiteful consequence delivered when we get it wrong. The look in his eyes let us know that we are not failures no matter how many times we fall. His arms are perpetually open, waiting to comfort us when we miss it, telling us that we are always qualified to try again.
The other students are still humans that can be influenced by darkness so there is always the risk of rejection and cruelty. But the instructor is for us and won’t sit idly by watching them tear us down. He is actively discrediting the lies being thrown on us with his unshakable voice of truth saying, “You are loved, adored, valued, smart, treasured, worthy, beautiful, qualified, chosen, claimed, significant, forgiven, and so much more than you know.”
God’s classroom isn’t like the ones we grew up in, the instructor not like the ones many of us had. It’s a place of encouragement, comfort, and love right along with incredible revelation. It’s a place where it’s safe to get it wrong because our identity is never on the line. So come and have a seat. Class is about to start.
Jesse and Kara Birkey
One of the deepest passions of Jesse and Kara’s heart is to help as many people “come alive with Jesus” as they can, and this devotional is born out of that desire.
The daily words from the Lord will bring you hope no matter what you are facing. They will reveal a love that is bigger than you thought possible and the abundant LIFE that is always available.