The Sovereign Lord has given me his words of wisdom,
so that I know how to comfort the weary.
Morning by morning he wakens me
and opens my understanding to his will.
Isaiah 50:4 (NLT)
I am continually amazed at God. He is so incredibly good to His people. He comforts us when we need Him the most in so many ways, reminding us of who is in charge, regardless of the circumstances. I was very upset this past weekend, having been advised that I might be laid off, and that a colleague whom I considered a friend was reporting information to our bosses, much of it having nothing to do with work.
Both these things disturbed me, cutting deep. Two months ago, I would have welcomed the lay off. I taught at an alternative education school where the majority of the students have behavior problems. It’s not an easy position, but I finally found my groove and began to enjoy the work, especially after a number of our students were accepted back into their school districts. This was the two-edged sword. We were successful in turning these kids around, but the downside is, we lowered our population. With the decreased student body and the present economic environment, the school districts are not sending students to the school as in previous years. It might not have bothered me so much had it not been for another reason: five years ago, on February 19, 2006, the day after my fifteenth anniversary with a former employer, I was downsized. It began to feel like a five year cycle curse.
Sunday, I did not want to go to church. I allowed the enemy to make me feel worthless, but I forced myself to go. Our pastor, Pastor Kevin Garman, preached a message I needed to hear, reminding us that, “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10 – NKJV) Also, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” (I Peter 5:8). I not only allowed the enemy to plant this thought of worthlessness in my head, I was nurturing the seed, feeding it, helping it grow.
God continued to remind me of His value for me when the majority of my students were genuinely upset that I would be leaving, most telling me that I am one of their all time favorite teachers. That warmed my heart, knowing that I made a difference to them. My colleagues also told me how good a teacher they believe me to be. Coming from fellow teachers who are far more seasoned than me meant a great deal.
I am laid off, but I am at peace. Christian, my son, needs a full-time person on call, and until we find someone we can count on, that person is Dad. I will also be using this time to complete my graduate degree in education to maintain my certification. Thankfully, we have been through this before, and I’ve become a pretty decent Mr. Mom, so while I search for a new teaching position, I will not be idle. I believe God has a definite plan for me during this season and He has never let me down. I learned a lot of lessons at that school and I am very thankful for the experience. My confidence as a teacher has soared. I made mistakes, and learned how to adjust them, better preparing me for that next teaching assignment, and I am eager for it. I love teaching.
I am a rejuvenated man on a mission. The grace of God is so good, sending His comfort with a word in season.
17 For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever!
18 So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.
II Corinthians 4:17, 18 (NKJV)