Four years . . . FOUR YEARS!!! It would seem as if the employment gods have conspired against me–well, against the nation since there are millions of us who are considered “long-term unemployed” in this country. Actually, it’s been three and a half years for me (since April 21, 2009, to be precise); however, it was just over four years ago that I moved to Houston and started that job that has left me in this condition for so very long. And with each passing year, there are some days where the frustration seems almost too much to handle. I managed to make it all the way to 56 years of age (actually a month shy of 57) before I got fired from a job in a profession that I had been successful in for the previous TWENTY YEARS . . . and the ghost of that place still haunts me to this day as I’m still unemployed and now 60. Gee, you’d think they put a curse on my work life or something . . . .
The reality is that I don’t often think about them anymore but every now and then when the reality hits hard and I can’t get any employer to even look at me after all this time I get totally ticked off. TOTALLY!!! It feels like I’m stuck in a game where I am constantly on the losing end . . .
. . . and then I remember that I have always believed (and always will believe) that God is sovereign and that He knows every single detail of what is going on in my life right down to this very moment in time. And God has a way of bringing encouragement at precisely the moment we need it, which He did for me this morning by way of two devotions that I regularly read. The first one is by Dr. Charles Swindoll and is titled “Releasing Impossibilities”–and my current situation seems pretty impossible to me at this point in time:
When you face an impossibility, leave it in the hands of the Specialist! Refuse to calculate. Refuse to doubt. Refuse to work it out by yourself. Refuse to worry or encourage others to worry. Stand against that.
Instead, say, “Lord, I’m carrying around something I cannot handle. Because You are not only able but also willing, take this off my hands. It’s impossible to me, but is as nothing with You.” Persevering through the pressures of impossibilities calls for that kind of confidence.
Now, our problem is that we hold on to our problems. If your Swiss watch stops working, you don’t sit down at home with a screwdriver and start working on it yourself. You take it to a specialist. [Actually, I'd most likely take a screwdriver and start working on it myself to save money during this long time of unemployment, but I digress.]
The problem is that the Lord gets all the leftovers after we try to fix things ourselves. [Yep, I've just handed Him a totally mangled watch--again--this morning.] We make all the mistakes and get things tied into granny knots, then dump it in His lap and say, “Here, Lord.”
No! Right at first, say, “It’s impossible; I can’t handle it, Lord. Before I foul it up, it’s Yours.” He is able to handle it. But we don’t usually give God those chances to “fix” it. We are so totally (and sinfully) confident in ourselves that we don’t give God the chance to do what He is a real Specialist at doing.
If something is humanly impossible,
then what in the world are we doing trying to pull it off?
“Right at first” was four years ago for me. And I did give the entire situation to God back then because I knew I couldn’t handle it on my own and I have continued to give it back to Him so many times during this whole ordeal that I’ve lost count. But I must confess that I can tell from my own experience with long-term unemployment that if I had been an Israelite during their forty years of wandering in the wilderness that I would have grumbled about the manna, too. It’s not very pretty when one gets such a clear picture about oneself as I got this morning.
Right after reading Dr. Swindoll’s devotion I read the devotion for today in Our Daily Bread:
Watching and Waiting
In Isaiah 18, it appears that the whole world is set to battle God’s people. Yet what is the response of the Almighty One? “I will take My rest, and I will look from My dwelling place” (v.4). His stillness may appear to have been an acceptance of the conspiracy against them. But it wasn’t. God’s response was His reminder that He acts in His timing—at just the right time according to His will.
I think of Jesus waiting 4 days while Lazarus lay in the grave (John 11:39). Was He unaware? Did He not care? Of course He cared! He was waiting for the right time to act and to teach the lessons He wanted to teach.
The Bible records God’s “delays,” many of which seem at the time to be inexplicable from our point of view. Yet every delay flows from the depths of His wisdom and love. If nothing else, delay, if we accept it, can produce the quieter virtues—humility, patience, endurance, and persistence—qualities that are often the last to be learned.
Are you in distress? Does the Lord seem distant and detached? He is not indifferent to your plight, nor is He unmoved by your pleas. He is waiting while His purposes are achieved. Then, at the right moment, He will intercede. God is never in a hurry, but He is always on time. ~David Roper
Turn not aside, discouraged one;
Stir up your gift, pursue your goal;
In God’s own time you’ll see Him work;
He’ll give you hope and lift your soul.
God is worth waiting for; His time is always best.
“. . . delay, if we accept it, can produce the quieter virtues—humility, patience, endurance, and persistence—qualities that are often the last to be learned.” As Americans we live in the midst of an “instant” society. We want everything “now” and with every passing generation this insistence of ours gets worse. Nobody has time to wait for anything anymore. In fact, we have no idea what real “waiting” is all about. And because we can’t wait we aren’t very patient, our endurance doesn’t last long, and our persistence is mostly shown in our insistence to “have it our way.” And humility? Most of the time we haven’t a clue about humility and it’s not high on the list of attributes we go running after, either.
Instead of apple pie we need humble pie. I’ve had a piece of it this morning and it’s doesn’t go down very easy–in fact, on the way down it gets stuck in the throat. I am so tired of this “waiting game” that I could scream, but instead, I find myself in silence this morning.
He is God and I am not . . . .
As Jesus said in His Sermon on the Mount, “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? . . . But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” ~Matthew 6:25, 33-34
And I’m reminded again this morning that I need to seek His kingdom and stop trying to build my own.
YouTube Video: “(I’ve Been) Searching So Long” (1975) by Chicago:
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