Then something remarkable happened. Our choir was rehearsing for our performance of "Prayer of Thanksgiving" (also known as "We Gather Together") and our choir director made some comments about being grateful for the blessings we have even when things aren't going as planned. I realised that I needed to focus on the good.
I have learned so much from my class and I hope that they have learned much from me. It has been a remarkable journey. I got the chance to teach one final lesson and transition them over to their new teachers. It happens to be my all-time favourite story from the entire Old Testament, one that has provided a personal mantra for me. It was the story of Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah (better known as Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego). It is important to realise that they were princes set in charge of governing the capital province of the Babylonian empire and that Nebuchadnezzar was the most powerful man in the known world. When he gives them the opportunity to avoid his wrath by breaking their covenants, this is their response:
"Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter.
If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king.
But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up."
This story, coupled with the stories of Esther and of Job, provide a fantastic lesson for all of us: integrity is doing the right thing because it is right. I believe God is capable of all things and that He will preserve me according to His will, but if not, I will still believe and I will still live according to the promises I have made.
I'm going to miss my class, but I know I'll still see them at church and in our neighbourhood. And I know that my new class is going to provide new challenges and new opportunities to learn and grow as a teacher and as a disciple of Christ.