Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior. Hab. 3:17-18, NIV

It was one of the very lowest times of my career. I had been assigned to teach in a school that was completely out of control. Students did as they pleased no matter what the adults tried to do. This was not my usual assignment, so besides teaching an age group I was uncomfortable with, I also had to create entirely new lessons that would hopefully captivate and teach them.

Very little that I did was successful. Administrators gave me little help. Students were disorderly, rude, unmotivated, disrespectful, and downright mean to me. How was I to size up my work for that year? Had I failed?

From a strictly human viewpoint, people would say I had worked hard but did not succeed. But how would God evaluate my performance? Instead of seeing my fruitless efforts, He saw all my prayers for my students, even my fasting. He saw the hours of work and my genuine attempt to do well. He saw the patience I had with some of the most difficult children and the love I had shown.

If you are teaching in a school like this, reflect on your work as you think Christ would, not as man would. Have you been faithful in those things that Christ has called you to do? Has your heart attitude been right before God? Then, be encouraged. Hear Christ say, “Well done, good and faithful servant (not good and successful servant).”

Dear Lord, Please help me to keep my heart hidden with You when this world hurts me. Thank You for being my strength and help. Amen.

Copyright Shirley Wilson.

Shirley is a retired member and former board member of Christian Educators.

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Walking in the Opposite Spirit

3 Responses

  1. I was so enlightened by Shirley’s “Failure” devotional. I too had a year like that. I also prayed through it. I sought every new lesson plan to be successful. The year did end. The next was better. I am retired 10 years now. I substitute teach off and on. Those failure days still hit occasionally. But GOD. He gets us through because we are his children. More than likely we were observed as Christian educators.
    Aren’t you glad you glad you didn’t give up either?

  2. Thank you Shirly for bearing your heart and past teaching experiences as I can relate 100 %! Tlhis devotional encouraged me as a 17 year substitute teacher who often had been blessed to have a class from 1 to 2 semesters not to give up, to trust GOD’S plan and stay faithful and prayful.

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CE Summer Bible Study

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