If anyone had told me awhile back that I would be working for three days a week at a school teaching Palestinian children, and two days a week at a music school teaching Jewish/Israeli children, I would have told them that it was an unrealistic hope.
And, if anyone had ever told me that these years would be the happiest and most productive of my career I would not have believed them either. However, this is exactly what God arranged. For eight years I have worked happily and successfully in two different and very diverse schools in Israel, and I am as content as could be.
Nonetheless, God has a way of increasing our discomfort when He is getting ready to ask us (require us?) to make a change. I don't know if you have felt it, but before a transition, I begin to become restless and somewhat bored. I am not as interested as I had been and begin to find fault with what I am doing.
Last year I began to find myself less enthusiastic than I had been at the school for Palestinian kids. I wondered at the reasons. Yes, we have been through terror attacks and operations by the IDF. I have mourned with those on both sides who have lost people and rejoiced at celebrations for weddings and graduations. What was wrong?
I could, perhaps, point to the fact that I am getting older, or that I am simply tired of "the situation" as we euphemistically call the ongoing struggle with the Palestinians in Israel. I could also point to the fact that the special needs kids with whom I work are increasingly difficult, and the older I get the harder it gets.
So, when I "decided" to leave last year I was surprised when I heard the voice of God, as clearly as I ever had, say, "Who told you to leave your post?"
The only reasonable response to that is silence and to continue to work, so that is what I did. I found myself increasingly frustrated and the times of satisfaction were not as frequent or long-lived they had been. Still, I plugged on.
There were practical reasons as well as spiritual ones indicating that I should stay, and since I was in both places, I organized a book club for ninth grade students. It was very successful and I figured that this might be one of the reasons I was to stay in two places. I also have long and lovely relationships with teachers, students, and parents, and have been gratified to have been able to make even a small difference.
I pushed away my discomfort and continued.
Imagine my surprise, when the principal of the Music School offered me extra hours! It would mean, I was told, that I wouldn't be able to go to the Arab school. I had to make a choice.
It didn't take long to realize that this was, indeed, God's answer to my dilemma and after a week of praying and discussing the offer with my husband and close friends, I took it.
So, big deal, right? So, what?
We have recently celebrated Purim, and from that I see another time when God seemed to be absent but was, instead, moving circumstances around like pieces on a chessboard to accomplish His purposes.
I see another time, when one simply needed to be "willing to be made willing" to do what needed to be done; another time when timing was important, insofar as Esther did not simply rush into the king's presence. She fasted, prayed, and then invited him to two banquets!
I see another time in which one is brought to the kingdom for a specific job at a specific time, but it may not be forever; another time in which one lives among people who are not their own, and still has influence.
And I see another time in which God simply orders our steps and asks us to follow and obey.
May God continue to order our steps, and to bring us into His purposes. And may we be sensitive to His timing, and follow His lead.