Many years ago when I was a boy, I enjoyed visiting my dad’s school office. He was the principal of Robbinsdale Junior High School in Robbinsdale. I would sometimes go with him on a Saturday morning and he’d let me shoot hoops in the quiet gym. (Back in those days, school buildings were quiet and empty on weekends!)

After playing in the gym for a while, I would sometimes wander around the dark hallways, occasionally turning on a light to see where I was walking. Many things have happened since those days. In the 1980’ the school was closed due to declining enrollment, and in early 2002 it was torn down to make room for townhouses.

I fondly remember those days. So many things have changed in our society and world since then. When Dad would walk up to the front door of the school, he would often pick up the Minneapolis Tribune on the front step and I would enjoy looking at some of the sports news from Friday night’s football games. Yes … times are much different now.

The old school is gone and the morning newspaper is, too!

In my dad’s school office were many interesting things for a young boy to look at. His office was often strewn with books, papers, articles and lost-and-found items. (Today as an adult, I have the privilege of working from his old desk, rescued from the junk pile after the school closed.) If that old desk could talk, it would tell some amazing stories from earlier days in the principal’s office of the junior high school.

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As I sit at the old, oak desk thrown away -- evidently not wanted any more -- I get to thinking about all of the things in our world that seem so different and so hard to understand. I think it fair to say that our country is polarized, divided and stressed over political topics, the coronavirus pandemic, social issues, climate change and a host of other issues that tend to bring stress, anxiety and fear into people’s lives.

One day after Dad’s passing, I got to rummaging through a drawer in the venerable school desk now rescued from the junk pile. I found a copy of the small piece of paper Dad had framed on his office wall. On the paper were these words: “In quietness and confidence shall be your strength.” -- Isaiah 30:15 This was one of his favorite Bible verses. Maybe in some way the old desk did speak!

I believe these are reassuring words for us today. The words from Isaiah bring about renewed hope and a sense of calmness in the midst of today’s challenges.

I cherish the words from Isaiah 30:15. May these timely words speak to us today!

The Rev. Mark Woodward serves the Maple Leaf Parish of Spring Valley (Faith, Cherry Grove and Fountain United Methodist churches) and the historic Lenora Church. "From the Pulpit" runs on the Saturday faith pages and features reflections from area religious leaders. To contribute, contact Life Editor Meredith Williams at 507-281-7488 or