[The fathers of Israel] spoke against God, saying, “Can God spread a table in the desert?” Psalm 78:19, NIV

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.  Psalm 23:5, NIV

Changes in personnel within my school district music made it necessary for the board of education to assign me to a part-time role at the middle school. I loved teaching music at my elementary school—but teaching at the middle school was another matter. Through the years, I had taught there in various capacities and found that the overall lack of discipline made it a very difficult place for me to work.

That year at the middle school still stands out as one of the most challenging in my teaching career. The curriculum was new, the texts were old, some classes were way too large, and I was floundering. Even though I spent hours preparing lessons, set up carefully devised behavior structures for my classes, and stayed as positive as I possibly could, the year was torturous from beginning to end. The kids mocked my reward system, talked back to me, loudly disrupted my lessons, and generally made me feel that I had been a complete failure.

Yet, alongside these days of horrible classes, I also had a chorus of singers who were the best I ever directed. These kids were motivated, talented, and well-equipped to perform the music I gave them. At a time when my classes were unmanageable, chorus rehearsals and performances were stellar. Standing ovations at our concerts were the norm that year. This group made me happy and proud to be their teacher. They were my “table in the desert.”

If you are in the midst of a painful, difficult, unsuccessful situation, consider what God can and will do for you. He can give you a special friend to whom you can go, a group of supportive parents, an administrator who goes the extra mile in defending you, or a prayer group that holds you before the Father while you are struggling.

Remember that God has not forgotten where He has placed you. He will use this place for your good and His glory. He will not forget what you need, and He will sustain you with surprises that you would never have considered. Trust Him, and watch what He will do in your life. To Him alone be the glory for what is done!

Oh, Lord! We rejoice that Your eye is upon us and You have not forgotten us! We are grateful to be Your people. 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

5 Responses

  1. I am a music teacher and have spent my second year this year in a place that is just exactly as you described. this devotional was written exactly for me!
    And, after pouring my whole self into that school, creating new GM curriculum, an all star chorus, offering multiple interesting HS music electives like rock n roll history, songwriting and songs for social justice, co directing a drama club that performed musicals like they never seen , and sacrificing so much ….the district decided to NOT renew my contract! I need to finish the year, I need to put on one more stellar concert…but my heart is broken.
    I’m walking through the valley right now hoping to
    see the table mentioned in the Psalm.
    thank you for your words of encouragement.

    1. Maria, I pray that you will feel God’s presence as you walk through this valley and as He heals your broken heart. He has a plan and a purpose for you!

  2. Thank you so much for this timely devotion! Exactly what I needed today, as I have had a very eventful school year, and needed some encouragement! And also remind me to be intentional about being a witness for Christ, even during difficult circumstances! Blessings!

    1. Jennifer, I pray for God’s encouragement and strength for you as you finish this school year strong! God bless you!

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