ECA is in its 8th year of existence, and during those eight years, there have been multiple ups and downs, as well as difficult decisions. This year, we decided to eliminate our middle school and focus on rebuilding our elementary grades, which has proven to be beneficial and fruitful. That decision, however, caused many questions and doubts about the school's future. It even propelled someone to create a fake identity (let's add the humor to it - it was a fake celebrity identity) and send a message to us on Facebook: "Why don't you just close the doors." I must admit, I was temporarily hurt. I don't know why because I've learned in our new social media era that people love to hide behind anonymity and spew hatred or negativity. All that aside, I have also learned how hatred and negativity can make us search for answers - for truth. ECA doesn't exist out of dumb luck or out of any one person's talent/efforts or out of someone's desire to have his/her name praised. ECA exists because God has allowed it to exist. To what extent God will allow it to exist is beyond my realm of understanding. What I do understand is the amount of prayer that teachers and students and parents and community members put into this school. What I also understand is the power of prayer is not something we can or should disregard or discredit. God/the Bible never promises us that life will be easy or that we will not have struggles. Instead, God teaches us through His Word that we can overcome obstacles - that He will never leave us - that constant prayer is heard. We may not always get the answer we are looking for, but that doesn't mean we should cease praying.
In the book of Acts, chapter 12, Peter was sitting in a prison cell. He was shackled by two chains between two soldiers. The prison door was guarded by sentries. Yet, in the deep, dark night, an angel appeared and told Peter to get up. The chains fell off and no one around him awoke. The angel led Peter away from the prison, and when he came to himself, he said, "Now I know for certain that the Lord has sent his angel and rescued me from Herod's grasp and from all that the Jewish people expected." When you back up a few verses, you will see that the church was praying "fervently" to God for him. What a beautiful example of the power of prayer. Herod thought he was in total control. He had already ordered James beheaded and had all intentions of doing the same to Peter. Some people may ask, "Well, why didn't God save James? Why did he have to die?" I don't know. Maybe it was so Herod could gain a false sense of security or pride. Maybe it was to show the people that their worship was misplaced. After all, Herod was immediately struck by death when the crowd proclaimed him a god. What we do know is that these events led to God's Word flourishing and multiplying.
I encourage you to be prayerful - not just daily - but multiple times a day. God is listening. He is in control despite the fact that life came seem so chaotic around us. He uses people and situations and places to make a difference. While the world may be telling you to "close the doors," "give up," "quit trying," God may be telling you to "stay the course," "run with endurance," "keep the faith."
Peace and Blessings!