June 1, 2010
"So then, don't be afraid. I will provide for you and your children. And he reassured them and spoke kindly to them." Genesis 50:21 (NIV)
I hung up the phone, still not believing what I had just heard. My husband, our main income earner, the provider for our family of eight, had just lost his job. I felt numb. I felt sad. I felt angry at his employer.
But by later that afternoon, all of those feelings were melting away and being replaced by one feeling: peace.
In the months that have followed, we have seen God at work. We have felt His presence. We have learned to trust more and pray harder. And we have felt that abiding peace in the midst of uncertain circumstances. We have practiced true childlike faith in that we don't know what's coming next, and yet, we simply trust. Our faith has been shaken but not broken. We have come to a new level in our marriage and in our own individual walks.
As we have faced this trial of being jobless in a bad economy with six little faces looking at us for provision, we have learned what it means to not worry about tomorrow (Matthew 6:34). We have learned to say "We have everything we need for today" and leave it at that. We can't predict or control the future, yet we know with certainty that God has already been there, reaching where we can not go and making the rough places smooth, just like He promises in His word (Isaiah 42:16). God has used this job loss to make Himself more real and reachable to us than He was before.
Is it odd to say that this job loss has been a blessing? A pathway to a new place we could never have reached if things had stayed the way they were? God uses everything in our lives to draw us closer to Him. Even the bad stuff. Even the stuff we never would choose. Even the trials that shake us, that leave us different than before.
In my novel, The Mailbox, the main character Lindsey finds that God used some unexpected circumstances in her life to bring her to a place she would never have imagined. She learns that she can even be grateful for the heartache and welcome the paths that looked like wandering. These paths weren't on her map, but they were on God's. She can see His fingerprints on every wrong turn, every tear, every setback. And in the center of all of that, she can see the grace and mercy that were extended to her time after time. She sees a loving Father who can take our scraps and make a beautiful garment.
Throughout this trial, my prayer has been for God to take even this and use it for His glory. As I write, I do not know what will happen with my husband's job. I do not know what direction He will take our family in. But this I know: I can trust wherever He leads. And I can know that He does use everything—even job loss, even the hard things of life. In the end we will find Him faithful. In the end we will find Him true. In the end we will see what He has done and marvel at His ability to use everything and waste nothing. Even this.
Dear Lord, I know that You will use even this in my life to radiate Your glory. Help me to worry less and trust more. Help me to keep my eyes fixed on You even as the waves crash around me, for I know that You are there in the midst of this storm in my life. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
The Mailbox by Marybeth Whalen
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For more encouragement, check out Jobless - Hopeful
You are My Hiding Place, Lord: Finding Peace in God's Presence by Emilie Barnes
Spend time journaling about something that are hard in your life right now. Do you believe God can use even this? Write down what you are feeling and thinking and then copy today's verses in your journal.
Is worry or anxiety or fear gripping you? How can you stop hanging onto those feelings and let God's peace replace them?
Hebrews 12:11, "No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it." (NIV)
Romans 8:28, "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." (NIV)
© 2010 by Marybeth Whalen. All rights reserved.
Proverbs 31 Ministries
616-G Matthews-Mint Hill Road
Matthews, NC 28105
Originally published Tuesday, 01 June 2010.