Last week during our September 12 devotion at school, Mr. Ohlmann held up a picture of the New York City skyline. In the photograph, the twin towers were still whole and standing strong. He asked the students, “Does anybody know what city this is?”
My mind immediately began racing. Is he doing what I think he’s doing? Is he going to say what I think he’s going to say? Will the kids be able to understand such an awful event? Won’t it scare them?
Next, he held up a second picture of New York City, and in this one the towers were missing. No doubt about it now, he was going to do it. He was going to talk about the horrible events that occurred in our country on September 11, 2001. As he went on to explain that day, he used words like “terrorist,” and “murder.” He talked about the tragic destruction and countless deaths.
I kept a wary eye on the students, ready to stage an intervention at the first sign of distress. To my surprise, they accepted the information in a perfectly calm, yet somber way. Because Mr. Ohlmann didn’t just tell them what happened, he went on to tell them why it happened.
In that moment, it struck me that this is a blessing to treasure in our school. We are able to teach our students about the reality of sin and all its ugly consequences. We can teach them that there are no “big” sins and no “small” sins, and that even the sins committed on 9/11 were fully paid for on the cross. We are able to point them to the sin that exists in their own hearts. What a blessing it is to not just learn about history, but to discuss it in the light of God’s Word. What better lesson can we impart to children then to remind them that even when terrible things happen, our loving and merciful God is still in control. Not only that, but He has promised to make “all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28).
By the end of devotion, I saw everything differently. They didn’t need a teacher like me, who wanted to “protect” them from this truth. They needed a teacher like Mr. Ohlmann to remind them that sin is the cause, and Jesus the cure.