Wednesday, February 19, 2014
*NOTE: This article was originally written on December 6, 2006 on the [Subversive Underground] e-newsletter.
At the end of June I walked away from a job that I really loved. It wasn't something I wanted to do, but the reality was that this little non-profit ministry I cared so much about was just not able to sustain the financial needs of my family.
My departure was amicable, but I had no immediate opportunities in front of me at the time. I began doing temporary work through an employment agency while I sent off resumes and interviewed for several jobs. A few looked promising, a few were obviously not meant for me, but as the weeks turned into months I began to wonder how long this would take.
It's not as if I'm a stranger to this sort of thing, really. A few years ago I was laid off from a job I loved. At that time I was working in the Christian Music Industry and I had developed many professional relationships with some key people in the business. I was pretty sure I'd have no trouble finding work. But a year and a half later I was still doing temporary work.
During that first marathon season where I endured financial hardship and underwent a crisis of faith, I can honestly say that God revealed Himself to me and to my family in ways I could never have expected.
If you had asked me before that long season if I knew that God loved me, I would have answered "Yes". But after an entire year and a half of eating out of God's hand, and learning the true meaning of "Daily Bread", I could honestly answer that same question in ways that I could never have before.
There was one day when my wife poured the last of the milk from the carton, cracked the last egg in the pan to scramble eggs and used the last paper towel roll to clean up a spill at breakfast. We knew there was no money in the bank to purchase these items, but we had two little sons to provide for and bills to pay in a matter of days.
About an hour later there was a knock on our door. It was a dear friend of ours who "just happened" to drop by and bring us a goody basket. Inside the basket were eggs, milk and paper towels. There was also a box of Wheat Thins. The night before I had made an off-hand comment to my wife that it would be nice to have some Wheat Thins because I hadn't eaten any in years.
I just kept staring at that box of Wheat Thins and realized that God had heard me. He took my little remark about a stupid box of crackers and had provided it for me, just because He loved me.
I could tell a dozen or more stories like that. Those months of learning to depend on God for daily bread were trying, and difficult, and yet they were some of the sweetest I have ever had with The Lord. I wouldn't go back and change those moments even if I could.
About two months ago, I was awakened at around 4:30am. That's usually my cue to get up and go into the den to pray and spend time with The Lord. So, I found myself on my knees in the dark, praying about another new job, once more.
As soon as I woke up there was a strange thought in my head that went something like, "What if it takes a long time for the door to open?"
I realized that God could sneeze and I could have twenty amazing job offers that same day. So...why didn't He? Why was He making this take so long, again?
I started to rattle off a long list of "Why's" to Him. Why had He allowed us to have a miscarriage last July? Why had He allowed us to go through such financial misery for over a year? Why had He allowed us to endure the pain of leaving our church? Why had He shut down our ministry to the elderly in the local senior home? Why had He caused us to move out of our previous house? Why was He putting us through another long wait for a new job?
After I made my list of complaints I realized that, in spite of that long list of hardships, the reality of it was that our family had been great. We had not felt as much of the pain of all of that as you might expect. God had been faithful to us as we endured all of those hardships...so much so that many of them hardly seemed like real hardship in retrospect. Of course, some things were harder than others, and there had been some real pain and real tears as well. Yet, over all, God had seen us through it. We were whole. We were taken care of.
In fact, the crazy thing was our family had more peace during this time of waiting than we had when I was working for the non-profit ministry I was at before. All because of God's amazing faithfulness to provide all of our needs.
I began to pray and to tell The Lord that, if it did take a long time for us to find a new job, that I would be ok with that. I asked Him to go with us. Like the Children of Israel, I asked Him for the pillar of fire by night and the cloud by day. I asked Him for daily "Manna" and I asked Him to help us take everything one day at a time.
As I was praying this, I started to get cold so I reached out and took a little blanket that Wendy and I were given on our wedding day. It's embroidered with the entire text of 1 Corinthians 13. You know, the "Love" chapter?
As I wrapped it around my legs to keep myself warm I suddenly opened my eyes. There, right in front of me were the words, "Love is Patient".
I got the hint.
As of today, the word for our family is still "Wait". I have several job possibilities, but even if one of those works out we will most likely have to wait until January of 2007 before one of them actually hires me.
I have been so amazed, month after month, as God has managed to pay our rent and cover our bills even though on paper I'm bringing home about half of what I was earning before.
God is so good.
"Those that wait upon the Lord will renew their strength. They will rise up on wings as eagles"- Isaiah 40:31