When I was a young teacher, my principal called me into his office a few minutes before the school day was to begin. He wanted to talk to me about James.
But the thing was, we had just talked about James. The day before. We had exhausted the subject.
And so I nodded my head, trying to be polite, but about five minutes into the repeated conversation, I said, “Mr. Bowell, I’m just noticing the time. The kids will be in my room soon.”
Mr. Bowell just smiled and said not to worry. Apparently he hadn’t seen what could happen among twenty-seven unsupervised fourth graders. But wasn’t it his policy that teachers needed to be in their rooms any time the students were??
Mr. Bowell dragged the conversation out ten minutes more, asking me about my wedding plans, my fiance, and my parents as he leaned back in his chair, sipping his coffee. I wondered if this is how he approached every school morning. Maybe I needed to look into principal-ing.
Finally, he told me to have a nice morning, and I bolted from my chair and did my teacher-speed-walk down the hall to my classroom.
I screeched around the corner and shot into my room, and then stopped short. I saw a gorilla and an old man trying to squeeze into the same desk. Then, everyone said, “Surprise!” The kids had organzied ‘Mask Day’. Everyone was scrambled in different desks, and they wanted me to go around the room and try to identify them.
Mr. Bowell walked into the room a few moments later (principals don’t try to keep up with speed walking teachers) with a big grin on his face. The kids had enlisted his help to detain me.
I’ve thought about that day so many times, when it seems like God is contradicting himself.
Sometimes it feels like God is leaning back in his chair having a leisurely conversation with me rather than setting me free to get back to work and represent his agenda. I don’t understand why he isn’t letting me move forward. Or I can’t understand why he told me to do something, then isn’t letting me finish it.
In those moments, it’s helpful to think about Mask Day.
Our God is privy to everything on the agenda for today and he knows who is behind every mask. Yes, he may seem contradictory, and often does. But it’s only because he sees the things that I don’t.