Wednesday, December 18, 2013

God's Plans May Surprise You

When we assume we know how God may meet a need, we are often wrong.  This year has been a prime example.  I was told in March that my hours were going to be dramatically cut at the community college where I have taught developmental mathematics for nearly eighteen years.  I would be getting less than half of my normal hours.

While others panicked, I wasn't initially worried at all.  I just "knew" God must have plans for me to teach full-time in a public or private school setting.  After all, I had just renewed my teaching license last year.  It had been expired for over a decade, and I had finally figured out that I should have it renewed just in case I needed it someday.  That someday was coming sooner than I thought, and I was practically congratulating myself on renewing my license just in time.  I was just sure that God had laid it on my heart to renew my license for such a time as this.

Over the spring and summer months, I spent countless hours jumping through the hoops of applying for dozens of teaching jobs.  I took personality tests, submitted a variety of documents, filled in hundreds of blanks.  I just "knew" I would be an ideal candidate, since I would be a cheap hire with lots of experience.  With only one year of public school teaching experience, I could give them my over twenty years of teaching background for the salary of a second year teacher.  What a bargain!  But God had other plans.

At the beginning of the summer school session, I "knew" God was going to give me a summer class, even though my original class had been cancelled due to low enrollment.  After all, I had taught 52 consecutive semesters at the college, and my daughter was planning to be married in July and funds were needed.  But God had other plans.

When we moved in 1999 and bought another house, God orchestrated the sale of our other house just in time to avoid double house payments.  I "knew" God would do the same when we moved about two years later.  But God had other plans.

In fact, I questioned God about that when we began having to make double house payments.  I prayed, "God, why isn't our house selling?"  He replied, "I'm building your character."  That was not the answer that I wanted to hear, especially since I had made the point of specifically not asking God for patience.  Thankfully, it only lasted a couple of months, and we never missed a payment.

Many times when God has other plans, I see his hand in the situation so clearly AFTER his plan is finally revealed.  Although I didn't get a full-time teaching job in the fall, I did obey God in the writing of my book, The Thankful Principle:  A Journey into Thankful Living.  Six days after I finished writing my book, I received an unexpected e-mail from someone who spotted my resume on a recruiting site and asked if I would like to apply to be the center director for a new math learning center.  The job seemed tailor-made for me, and within a few weeks, I was hired.  Many of my past work experiences have developed skills that will be needed and useful in this new challenge and opportunity. 

And even though I did not end up with a summer class, God knew that I needed a summer off from teaching after 18 years.  Not only that, but he provided a consulting project that covered the costs of what my husband and I spent on our daughter's wedding.

God is continually building my character, and I am working on being more thankful and accepting of letting his plan unfold, instead of rushing toward what I assume is God's plan.  His plans always have our best interests at heart.

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,”declares the Lord.“  As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts."  (Isaiah 55:8-9, NIV)

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