Saturday, July 15, 2006

Unexpected Peace

For over three months now…my life as I’ve known it has been turned upside down. During this time…I knew that through this situation that God was making a change in my life. I even had some insight into why or what benefits were as a result of these changes.

But through this all…God has been relatively silent. At times it’s felt like my prayers were bouncing off the ceiling. The one and only message I believe God had given me was a verse of scripture…2 Chronicles 20:17.

“You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the LORD will give you, O Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the LORD will be with you."

Through it all…the hardest times have been when I’ve asked for clear, specific guidance from God on actions I should or shouldn’t take. I’ve asked, prayed and cried…but there is silence…only silence. So I’d go back to the one scripture verse that God has impressed upon me and asked, “What does this mean? Stand…for how long? What do you mean by deliverance?”

I guess maybe that last question summarizes my confusion or short sightedness. Perhaps my limited vision of “deliverance” meant that while there was a delay in getting the job I wanted or applied for that I would eventually get it. Well…six weeks after my third interview for the job…I’ve still not heard anything…and the job posting is still out there.

Now there are times I’m a little slow on the uptake…okay maybe a lot slow. But even I, at this point, am willing to admit…I don’t think I’ll get the job. In some respects I feel like a faith or prayer failure…that if I just had enough faith then by golly I would have had that job. But now I think it’s more than that.

I think that God’s idea of deliverance and my idea of deliverance are a little different. I was certain that deliverance included a wait time…and then victory. But God, thus far, has revealed a different plan. God’s deliverance for me being a new job…not necessarily one of my own choosing. But it was God’s choice for me at this time. For what exact purpose and plan…I’m not sure I know. Undoubtedly it will include spiritual growth…and that can be painful.

In some of the word faith teaching…they make you feel like if you express any doubt, any doubt at all…then it’s your fault if you don’t get what you want. Or you get cancer…and it’s your fault because you didn’t believe God for health. What they seem to leave out is the equation is that our plans, hopes and dreams may be different that which God has planned for our lives.

Since the company I interviewed with flew me out 3,000 miles to interview me…I took that as a good sign. One person mentioned to me…that if I had been what they wanted when they met me…they would have offered me the job on the spot. Perhaps…but then again, maybe not. After all I had two prior interviews; they had all my job information and resume. The reservations they’ve expressed about giving me the job were already there on paper before they met me in person. Maybe they just didn’t like me…Lord knows I’m not everyone’s cup of tea. After all…I can be a little too straightforward and like to use humor too help make life a little easier to swallow.

In my struggle to try and understand what God was doing and when I would receive deliverance…I did reach out to pursue the option of returning to the line of work I love…loss prevention. I pursued it with the caveat that if it was a job that I shouldn’t take…then I wanted God to block it and shut that door tightly. But God didn’t do that.

Instead I was given a test of my obedience to God. What is the one message that God has given me? Stand and see the deliverance of the Lord. Stand, not pursue, not seek after other things…but stand and see God’s deliverance. Not my hand of deliverance…but God’s.

While understandable from a human standpoint…from an obedience standpoint my taking that job would be disobedience to God because the one clear message he gave me at this time…stand. So on Monday…I will make the call and let the folks know that have offered me the loss prevention job…thank you but no thanks.

God in his mercy has given me some insights and warning signals…while subtle…I would be wise to heed.

While this has been a very stressful time…it has also been a time of blessing. I’m getting to know folks that I’ve only know at a distance…and finding them to be good people…Stephanie, Nancy, Christiana and Nancy W…not to mention the folks from the new company that acquired us. I’m also getting a new appreciation for another side and area of the business.

Like any job…it has it good points and bad points…and you just learn to work through them. I hate backing down from a challenge. Whether it be challenging work…or challenging people…I hate giving up and failing. So…I’m starting to get my fight back. I’m not going to back down…and I’m not going to quit. While I may not be at the top my game while I’m learning a new job and taking on new responsibilities…by golly I’m going to hang in there and make a go of it…and succeed.

And when I encounter difficult situations or people it will be something that requires prayer and God’s help and wisdom.

One of the benefits of this whole change is that I now have more time on my hands. Since September 11, 2001…I have not done much reading…other than Bible study reading. For a long time…I just did not have the ability to concentrate at all. In the mean time…my life was exceptionally busy…with work and issues/concerns with my mom…and a very busy unbalanced schedule.

Well now I’m finding that I have the time to read. While my concentration with all this stress has been not what it should be…nonetheless I’m reading again. It feels like I have been given a gift back. A gift that I had loved greatly and missing profoundly. It took God clearing my schedule to give it back to me.

A number of things made it difficult it to understand what exactly God was doing. I kept trying to “read the signs”…a big mistake. A clear decision was not made or communicated to me…God did not clearly shut the door to the job I wanted. Instead I was told…we’ll be making a decision sometime in July. While it may be a tool in the hands of God that he is using for good...the right thing to do is to communicate and not let people remain in limbo.

Also difficult...has been loosing the day to day relationships with people whom I’m love and care about. In some instances…it appears that a bridge has been burned…not that it can’t be rebuilt…but I’ll need to wait and follow God’s leading.

The brightest, shinning area of the whole fiasco has been the loving prayer support by members of Kindred Community Church, my sister Denise and fellow Christian friends. Without their support…I couldn’t have made it through these difficult times. Dear Ruth who always takes the time to e-mail me a prayer or respond to a desperate cry for help when I’m on the down side of the rollercoaster.

Her focus is always on God and His love and His ability to handle my situation. Confidence that He has a good purpose and plan in this…and that I need to trust God and praise Him daily. My words of thanks…are inadequate. You have no idea how much God used you during those dark and silent days.

I know that Kindred’s Prayer Warriors…are faithful in their prayers because they faithfully follow up each week. Last week I feel as if I was blessed and given a treasure to hold close to my heart. Patti and Bob…check with me each week and see how things are going. Not only with the job…but with my mom Gayle too. Last week Bob shared a scripture with me…that indeed has been a comfort and promise I’m clinging to…from
Psalm 57.

1 Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me,
for in you my soul takes refuge.
I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings
until the disaster has passed.

2 I cry out to God Most High,
to God, who fulfills {his purpose} for me.

Thank you dear Kindred Prayer Warriors for being mature in your faith. Faith that trusts God above all…knowing that He is willing and able to handle all our circumstances in His unending ever faithful love for us. Thanks for not making me feel like a faith failure as I rode a faith roller coaster…and when God has answered my prayer differently than what I had hoped.

So even though I don’t know exactly where God is leading…and how this will all turn out…the limbo state is over. It’s over because I’m choosing to believe God and His word to me to “Stand firm and see the deliverance of the Lord”. It means I won’t be torn between staying where I’m currently at and trying to get back or force my way into a job I love. Instead I will choose to be obedient to the one message that God has given me…stand.

Last year in
Bible Study Fellowship we studied the book of Genesis. Through the study…I felt as if God was preparing me for a change. Especially as I examined the life of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Joseph. God used it to minister to me…and help prepare me. I thank God for that time of preparation…because I have been able to draw from the lives of those who went before me to encourage me in my faith.

Now that this limbo time is over…I can get on with my life. Plans and decision I’ve put off because I was waiting to hear about my job. One of those bright spots…is I’ve registered to attend the
2006 God Blog Con at Biola, August 3rd thru the 5th. Last year I was still new in this blogging thing. But now with a year under my belt…I’m excited to attend this year’s conference. I can hardly wait…and know that I will come away excited and inspired to see God using today’s technology for his purposes…and of course to meet Christian fellow bloggers.

I may get a kitten…an orange kitten. My boy kitties Moss and Nate are 15 years old now…and I’ve learned that I don’t ever want to have just one pet…as they get older I face that prospect. Wouldn’t it be fun to have a kitten again? I wonder how my boys would react. One of these days…I may find out.

Of course there is
Bible Study Fellowship starting up again in the fall…this year the book of Romans. I’m about half way through Chuck Obremski’s study in Romans…as good today as it was back then. This will be my second trip through Romans with BSF…and I look forward to seeing what God will do and teach me this year.

I’d better keep focused so I can complete
Beth Moore’s online Bible study “Believing God”…while on summer break. And I’ve got a lot of miscellaneous incidentals to work on before my fall schedule heats up…like balancing check books, cleaning, organizing giving away and throwing away.

My gratitude to those who have stood with me during this difficult time…I am humbled and grateful for your prayers. Thank you to Jesus…who promised to never leave me, nor forsake me. While not always felt during these turbulent times…I can be certain from Your word…that You indeed are there with me and will remain.

No comments:

The Church in Babylon Study Guide by Erwin W Lutzer – A Timely Reminder and Call to Be Prepared

In a world that seems to be fast spinning out of control, we unfortunately see some churches and people who believe they are Christians...