Doug Creamer column: Retired again

Published 12:00 am Sunday, November 7, 2021

By Doug Creamer

I retired from teaching in public schools in 2019, prior to the arrival of the COVID pandemic. I look back and think how wise that timing ended up being in my life. Many of my former colleagues have told me how challenging teaching has become during the pandemic. I admire them for the way they have adapted to the new reality of these difficult times.

I knew I needed to work once I retired. I pursued several very strong leads that all seemed to evaporate right before they materialized. I couldn’t understand at the time why those doors seemed to be closing, but can look back now and understand how God was leading and protecting me.

I landed a job teaching English to Chinese students over the internet. The hours were crazy. I had to be online by six o’clock in the morning. Naps became a regular part of my daily life. I absolutely loved teaching my kids in China. It was a fun job.

In late summer, an announcement came that the Chinese government had decided that all the tutoring was putting a heavy burden on parents. They decided to close down the whole industry, both the private lessons there in China and the public companies like I worked for. The rumor mill went crazy on Facebook about when the end would arrive.

The end has finally arrived and I am “retired” again. Saying good-bye to those precious little children has been an emotional challenge. They didn’t understand, as most children wouldn’t, why their government had made this decision. Most of my children have avoided tearful good-byes. One of my little favorites decided he wanted to laugh with me until the very last second. It was the only thing that kept me from crying.

Another door has closed. Another chapter has ended. If we think about it in terms of writing, I now have a blank page with the cursor blinking, waiting for the new chapter to begin. This moment brings about two very different emotions. There is the anxiety as I watch the cursor blink, blink, blink. What will come next? Did I miss an opportunity?

The other emotion is one of excitement and wonder about the new adventure that awaits me. What has God got up his sleeve now? What has he been planning for me? The opportunities and possibilities seem endless. As I fill out applications and send off resumés, I wonder: could this be my next adventure? Is there something else around the corner waiting for me to discover?

It depends on the moment which emotion is gripping me. I try my best to keep my mind focused on the positive and believing good things about my future. When I find myself struggling with bad thoughts, I remind myself what God promised in Jeremiah 29:11, that he has made good plans for my future. That gives me hope and strength to carry on.

Today I find myself writing this to myself as much as I am writing it for you. God is watching over our lives, every moment of every day. Nothing has escaped his attention. He knows that we have our physical needs that must be met. He knows that I need a new job.

He knows everything. He knows if we are sick. He knows if we are having relationship problems. He knows if we are dealing with the loss of a loved one. He knows if our boss is working against us. He knows if we have been treated unfairly. He knows!

We have to remind ourselves that God is our provider. We have to believe that God is our healer and deliverer. We have to trust that God will take care of injustice. He is the God who sees all and will defend the weak, rescue the downtrodden, and free the captive. He is our safe haven from the storms of life. There is nothing too difficult for Him. He is the God of the impossible. He loves when we feel surrounded, so he can show himself strong in our defense.

I want to encourage you (and me) to remember that God is our provider, our strong tower, our ever present help in time of need. There is nothing beyond his ability to repair, restore or make totally new. He is the God of the impossible. He is on our side. He will see us through whatever challenge we face. His eye is keenly upon us. He loves us and he will carry us. He is always and will always be there for us.

Contact Doug Creamer at PO Box 777, Faith, NC 28041 or doug@dougcreamer.com.

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