Tomorrow is my last day as a professor! I resigned last December, but, against what I felt God was speaking into my spirit, I went back in August because I got tired and frustrated waiting for God to show me what was next in my life. I felt for sure that God was calling me to continue in my calling of inspiring, encouraging, exhorting, and loving people, but I just could not figure out what He wanted me to do. So, I returned to teaching, thinking maybe I heard him wrong about retiring.
But when God calls us out of situations, he tends to make us restless and dissatisfied with what we are doing, so he can move us to something better, for his glory. I told my husband the first day of teaching this semester, “It’s going to be a long semester! Only 15 more weeks to go! But, who’s counting?” And now, it is almost over, except for one last final exam and posting grades.
On Saturday, I will march in my last commencement, and I am a little sad, mainly because, as a professor of Sociology, I worked hard to touch the lives of my students and everyone they will ever meet in their lives, through the parables and stories I told them. I hoped that they would learn to “see” and accept the humanity of all people, but, most of all, when they asked me how I became strong, I let them know that God, through Jesus Christ, was/is the source of my strength. But I feel that God is calling me out of teaching about earthly issues; yet, I wonder, somewhat fearfully, “What’s next, O Lord?” You see, I have considered my teaching as my calling, what God created me to do, and if I am not to teach, then is my work for God over?
Then I started thinking about the disciples after they had witnessed the arrest, beating, and crucifixion of Jesus, and of how they must have wondered the very same question, looking at each other and fearfully wondering what was to become of them, now that He was supposedly gone. Was their work for God over? But, John 20:10-22 states, “That Sunday evening the disciples were meeting behind locked doors because they were afraid of the Jewish leaders. Suddenly, Jesus was standing there among them! “Peace be with you,” he said. As he spoke, he showed them the wounds in his hands and his side. They were filled with joy when they saw the Lord! Again he said, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I am sending you.” Then he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.”
Just when they thought that their work for God was over, Jesus appears and lets them know that they still have much work to do, and that God will equip them with the Holy Spirit to continue their calling. If you read Peter’s sermon in Acts 2:14-36, you will hear in your spirit what I believe to be the very best sermon ever preached by anyone other than Jesus. Peter preached boldly and with conviction, and the Christian community was born, the one that believers still represent today. The disciples did their greatest work after they thought their spiritual lives were over!
So, although I do not know what is next, I am excited to know that God knows and that He will reveal it to me, as well as equip me to perform for his glory! A few nights ago, I dreamed that I was pregnant, and at my age, I am very sure that it was not meant to be taken literally (That would be a miracle!). Each time that I have had that dream, God has moved me into another new situation, even better than the last one. So, I know that God is saying to me that he is preparing something new for me to do that will bring him glory, and I cannot wait to see what he has in store for me.
In the meantime, I feel the constant urge to read my Bible more faithfully, making notes in journals, and reading more thoughtfully. I have a tendency to read my Bible, but not stop and think about what I have read. I am called now to really see each word and think about each story and person in new ways that some mornings take my breath away and bring me such joy in the Lord! I am left in awe of my Father, Creator, Savior, and Comforter.
So, what is next? I have no clue, but I am not afraid! I know that if the past is any indication, it will be great, and that He will be glorified through it, whether it is this website that I now have time to nurture or preaching or teaching God’s word. And, I am loving the preparation and just how much I am coming to know the One Who Sees and Hears. Jeremiah 29:11-13 states, “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me.”
Let your will be done, O Lord, not mine. Amen.