Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning the shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
2 Corinthians 4:17
Our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.
Commit your way to the LORD, trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass.
Jesus for the JOY set before Him – endured the cross, scorning its shame.
What was the JOY set before Him? Reunion with his Father in heaven, casting down Satan, obliterating the fear with which Satan held the world captive, sitting in His rightful place, redeeming creation, establishing His kingdom, preparing a place for us, etc. The joys are eternal and endless!
Jesus had good days and bad days while He ministered on earth. He was disappointed in His disciples’ lack of understanding, lack of faith, inability to stay awake and persevere in prayer. He was betrayed by his closest friends, and forsaken by His Father. Nevertheless, ‘for the JOY set before Him, He endured the cross, scorning its shame…’ Does His JOY even extend to the fact that we will never be forsaken by the Father because of His work on the cross?
All JOY comes at a cost – name one thing that you delight in that was not paid for in some fashion…
Mountain top vistas? The climb
All athletic achievements? Practice
Language fluency? Musical abilities? Work, time, effort
And why do we practice? Endure? Persevere? Climb? Race? Because the JOY outweighs the cost!
‘For the JOY set before Him, Jesus endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down’… there is an end to the enduring and an eternity of JOY. Jesus is sitting at the right hand of the Father in Heaven. There will be a joy that endures when all other joys become irrelevant – it’s our final and overshadowing goal.
But this is a homeschool blog and I am supposed to encourage you on your homeschooling journey. Our present goal is educating our children and training them in righteousness. Well, let me reiterate, there will be good days and bad days. You will be disappointed in your children’s lack of understanding, lack of faith, inability to stay awake and persevere in prayer. You will probably cry out at one time or another, “Ye of little faith!” or “Have you already forgotten the lesson of the loaves and the fish?” You may experience scorn and shame – from family members or even from those same little ones you are sacrificing to teach.
So how do we persevere?
First we must do just what the Scripture tells us to do – fix our eyes on Jesus the author and perfecter of our faith – both our faith and the faith of our children.
Secondly, we must focus on the Joys set before us – don’t overlook them because they are there every step of the way to encourage us on the journey. Just like the joy of the last child to be potty trained – standing before you full of pride as he or she flushes and their excitement over earning the right to wear big girl panties.
The joys of homeschooling are no less memorable. I am at the end of my homeschooling Joys, my baby girl began her senior year in August. My joys are changing, I’m looking forward to more graduations and more weddings and grandchildren. But I have not forgotten those of the last 16 years. I will recount them to you to give you perspective and encourage your hope.
There is no joy like the day when the light clicks on and your struggling reader becomes an enthusiastic reader. Proudly reading every sign and billboard, every set of directions, every book title on your bookshelf. He even corrects you when you miss a word following along as you read. And then when he reads the word of God for himself and you see the Spirit of God at work in his heart. Oh what Joy!
Or when for the third week in a row you have force-fed Saxon multiplication tables down your daughter’s throat and anticipate hesitation and errors. But to your amazement she rattles them off without a hitch surprising her almost as much as yourself. Oh the joy that follows – the high fives and the desire to do it again for Daddy!
Joy fills the day that your child tells you that they want to pray to let Jesus come to live in their heart. There is little school that day – it is literally a holiday! And you have the pleasure of praying with them and sitting at the right hand of the Father.
There is joy in the sharing of struggles, in the moments of forgiveness and mercy, in honoring others and the deliverance of grace.
Joy fills our lives as we homeschool, because our children are our joy. Sure they disappoint us, but we overlook the disappointments when we see their character becoming more like Christ. When we see our son or daughter reach out to a friend and love and accept them. When they remind us to pray.
There have been baseball games, piano recitals, ballet performances, public speeches that have been frozen in my memory accompanied by Joy. I have watched them serve their peers, the elderly, and the younger children with the same eagerness. I enjoyed celebrating their graduations from high school and college. I cried tears of Joy last June when my oldest daughter married her best friend, a godly young man she met when she was 13 (they met in a homeschool rewriting workshop – just a little plug for coops and classes ).
The joys have abounded and for the joys set before me I persevered homeschooling my three children. I encourage you to fix your eyes on Jesus and to anticipate the Joys as you continue or even just begin your homeschooling journey.