Back in the early ’70s, my dad had a visitor stop by after school one day. You can imagine my dad’s surprise when he saw this young man in his early 20s walk into his classroom that day—in his military uniform. He explained that he was on leave, and was now stationed back in the states. They talked a bit and then this soldier began to explain why he had come to see me dad.
He recounted how one day his platoon was in an area where there was a great deal of fighting. There were all very tense, and scared. Before they knew it, his platoon found itself in the middle of a fire-fight. It became very intense in a short period of time. Bullets were whizzing by them, explosions all around, and he and a couple of his buddies became pinned down in a foxhole. No one could blame anyone for starting to panic in a situation like that. He said that he was beginning to panic, to freeze up. Then this soldier looked my dad in the eyes and said, “I was just about to lose it when suddenly I thought, ‘What would Mr. Pierce do? What would he do in a situation like this?’” You see, this soldier was one of my dad’s former 5th grade students. He went on to tell my dad that the more he thought of him, the more he calmed down, the clearer his thinking became. And he made his way out of that fire-fight. He went on to tell my dad what a mentor he was for him throughout his whole life. He said that in my dad he saw a fair man, a man who really cared about his students, was very funny—and loved God. He said that he knew he loved God simply by the way he lived his life, how he treated people, and that he was just—there for them.
Why am I blogging about this? As a leader or a teacher, you can’t always see what God is presently doing through you. And when you’re doing it, you can’t always see what God will ultimately do in them. My dad had no idea he would influence this former student in a way that would have an effect on him during one of the most extreme situations anyone could face. So, when you’re tired, and you’re feeling like all of your efforts are for nothing, remember this: You never know what God is going to do through you—and in them.