Opportunity is something that “only knocks once”…or so we’ve been told throughout life. However, I don’t look at opportunity as some stroke of luck that falls out of the sky upon me with its offer for success. Perhaps my thinking is due to my study of the Bible over the years, but I believe in God’s plan for my life rather than coincidence or happenstance.
The Bible teaches that if we love God and are seeking His guidance, He will “crown our every effort with success.” It also teaches that God had a plan for my life before I was even born (Psalm 139). Why do I believe these truths so strongly? Let me share some examples with you.
I was placed in the first Gifted program in St. Louis, Missouri, when I was in the fifth grade. My parents had only 7th and 8th grade educations. So, no thought of college ever entered our thinking. Yet, I was prepared for college, and when my parents had no money or credit to help me go, a great uncle loaned me the money without my asking. He had never helped anyone before…in fact he was quite stingy.
I felt called to work with young people, but had no idea in what way. During junior college, I found many new exciting experiences through the Baptist Student Union. I was then voted most versatile. I felt my only talent was my music and art, and both seemed mediocre to me. Again, God surprised me when I fell in love with my husband to be, only to learn he served as a youth and music minister. Thus, we began a 25 year career as a team working with youth.
I received my first teaching job without ever having a course in education. God provided the way. He also provided me with a principal-ship and superintendency without the required previous training. Our private school has also come about without the usual methods of establishment.
I could add at least ten more unbelievable events in my life that would provide further evidence of God’s plan. I laugh to myself because many fellow educators have been astounded at how my life path has played out. As for me, I relax in the knowledge that God is in control and that “nothing is impossible with God.”
One other aspect of opportunity comes to my mind. I once led my school district to change the grading scale to 85% = an A. During those years, I saw students who had never experienced a grade of “A” fight hard to maintain that “A” they received for the very first time in their lives. After a reporting period or so, they would come to me and say,”Mrs. Johnson, I am now going to try for a ‘real A’ on my next report card. And many of those students actually did raise their grade points successfully.
In the above case, I think I was able to give an opportunity to some who had never had it before…being an “A” student. They liked the “feel” of it, and set new standards for themselves. Maybe it just took someone to believe in them to make it happen. In a way, that’s what God did for me…He believed in me and orchestrated the events and turns in my life so that I could reach my full potential in working with youth.