April 2010 - Vol. 39

.An Unexpected Promised Land

By Ruth Gryniewicz

Two years ago I strongly felt that the Lord was leading me on a journey through the wilderness. (I wrote an article about this experience in the April 2008 Issue of Living Bulwark.) He had asked obedience of me, obedience that went against my inclination, puzzled my intellect, and required the renunciation of my will. And I chose to surrender and obey, because she who seeks the Lord's will and then rejects it is foolish indeed. This is where I left you, embarked upon a Masters in Education program, finding unforeseen grace to obey, but still praying daily that something, anything, would intervene and rescue me from what I considered a fate worse than death Ė teaching.

However, no knight on a white horse obligingly appeared, no alternative job was dropped into my lap, and no Mac truck released me from my misery and sent me to the Lord. Instead I interviewed and received a job at the local Catholic high school, and from my view, my doom was sealed. The dreaded day finally arrived, and holding as onto armor the faith that God has good plans for me, I entered the classroom. At this moment my world turned right side up and I unexpectedly entered what I can only describe as a Promised Land. 

For a year and I half I had been blindly obeying the Lord's command because he was God and if I did not obey him I knew that my life had no purpose. Therefore I was willing to walk into what I was fairly certain was going to be personally devastating, because I knew that, like Job in the Bible, I had no other choice than to trust, even if the Lord slay me. What I was completely unready for was a paradise when I had been preparing for hell. I had not taken into account that the Lord might know me better than I know myself and could be leading me into something that was both personally fulfilling as well as fruitful for the kingdom.

Now 20 months into my teaching career I have realized that it is an important part of Godís purpose for me. Never before have I been so content or experienced my talents and abilities being so completely drawn upon to serve others and do God's work. Every day is a joy, like a land flowing with milk and honey. At times I sit back and ponder the greatness of God's plan and the fact that I would never have entered this wonderful land had I not been  led to it like an unhappy but obedient mule. 

This journey to the Promised Land has taught me much about the wisdom and the mystery of God. I was brought to a clearer understanding that I serve a God who does ask obedience of his servants, but who regards his servants as sons and daughters, and cares for them as such. While I was expecting the reward of a slave, he was preparing blessings for me as his daughter. Nothing is too much for him to ask, but nothing is too much for him to give as well. I serve a loving Father, a mysterious Lord who works all things for the good of those who love him, and whose ways are far beyond mine. Never once in those many months of obedience did he tell me that in teaching I would find fulfillment. He never hinted that it would be anything other than what I had feared. He only called me on to trust and obedience. I can speculate about the reason for this silence, but in the end all I know is that this obedience and trust have been rewarded far beyond what I expected or deserve. There was weeping as I planted the seeds of obedience, but I am full of joy as I experience the rich harvest in this Promised Land.
Ruth Gryniewicz graduated with a Masters in Education from the University of Michigan. She teaches theology and philosophy at Father Gabriel Richard High school in Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA.  She is a member of the Word of Life Community and serves as a senior staff member for University Christian Outreach (UCO) - Ann Arbor.

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