I've been doing some study on prayer lately, as I've been struggling a bit with a spiritual issue. My struggle is nothing faith-shaking, but it is perplexing to me. Through my studies, I'm making a concerted effort to be more prayerful throughout the day. I can't say that every time I've cleaned the house since my first prayerful cleaning has been done without the iPod, but most have.
A couple of weeks ago, one of my prayers while cleaning involved our finances. I wasn't terribly specific; I just asked God to help us use our money wisely and make good decisions. Just after praying that, the phone rang. It was the school district's substitute caller with a job offer. For middle school science. I stood there confused about what to do, as the sub caller kept repeating the job offer to me. You see, I don't do science. Or math. I was an English teacher; it's what I know and do well. The one time I subbed for 6th grade math, the students didn't understand their assignment and neither did I. It was horribly stressful, and I'd vowed at that point never again to take a job in a subject I'm uncomfortable with.
Could this call have been mere coincidence? Perhaps. I'm not one of those Christians who believes there's no such thing as coincidence. If I show up on a Sunday morning ready to sing with the praise team, and all the other singers are wearing the same colors I am, that's coincidence. I don't think God was playing clothing coordinator that morning. The color of our outfits doesn't matter.
But to have a job offer come in just as I've prayed over our finances? I figured I shouldn't take a chance on it being a fluke. The two other times I prayed seriously over our finances, we had pretty dramatic results. The first resulted in the cat going to the vet's and the radiator going out in the car--all within 24 hours of praying. I groused about that one, but Steven pointed out that we had the money to pay for it, so what's the problem? The second involved whether or not we could make the financial commitment to support a Christian family in a persecuted country through Voice of the Martyrs. Within a few of days of asking for clear direction on that, seeing as the economy had just tanked and people had been laid off at my husband's company, Steven received a raise. A significant raise. We took on a family in Vietnam.
So, I decided to say yes to the sub job. At least it meant money coming in and not flying out, right? I can't tell you how many times I considered cancelling that job, but I didn't. I subbed in 7th grade science yesterday, and it was chaotic and noisy and involved lab stations, a bird, and a rabbit that escaped during lunch. I couldn't answer all of their questions, but it was okay. Just being in the old, familiar teacher mode was enough, and we all got through it just fine.
Sometimes I think God is all about stretching our boundaries of comfort and just seeing if we're willing to be obedient.