Over the past several weeks, I have walked through my long teaching career and highlighted the different lessons God had taught me through the various schools I served at. Retirement, however, was only weeks away. I wanted to do something more for the Lord at this, my final school. God had closed the door on a Bible club years earlier, but He had blessed me with being able to partner with Him in praying for colleagues over the years and watching them be healed. Surely He wasn’t finished partnering with me yet…
One day, a former colleague who had retired a few years earlier came by for a visit me in my classroom. She seemed distracted, and when I asked her how things were going, she told me her husband had just been diagnosed with prostate cancer.
I immediately understood the reason behind her distraction, and feeling led by the Lord, I asked if I could come by her home and pray with her husband.
Her response wasn’t encouraging: “He’s a very private man,” she said. “He doesn’t want people to know, and he would feel very awkward if you came by to pray with him. But I would be very happy if you would pray for him!”
I assured her I understood and promised to pray.
A week later, our mutual friend who taught Grade 6 came to my classroom and asked me to come with her. She told there was great news and that someone wanted to speak to me — in the cloakroom of her classroom!
Strange, but after nodding a greeting to her students, I dutifully ducked into the long, narrow room of that old classroom where all the students kept their coats. I couldn’t have been more surprised to find my former colleague hiding there, the one whose husband had been diagnosed with Prostate cancer. She was crying, and it was difficult to understand her words: “My husband is healed!” she sobbed. “Three days after I asked you to pray, he went to the doctor, and the cancer is…gone!” Then she thanked me profusely.
I assured her that it was God who loved her husband enough to heal him, and she gave me a big hug.
That may not have been the first time she experienced God, but it was the first time in a long time she had experienced Him so profoundly and it was a miracle she would not soon forget. The whole thing reminded me of a story in the Bible:
“When Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to him, asking for help. ‘Lord,’ he said, ‘my servant lies at home paralyzed, suffering terribly.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Shall I come and heal him?’ The centurion replied, ‘Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, “Go,” and he goes; and that one, “Come,” and he comes. I say to my servant, “Do this,” and he does it.’ When Jesus heard this, he was amazed and said to those following him, ‘Truly I tell you, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith. I say to you that many will come from the east and the west, and will take their places at the feast with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. But the subjects of the kingdom will be thrown outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ Then Jesus said to the centurion, ‘Go! Let it be done just as you believed it would.’ And his servant was healed at that moment.” (Matthew 8:5-13 NIV)
God didn’t need me to go and pray with that former colleague’s husband, as I thought I needed to do; He simply needed me to pray in faith. And just like the centurion’s servant was healed, so was my former colleague’s husband!
My teaching career ended then; but somehow, there are still plenty of ways to be God’s hands and feet, plenty of people to continue to pray for. I realize now that though God had great plans for me in the classroom, those plans didn’t end when I retired. Perhaps you will need to stay tuned for a future series entitled, “Lessons From Retirement”!
In His love,
(To view the entire “Lessons From the Classroom” devotional series, please click here.)