Search
  • Jaclyn Rowe

A Sad Substitute for the Real Thing

I love educators. The conventional, went-to-college-and-know-what-they-are-really-doing type teachers. Dedicated people who enter a classroom every morning with a plan, curriculum and a can-do attitude. They go to work ready to lead and invest in little minds, helping them grow and learn. They are amazing people.


I’m not one of them.


In my early twenties I got a job as a substitute teacher at my local elementary. It was short lived, but nonetheless, desperation for “good” substitutes meant that I quickly found myself in classrooms. And here’s the thing — while I am a very spirited lady, with lots of energy and leadership skills, I am not the real deal! I was left with no choice but to fake it through each day because with my lack of experience, limited skills and little knowledge of the curriculum, the job was much harder than I imagined. But, there I was in charge. The kids will never know what they missed. I mean, we made it. We had fun. I’m sure I taught them something, but my concern was for what they simply did not learn, certain gaps were left that the real teacher had to fill in after I was gone. I was out of my league.


I was just a substitute.


Now, try to imagine a substitute for God.


Someone or something that can do what God can do and be who God is. With thought, we would probably agree that a quality substitute for God would be an impossible joke.

Who in the world could step into His position and succeed? However, a substitute needs only to be “a person or thing acting or serving in place of another” to qualify as such.


And so, as ridiculous as it is, we make substitutions for God all the time.


In unchecked desperation we turn to “good substitutes”; people, ideas, governments, institutions, religions, traditions, news feeds, foods, addictions, you name it to serve as little “gods” in our lives. We dethrone the one true God and His ways and we put other things and people — namely ourselves — in charge. And they, and we, are way out of our league. Lives fall apart. The gaps are certain.


So we blame the substitutes. Then we blame God.


Reason speaks to the truth that there is only one true God. As we begin to know Him, it is obvious that there is no other. No other can be who He is. Only God can give true wisdom, determine the right way, show unconditional love, completely forgive and change our lives for eternity. Just one. Peace, happiness, hope, the things every heart longs for are found only in God and through faith in Jesus. And so a relationship with God is IT because God alone is the real deal. Everything and everyone else is just a substitute.


Ummmm…let that sink. Everything else is just a substitute.


Maybe today we should just stop subbing?


Instead of depending on the substitutes and then blaming God for our despair, let’s look to Him. Let’s trust Him to be the one who can help. Let’s de-elevate our lousy counterfeits and focus on learning from the real deal; the one for whom the world has never been able to provide a satisfying substitute.

Recent Posts

See All

Everything in me wants to lash out. I feel it in the core of my soul. Emotions have been building, my peace of mind is waning, my efforts to push down what I really think and how I really feel are b

My daughter says that a lot. She’s 12. It generally goes something like this: I passionately probe, “Chloe, did you hear me? Are you listening?” She half-heartedly says, “What? I’m so confused.”

Who do we think we are? Yes, read that laced with all the tone and sarcasm I feel. I started a new Bible reading plan about a week ago because I needed something to take me a bit deeper in the word