How many prayers have you prayed that haven’t been answered yet? How many requests have you laid before the throne and then moved on, forgetting you had deposited them at your Savior’s feet? How often has God moved in a way you never expected? Have you ever been totally surprised by something God did and you just had to sit in amazement and grin? I can answer all of those questions with one personal experience story.
As a teacher for 24 years, I encountered all kinds of students. Walking through my classroom door sauntered students who were lonely, popular, excitable, angry, perfectionistic, lazy, happy, ornery, and a plethora of other types. It didn’t matter to me because I loved them all even if some were more challenging than others.
One particular year I had a student who was struggling in numerous ways and usually handled situations with angry outbursts. Not only was she in my history class, but she was assigned to me for tutoring. I connected with this young lady and immensely enjoyed her.
An incident occurred that led the school to expel her for the year. I understood why they would make that decision, but I didn’t agree with it. I knew this student and knew the threat wasn’t genuine. It was an outburst of frustration. I never saw her again. Her locker sat empty and her seat vacant. Over the years, my mind often drifted to her. I wondered about her and continued to pray she had overcome her emotional hurts and was living victoriously.
One Sunday after the church service had started, a young woman slid into the seat in front of me. I thought she looked familiar, and when she turned to introduce herself to the person beside her, I heard her name. It was my precious former student! My heart exploded in the fact that God would not only bring her to the same church but sit her in the seat in front of me.
After the service concluded, I approached her and said, “I don’t know if you remember me, but I was your eighth-grade history teacher.” Her eyes filled with tears. I continued, “You may not recall what happened in eighth grade, but I want you to know I am the teacher who stood up for you and believed in you.” The flow of tears down her cheeks increased. I continued, “I’ve thought of you often and prayed for you.”
She replied, “The year you were my teacher I attended this church a few times. It was the first time I had ever been to church. It’s been a long road, but God brought me back here this year. Thank you for your prayers.” She smiled at me and I said, “I’m just standing here today to hug you and say I hope God works miraculously in your life.”
I turned and walked away, praying God would continue to change the life of this young woman. Only God could bring closure to a difficult situation 11 years later. His ways are higher than mine. He loves to surprise us. How has he brought you the unexpected? He proved to me that our prayers never fall void. Continue to pray and trust that God is continually at work, even when we can’t see it.
Isaiah 55:8-9 — For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.
About Shelley Pulliam
Howdy! (A girl from Oklahoma has to use this as her greeting) I’m Shelley Pulliam, executive director of Arise Ministries and former teacher of hormone-filled 8th graders. But my real claim to fame rests in my award as second grade spelling bee champ and my recent gun-handling skills as I train to competition shoot. It helps me be on guard when Satan comes knocking. I’m a voracious reader and can frequently be found at the theater enjoying movie marathons where my record stands at six in one day. I’m a single, never married, who loves to pour into children at every opportunity. Let me know if you have any for sale. You can connect with me on social media. https://www.instagram.com/shelleypulliam/