Last weekend I spoke to middle and high schoolers about the book of Esther. It's an absolutely incredible story. It delivers the message of God's providence in everything. At one point Mordecai, who is asking that Esther make a risky request to the king on behalf of the Jews, he asks the question, "Who knows but that you have been put in this place for such a time as this?" Ironically enough, (I think not), God certainly knew that would be the message I would need imprinted on my heart this week. I had a difficult and exhausting week at work, with certain events not going at all the way I was hoping or praying for. As it turns out, I will not get to teach at the same school next year, which, after only one year, is quite a bit of a bummer. I am now all of a sudden finding myself in a place where I have no other choice but to, as one friend put it, "walk by faith." Yet I reflect on all that God has done in and through me this past year and I am reminded that God's timing certainly is perfect, and maybe He specifically had me there for "such a time as this."
Although I have struggled with some feelings of defeat, after a lifetime of seeking to trust God with my whole heart, I am choosing to look at this situation as simply another opportunity for him to teach me, comfort me, draw me close, and refine me. If that is truly the desire of my heart, I know the path I walk often won't make sense, and will sometimes bring challenging experiences, but the promise of the light that is to come will be worth it all and can be trusted. And in the bigger picture, it is quite a small circumstance. We all have days that we'd rather not, and things that go a way we wouldn't expect. Thankfully we know there is a much greater joy that's coming! Who knows how God will redeem what has been such a sad situation for me in the last few days. It has already been absolutely amazing how He has loved me and encouraged me in so many ways and through so many people, and how I have been able to point it all to my God who is ultimately in control and is the One who is for me. In the public school where I teach, I have literally been able to share over and over how in this crazy circumstance I can count it all joy.
Yesterday as I was driving to work, I heard the song, "Before the Morning" on the radio and as I fought back tears, I felt God loving me through it. Listen to it....believe it, and if you've also experienced any sort of dark or discouraging place lately, be comforted. Check out this verse:
"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles SO THAT we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God." 1 Corinthians 1:3-4
"Thank you dear God for comforting and encouraging me in so many ways over the last two days. Through all the ways that you are teaching me and loving me right now, please use that to allow me to comfort others in the future. It's no coincidence that last week I was speaking to teenagers at church about the power of your providence in the book of Esther, and now I feel like I am having to 'practice what I preached.' For all of it I thank you and I love you. Thank you for loving me."
"Before the Morning" by Josh Wilson