The purest gold, the hottest fire

A high percentage of teachers quit after just a few years of teaching.  For a select few, it might be the right choice.  For the majority, more perseverance could have seen something miraculous occur.

The learning curve is steep, just like on a hike, but the view from the top is worth it.  We feel our reserves dwindling away during the climb, but at the top of the mountain, our confidence, strength, and vision are refreshed.  We return conquerors.

I empathize with those tempted to quit.  Feeling absolutely spent one afternoon after a very hard day during a very hard term, my head hurt too much to focus and I was getting nothing done in the supposedly productive after-school hours.  I locked up my classroom and started my drive home.  I am blessed with a beautiful drive over the Golden Ears Bridge.  It’s worth the money as God continually surprises me with breathtaking clouds painted with gold, silver, and red on their pilgrimage up the valley.  Today it was grey, like the rest of my outlook, and on the inside I was arguing with myself, testing whether fight or flight would win out.

“Look, God”, I told God, “I need you very much right now because I feel I am at the end of my rope.  I need your perspective and I need a reason for continuing to do this.”  I felt without hope and wasn’t in the mood for positive-self-talking myself out of it.  That’s why I knew that the next phrase I heard wasn’t me.  “Aren’t you honoured that I trust you, out of everybody, with my beloved children?”  God said some other things as well, but he had me at “trust“.  The tears began to flow and a weight lifted from me.  I returned the next day with refined perspectives, having rested in God.

Many people give up on the process they are going through because it is hard.  They sacrifice long-term growth for short-term ease.  Failing to appreciate the big picture, they mistakenly focus on the temporary discomfort they are experiencing.  But the purest gold is produced in the hottest fires.  Paul the apostle knew that well.  What is happening is refinement, and we will be better for it.

“I lift up my eyes up to the mountains, where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, maker of heaven and earth.” (Psalm 121:1,2)

by Craig Ketchum ’10

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