Monday, January 2, 2023

Feeling Orphaned

Exactly 3 weeks from today I return to the classroom, Lord willing. I can't wait. I feel like Paul must have felt when he wrote that he felt he had been torn away from the Thessalonians (1 Thess. 2:17). The Greek verb is aporphanizomai, which occurs only here in the New Testament. The term could be used either of children deprived of their parents or parents deprived of their children. Hence these renderings:

NIV: "we were orphaned by being separated from you"

ESV: "we were torn away from you"

CSB: "we were forced to leave you"

Elsewhere in the letter Paul says he "longed to see" them and that he prays that God would "clear the way" for him to return to them. 

That exactly how I feel.

Just as Paul longed to see his beloved Thessalonians, I long to see my beloved students again. For Paul, a letter was no substitute for the stimulus of face-to-face fellowship. For a teacher like myself, a blog post or an email are completely unsatisfactory substitutes for the classroom. Paul felt and acted toward the Thessalonians as if they were his own children. He lay bare his love for them. And all the while he has been pouring out his heart for them in prayer. His whole life and ministry were inextricably bound with them. 

What teacher could not truthfully say with Paul, "I feel like I have been torn away from you"? Scott Hayden once wrote, "Teachers have three loves: love of learning, love of learners, and the love of bringing the first two loves together." For this teacher, that reunion cannot take place soon enough.