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Creamer column – Walking through the tough times

Recently I went to Greensboro for the annual Career and Technical Education summer conference.
I always look forward to going to this conference because I get some new ideas to bring back to my classroom. There are several other things I enjoy about going to this conference. First, I get to see teachers from across the state and we get to catch up with each other. Second, it’s good to be updated on trends in my field. But probably the most important thing I get from the conference is the encouragement to go back to my classroom energized, so I can have a positive impact on my students.One presenter began by talking about all kinds of gloom and doom in the news. To be perfectly honest, all of us are feeling the pinch in our wallets because of the economy and gas prices. So there was some truth to what he was sharing. I wanted to leave his presentation because I didn’t need to be reminded about what difficult times we are living in.
Once he made his point about the bad news, he told us we were living in the greatest country in the world and that these bad times were the birthplace of opportunity. He explained that it takes bad and difficult times to bring about innovations. Nothing drives us to develop new technologies more than difficult or seemingly impossible problems. Talk to someone who is older about the changes they have experienced. Then try to imagine what our future holds.
The difficulties we face today are but opportunities for entrepreneurs to come along with solutions. Their ideas may seem crazy, but it takes innovative thinking to change the way we do things in life. It takes that kind of thinking to change the world.
It also takes that kind of thinking to live by faith with God. People who live by faith are going to discover that God is in the business of challenging them to go and change, to give to the world something that is uniquely from them.
I was reading about Joseph from the Old Testament this morning. Consider the direction of his life. His brothers sold him into slavery. A woman wrongly accuses him of sexual misconduct. He lives in a dungeon for several years. Then he is put in charge of a nation, or maybe the known world at that time, to save them from a famine. When Joseph reveals himself to his brothers, he says, “What you intended for harm, God intended for good.” Through the adverse circumstances, Joseph persevered to discover his life’s purpose and fulfilled it.
I believe that some of you are going through some very difficult times and you need a life preserver. So allow me to throw you a line. The truth is, life can be difficult at times, even overwhelming. God doesn’t forget or leave us when we are going through difficult times. In fact, I propose to you that God is closer to you during those times than you have the power to believe. Remember that Joseph had the power to interpret the dreams for the baker and the cup-bearer while he was in the prison. That is what ultimately freed Joseph and put him in the place to save Egypt and his family.
It is during the difficult times of life that God will change you, re-invent you, and release in you his power and gifts. God wants to use us as instruments of change in his hands, but the only way he can bring that about is when we submit ourselves to him through the difficult times.
I want to encourage you if you are currently going through difficult times. Submit to God and learn from him because he is bringing about a change in your life for the good of yourself and others around you. Good change is birthed in difficulty. I also want you to know that God is very close to you. He has not forgotten or left you. He will walk with you through the difficult times. So hang in there, don’t lose the faith, trust God, and know that God can and will bring good out of your difficult time.
Doug Creamer teaches marketing at East Davidson High School. His Web site is www.dougcreamer.com

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