here we go again

[legacy post from blogspot]

“‘Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised.’ In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing” (Job 1:21-22).

Man, if those words could really be the deepest truth of my life today. If only my first and only response could have been to turn directly to God in an attitude of trust and dependence. But I am a fallen man in a fallen world. I did, in fact, find myself railing and wondering why in the world this cosmic joke was being played on me.

For the second time in 2 1/2 months, my hopes for a job I thought I would truly enjoy and thrive in were dashed against the rocks of reality. In a moment, things changed. Again. In May it was the death of the dream of being a summer lifeguard. Child’s play compared to today’s blow. Today, I had a conversation with an Olathe district official in which I discovered that the job I thought I had in the bag had been offered instead to a candidate who already had full gifted certification. Because I had not kept my standard certificate current, and thus did not qualify for the waiver process until it was renewed, I would have had to start the school year on long-term sub status anyway, with full-time pay, benefits, and a contract on hold until my certificate cleared. Given the option, they had to go with the sure thing.

So, life for us will essentially go back to what it was before. Except that now, my only option for the time being is subbing. I wouldn’t do any good at this point to pursue teaching applications until the certificate thing is cleared. That will take a lot of work and a fair amount of expense to make it happen.

Surprisingly, I’m not as depressed as I thought I would be. Taking stock of my life, I must remember how blessed I am. I have an amazing woman and best friend in my wife, with whom I can share the journey, even as the ground got just as rocky as it was before. I am part of a great church community, and am using my gifts to live out a redemptive influence among students and families in an affluent yet spiritually needy culture. If not for the great week I just had at camp, I could find myself wishing the past three weeks could simply be erased.

But that would shortchange me of living the full, abundant life Jesus has offered. I can’t just avoid the unpleasant. C.S. Lewis, whose pain in losing his beloved wife was far greater than mine in temporary setbacks in employment, wisely said “The boy chose safety, the man chooses suffering. The pain now is part of the happiness then. That’s the deal.” Or as Shakespeare’s friar counsels the sullen Romeo, “A pack of blessings light upon thy back; Happiness courts thee in her best array; But, like a misbehaved and sullen wench, Thou pout’st upon thy fortune and thy love. Take heed, take heed, for such die miserable.” Even Christ in the Garden (upon which we dwelt last week at camp) wished he could change the course of the Father’s plan. But He surrendered to the Father’s will.

I wish I could turn back the hands of time and forge a different path, one that would have taken care of what seemed at the time to be trivial details but turned out to make all the difference. I wish the forces that determine my employment “destiny” would have steered a different course. But I’m compelled to say with my Savior, “Not my will, but Yours be done.”

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About andrew burden

andrew blogs about being a volunteer youth leader, teacher, video editor, husband, friend, child of God
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