By Donna Smith
I looked around. Surely there was someone to blame for my misery. I had tried to shake off the gloomy cloud of despair, the heavy robe of uncertainty. But my rose-colored glasses were smudged and dirty. My attitude wasn’t much better.
It was the summer of 2008. Budget cuts were supposed to affect other people, not me. I had a job that I loved and knew that I was blessed to have the opportunity to do it every day.
But I had been told that my lead teacher position was being eliminated. Cut. Gone. The baby was out with the bath water.
The day I found out, I had called my brother. He was the superintendent of another school system and I had expected him to have more information than I did. But instead of telling me the reasons for the economic turmoil in education, he encouraged me. “Yes, times are hard and circumstances are dealing some hard blows to a lot of good, qualified people. But you’re going to be okay,” he had said. “Sounds like the Lord has a new plan for you. You’re going to land on your feet. You always do.”
I knew what he was saying was true. After all, I was the queen of encouragement, the cheerleader when other people were down. I tried to give myself a pep talk. Yes, I’ll land on my feet, I had thought. Yes, I know the Lord has a plan for me. How many times had I quoted Jeremiah 29:11 to other people who were going through hard times? “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
I had tried to hold on to his words of encouragement. But when I thought about what he had said about me always landing on my feet, I couldn’t help but picture a swampy mucky pit with goop up to my knees. I didn’t think that was what he had in mind. If I had only known where I was going to land. Maybe that would have changed the picture in my mind.
When I had talked to my husband about it, he sounded like an echo of my brother. I believed my husband. I believed my brother. But like the account in the book of Mark of the father with the son with the evil spirit, I also said to Jesus, “I do believe; but help me overcome my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24) I think Jesus understood.
I believed Jeremiah 29:11 and every other promise that the Lord had made to me. I believed that His plan would be perfect for me, even when His will was different from mine. So why had it been so hard to trust that the Lord had my job situation under control?
Today, six years later, I am the literacy specialist at an alternative high school. It is a high school for students who need a little extra attention, a supportive shoulder to lean on, and perhaps a little more direction than other students may need. It is a school for students who need a second chance.
I love my job. I love my school and the people that I work with every day. They are supportive and encouraging and I can’t imagine having a better situation in which to work.
How amazing! The Lord gave me a second chance to teach and learn and grow when I couldn’t see a glimmer of hope ahead. Isn’t that the way He works?
The God of second chances was in control all the time. No matter how confusing the circumstances and no matter how unsure I am of my life’s path, God always has a plan
The most important thing I could do way back then was to just believe. And it is still the most important thing you and I can do today. After all, He always has been and always will be the God of second chances. The God who has everything in our lives under control.