True Reality, Beyond Circumstantial Evidence

On this road we call life, we are often faced with the same choice: to follow the vision God has given each of us, or to follow what we think is best for us. I was faced with such a dilemma last year, and I made the wrong choice; I chose to follow my own heart's desire, and it resulted in bitter disappointment. Here's how it happened:

Towards the beginning of the last school year, a fellow teacher announced to me that one of our former colleagues was expecting a baby. As my friend spoke, a strange thing happened to me: I saw myself sitting at an executive desk! It took a few seconds for me to realize what was going on. Just the year before, this former teacher had become a consultant with the local school board, and I realized I was seeing myself in her position! I shook my head in disbelief. I had never had any interest in such a high position. "It must be your overactive imagination," I convinced myself.

Four months later, while attending a workshop at the board office, I decided to drop by and see my former colleague. My intentions were just to say "hi" and to congratulate her on the upcoming baby, but when I stepped into her office, my heart went cold: It was exactly the same office I had seen myself sitting in! And I was even more taken aback when she suggested that I apply to fill her maternity leave!

On my own, I would have never even considered applying for such a position, but right at that moment I knew God wanted me to be there, and I put in my application.

But . . . (Isn't there always a "but"?)

There was also something I wanted: I wanted to transfer from teaching in the elementary sector to teaching in a high school! And I knew that for the first time in years, there were actually openings available at the high school level that elementary teachers could apply for!

I shouldn't have been surprised when I was told I had received the interim consultant position. God had shown me that this was what He wanted for me. However, my own heart was screaming: "If you take this position, you'll have to pass up perhaps the ONLY opportunity you will ever have to transfer to high school!" I didn't want to disobey God, so I decided on a compromise. I accepted the position as acting consultant, but only under the condition that if I were to receive a high school position, I would be released from the consultant obligation. Then I proceeded to apply for two high school positions, and following the interviews, I was certain of receiving at least one job offer.

You can imagine my distress when both of these high schools turned me down. Bitterly disappointed, I resigned myself to filling my former colleague's maternity leave. "Lord, why have you abandoned me?" Was my desperate question, and I allowed myself to become depressed. In fact, I actually began to dread the upcoming school year!

Now, a year later after this event, I can confidently say that in my entire teaching career, I've never been happier. The year has been filled with challenges, but the rewards have been enormous. I feel very blessed to have been able to make a difference at my workplace to the extent that God has allowed me to do through this position.

You would think that I would have learned my lesson, wouldn't you? Wrong!

As my acting consultant position began to come to an end, I realized that I no longer wished to teach at the high school level. Instead, my stubborn, egotistical nature began to desire a transfer out of the French schools and into the English ones. Once again, even before postings were out, God whispered in my ear the name of the school He wanted me to teach at. The only problem was, transferring to this school would mean staying in a French classroom! That's NOT what I had in mind! I could stay at my former school if I wanted to teach in a French classroom! I attributed it all to my overactive imagination, especially when the first two rounds of postings didn't include any positions for this particular school!

I choose all the postings in English schools that looked interesting, and put out numerous applications. Some of these schools showed definite interest in me, but never was I the "chosen" one. Again, bitter disappointment threatened to overtake me. Again I began battling feelings of rejection and depression.

It wasn't until the third round of postings that the name of the school God had whispered in my ear came up. I applied, but only with great reluctance. No one will be surprised to learn that I did, indeed, receive this position . . .

What if I had depended upon God, and not upon my own understanding? I could have avoided a lot of grief and discouragement! I did learn something from my experiences of the previous year, however: I learned that if this was where God wanted me to be, He would give me a wonderful, fulfilling school year. As a result, I'm excited about the prospect of teaching at this particular school, even though it means I stay in a French classroom!

Circumstances seem so real when you are in the middle of them. However they are nothing but a delusion compared to the true reality coming from God!

Jesus said: "Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away." (Mark 13:31 NIV) In other words, circumstances will pas away, but God's true reality will never pass away. Whatever He says will happen!

Why do I make myself miserable pursing fathom dreams that probably will never make me happy anyway? Why am I downtrodden when circumstances don't go my way? Am I not a child of God who depends solely on my Maker? Why am I always trying to sneak around so that my own selfish ambitions are fulfilled?

I felt great strength reading Genesis 1:1 this morning: "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth." (Gen 1:1 NIV) In the original Hebrew language the verb "bara" is used for our English word "created". However the original Hebraic word has a deeper meaning than our English one. It means "to create out of nothing".

God can create situations in our lives out of nothing; situations that will be opportunities to bless others and to be blessed. In contrast, we can create for ourselves situations we think are ideal for us, but these often leave us unfulfilled, and discouragement and depression will often be the result of such pursuits. I have met and heard of rich and famous men who pursue their own goals to find happiness, but end up disappointed. They may find themselves in luxurious homes, but where are the ones they loved? Was it worth the cost?

I have learned that depending on the One who created our universe out of nothing will never lead us to disappointment. He is the One who truly loves us and will never abandon us. He has us constantly on mind, and He truly cares for us. Why not depend on the One who created us? He knows what is best for us! Remember: "Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you! See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands." (Isa 49:15-16 NIV)

Circumstances are short-lived. Depending on them will only disappoint us. Only God has our happiness at heart. Come and join me in depending on the One who has our names "engraved on the palms" of his hands.

"Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends." (John 15:13 NIV)

"I lay down my life for the sheep." (John 10:15 NIV)

P. S. Five months now in that position, I can say that I am truly where I belong. I couldn't dream of a better place to work!

Rob Chaffart

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