Did I hear the headmaster’s words correctly? Was I really being laid off? My head was swimming with confusion. For the past seven years I had poured my heart and soul into teaching the Bible to these high school students. It had become my life’s passion. Yet now, because of the economy, my contract was not being renewed. In a way, I did understand. No high school Bible teacher had ever stayed more than two years, so my salary was far more than MJCA was used to paying. The other high school Bible teacher was fairly new, his wife was an excellent teacher in the elementary department, and he was paying for two children to attend. Economically speaking, not renewing my contract was the better of the choices. Yet when the headmaster began to hint at the possibility of me causing trouble because of my release, I was more than insulted. I put my hand up in a “stop right there” motion. “Don’t even go there,” I said. “I love this school and I love these students. I’ve taught them that God is in control of everything, not man. It would negate my entire testimony and everything I’ve taught them if I were to throw a fit.” Still, discouragement set in. I felt like my heart had been ripped from my chest.
When I arrived at school the next day, the word was out. Students kept approaching me, hugging me, crying, or trying very hard not to cry. One student protested, “But Mrs. Fo, you are Bible! How can they let you go?” With tearful eyes, I smiled. “Don’t worry about me. God is in charge of my life; not MJCA.” I began each class that day with a reminder of my favorite Bible character, Joseph. I recapped with them one of the greatest lessons learned from Joseph’s life. Like Christ, Joseph—the most perfect type of Christ in the Old Testament—was wrongfully treated by so many different people, including people who should have loved him, supported and encouraged him, yet rather than allowing discouragement to take hold, Joseph kept a good attitude and trusted his Heavenly Father. His secret: he understood that, no matter what happened, God was in control.
A few months after being laid off I learned one of the reasons why my contract was not renewed. I was hired by the Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI) to assist in writing their new fourth and fifth grade Bible curriculum—an opportunity that would have been impossible had I still been working at MJCA.
After many years of ministry and life in general, the one most important factor that kept me going in the most difficult of situations was the knowledge that God was still on His throne. He was and is in control. Therefore, if you want to keep discouragement from triumphing, rest in the fact that God is—and will forever be—GOD.