Last Friday, in Lessons From the Classroom, Part 19, I told the story of how God picked me up out of my “self”-given plans of becoming a principal and set me back down on the right path: Back in the classroom.
Unfortunately, I had a problem. I couldn’t return to my former school, as I was advised that my former co-teachers would probably “snub” me, and that they would always treat me as if I were “above” them. I didn’t want this, and so I began to scout through the first round of postings for new positions in French Immersion. During this time, I had this little dream where I saw myself a an entirely different school in a totally different town. Unfortunately there were no postings for this school. Hum. What was God telling me?
I began applying everywhere… At high schools, at elementary schools, wherever there was an opening. I received a few interviews. I wasespecially interested in a posting at a high school in my town, and it appeared that they were also interested in me. Unfortunately, no job offers were forthcoming.
The second round of postings came out, and again, no openings from the school God had placed in my dream. Again I applied for positions and went to interviews, but again, no job offers came up. I was rapidly becoming discouraged. Why didn’t anyone want me? Did God want me to stop teaching altogether? How would I feed my family?
Finally, in the third round of postings, the school God had put on my heart had an opening for Grade 5 French Immersion. I immediately applied, and who is surprised to know that I received and accepted an offer from this school.
Interestingly, the very next day another job offer came in: From the high school in my town, the one where I would have loved to teach! I had already accepted the position in Grade 5, however, and I turned it down; but I was struck by the timing of this. Had I received this job offer prior to the third round of postings, I would have jumped on it, and I wouldn’t have found myself in the school God had put in my dream!
I was sure that this was where God wanted me to be, and as the summer progressed, I made plans for the Bible club I would start in my new school. I was certain this was why God wanted me in this school, to be a witness through a Bible club, just as I had been in my last school.
Imagine my disappointment during that first week of school when I approached the principal about a Bible club and he turned me down.
“I will not have a Bible club in my school!” The words were shouted at me, and the intent was clear: He was angry that I would even suggest such a thing! And my fears were confirmed with his next words: “You must promise to never have a Bible club at this school! If I see you doing this behind my back, I will make your time here a nightmare!”
I had no choice. There would be no Bible club in my new school.
But why, then, had God placed me here?
In my mind, the only way I could witness was through a Bible club; but God had something very different in mind. He had different plans to witness to this school, and although I had no idea what He was up to, I would have to submit to my principal and cling to the promise of Proverbs 3:5-6: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” (NIV). I had to submit to God’s will and trust Him with all my heart. Beyond that? I wouldn’t know for a very long time…
So often we have such great ideas about what we will do for the Lord. He, however, often has other plans. We may not understand, but one thing is clear: Our plans are doomed to fail, while His plans will succeed. The Apostle Paul experienced this. He had major plans to preach the gospel in Asia, but the Holy Spirit kept him from it. (See Acts 16:6). Then he tried to preach the gospel in Bithynia, “but the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to…” (Acts 16:8 NIV). What did God have in mind for him? “During the night Paul had a vision of a man of Macedonia standing and begging him, ‘Come over to Macedonia and help us.'” (Acts 16:9 NIV). And as a result, many were won to the Lord, in His time, in His place.
What plans do you have right now? Don’t be surprised if God closes the doors, only to open them up in unusual ways. Instead, thank Him for guiding you down … His path!
In His love,
(To view the entire “Lessons From the Classroom” devotional series, please click here.)