Teachable Moments

teachable-moment1Teachable moment - “a task which is learned at a specific point and which makes achievement of succeeding tasks possible. When the timing is right, the ability to learn a particular task will be possible. Unless the time is right, learning will not occur.” [Wikipedia].

A friend who called to congratulate me about my new job also encouraged me to focus on “teachable moments” from prior positions that didn’t work out work to avoid missteps in my new position. My friend, you see, is a “student” of my career that has involved more than a few rough spots.

Not to be disagreeable but I’m not sure I took away any such teachable moments from those rough spots.  Could be I just forgot what I was supposed to have learned.  I don’t imagine forgotten teachable moments will be much help to me.

If pressed to pinpoint causes for those positions “going south” on me, I’d offer my pride as a cause.  More likely though, God was behind each one.

I saw you cringe!  So you think me brash to attribute my apparent work failures to God?   Come on.  Admit it.

Let me be clear.  I’m not assigning blame nor am I denying any culpability on my part. I am just stating the obvious.  Whether my job(s), a diagnosis, death, storm or disaster, God either causes or allows it – or they couldn’t happen at all.

Notice how I just just stepped way beyond teachable moments and my career situation.  What God causes or allows regards an aspect about him that we humans have great difficulty with – God’s providence.

“Trusting God” author Jerry Bridges offers that “God’s providence is His constant care and His absolute control over all His creation for His own glory and for the good of His people.” (1a)

Notice constant care, absolute control, over all his creation. Anything left out?

Continues Bridges, God’s glory and the good of His people “are never antithetical; they are always in harmony with each other. God never pursues His glory at the expense of the good of His people, nor does He ever seek our good at the expense of His glory.  He has designed His eternal purpose so that His glory and our good are inextricably bound together.” (1b)

Of course accepting this premise presumes believing in God’s love.  The less doubt I have in God’s love, the better this works.  My belief in God’s love for me sustains me granting God the benefit of my doubt.

Even when I am unable to understand what’s going on in my life and the world around me, my love for God and his love for me presumes God knows what’s best and is actively at work accomplishing his purposes.

First, God is at work for our good…

“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.”  (Romans 8:28, NKJ)

Second, God alone has resolve and power power to bring his will about:

“I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come.  I say: My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please.” (Isaiah 46:10, NIV84)

All the peoples of the earth are regarded as nothing.  He does as he pleases with the powers of heaven and the peoples of the earth.  No one can hold back his hand or say to him: “What have you done?” (Daniel 4:35, NIV84)

Wrote Bridges, “God has not looked the other way or been caught by surprise when adversity strikes us.  He is in control of that adversity, directing it to His glory and our good.” (2)

Do you see what this means for my supposed “teachable moments?”  They become not so much instruction for doing better next time but opportunities to consider how the Lord is using (or used) my moments for His glory and my good – more about growing than learning.

Sure takes the edge off my own efforts and how they are measured. As I step into this new opportunity, I can do so with confidence.  God’s got me covered – even allowing for my foibles, mistakes and wrongs.

I can do all things through him who gives me strength. (Philippians 4:13, NIV)



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