Have you ever prepared for something and it didn't happen? Or maybe it didn't happen the way you expected. Did you ever feel that the time spent preparing was in vain?
I spent four long years (almost an eternity, it seemed) going to school for a bachelor's degree in education and child development. As soon as I graduated, my husband and I moved out of state to his army duty assignment. The local school district wouldn't even allow me to substitute teach without credentials and I felt that my time in school was wasted. The following year we had our first daughter and we chose for me to stay home with her.
For several years I felt that I had wasted all of that time and money attending school to get a degree I wouldn't use. Then we decided to homeschool, something we had never considered until circumstances caused us to view homeschooling in a new light. Finally, I could use my degree! Really, in hindsight, I had been using my education all along with my children. I especially used that wealth of knowledge with our second daughter. Without my training, I don't think I would have recognized as early that she had special needs and I certainly would not have coped as well. I know that I would have been a good mom and even a good homeschooling mom without formal training, but I can't say that it hasn't helped me (and my kids).
It reminds me of Ephesians 6:10-20, where Paul talks about putting on the armor of God. If you skip ahead to verse 20, Paul says he is an ambassador for God. Then go back and read from verse 10 again. We are to be ambassadors for God, but we are also to be prepared for battle. At first it would seem silly to put on armor to be an ambassador, but this is a powerful message we carry and there are some who will do anything to stop us. Never does Paul say to be a soldier or go looking for a battle, just to be prepared to stand firm when the enemy comes our way.
Likewise, I was not meant to be a classroom teacher. My education was preparing me to be the best mom for my kids. What preparation have you received that has been used in a completely unexpected way? Maybe you are still waiting to see its benefits, but God prepares us for His plan and then uses us in ways we would never expect.