Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Romans 12:12, NIV
When I began serving as a Christian Educators Volunteer Representative, one of the first things I wanted to do was place CE fliers into the staff mailboxes at my school. First, I made sure to ask for permission from my principal.
Initially, my principal gave me a perplexed look. So, I gave her a brief explanation of CE and the purpose of the fliers. She answered by saying, “Yes, we don’t have any policies against that.”
Much to my surprise, this was the first time I had asked her something and received an immediate “yes.” I was encouraged!
Next, I pondered whether I should give fliers to staff members of other religions and those I knew that held other worldviews. I decided, mostly based on our racial equity conversations at work, that it would be best to let people decide for themselves if they want to join as opposed to me excluding some based on my own perceptions.
So a few days later, I put a flier in every teacher’s mailbox. However, when I returned to school early the next morning, all the fliers had disappeared. I didn’t have time to inquire right then, but planned to ask what had happened at some point later that day.
After a morning full of staff meetings, I approached my principal regarding another matter. Before I could say anything else, she immediately explained what had happened to the fliers. She said that several staff members were offended and thought that they were being forced to join CE, so she decided to pull all of them and then check with the district about what to do next. She did not want controversy among the staff.
Although I understood her position, I let her know that the union and other pamphlets have always been placed in the mailboxes. I also explained my reasoning for placing a flier in every teacher’s mailbox even though I knew that some were of different religions and belief systems. I wanted her to know that my intent was for teachers to decide for themselves as opposed to me deciding for them. I went on to say that they could just throw the flier away if they were not interested.
As I walked away from the conversation, a number of thoughts were running through my head. People were offended by a flier for a professional educator’s association? Well, offended by Christ mostly, I thought. I started to feel offended as well, but then I remembered that at a recent Christian Educators Leadership Summit, I had been trained to cultivate an unoffendable heart. I struggled with how to respond to this. I had expected resistance, but I did not expect such strong resistance.
But God is so good. As a result of those fliers being pulled, I developed a boldness that I had never before experienced. This boldness of Christ welled up within me and the living water just poured out. I found myself walking up to several colleagues whom I knew to be believers and personally sharing the flier and what CE has meant to me with them. I was amazed at what God was doing.
Almost two weeks later, I inquired if the district had made a decision about placing fliers in staff mailboxes, but a decision had not been made. I still wish I knew the end of the story. However, I firmly believe that the Lord is in this and that He will accomplish His kingdom work in His time. My job is to do the work He has given me and wait to see what He will do.
When serving as ambassadors for Christ in public schools, sometimes our stories end on a positive note and sometimes our stories are to be continued. But, as this story demonstrates, the outcome is only part of the plan. Perhaps God wants us to focus more on being joyful in hope, faithful in prayer, and patient in the process at times rather than the outcome.
Have you had a similar experience? One where God called you to do something, and then someone halted the progress? What prayers, connections, and comfort did you find that helped you fulfill His mission? Or have you had a personal encounter with God that you feel called to share? If so, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.
I am excited to hear your story!