This is an area we had never experienced, until five years ago.
It was my birthday. Tom had left for work like all the other days of his career. When he called me at 9:30a it was no surprise, since he calls me often when he has a break. But this time was different.
“Hey. I’m calling to tell you I’m on my way home.”
“Really? How come?”
“They let me go.”
What ensued was a roller coaster of emotions that neither of us expected.
We had owned our own business for twelve years, and Tom had worked at the same company for sixteen years before that. When we sold our business to a large international corporation we knew his time with the company would be for a season. It had been 2 and a half years, and neither of us expected the news on this day and in this way.
He still had 2 and a half years to go on his non-compete clause, which meant he couldn’t work in the same industry until then. What was he to do?
We didn’t know the answer to that question, so we planned a trip away to the mountains to pray and seek the Lord’s direction. It was a difficult time for us and one we had never experienced. But God was faithful to lead us and direct us as His Word promises.
Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. (Proverbs 3:5-6 ESV)
Thankfully, we didn’t have small children at home to feed. We didn’t have debt making the situation more stressful, but we did have questions–lots of questions.
The most difficult part for Tom was no longer working at the job he had loved for the past 30+ years. He didn’t realize how much he identified himself by his work until it no longer applied. He was challenged to change how he thought about himself, and it was good for him–for us, but it was so.very.hard!
Job loss has a way of punching you in the gut while you’re looking the other way. It takes your breath away and it’s hard to recover. We have a strong marriage, but this challenged us on a level we had never experienced. Neither of us knew what to say or how to fix the unknowns. But thankfully we both knew the One who did.
God always answers our prayers with one of three answers:
We were experiencing the waiting, and it wasn’t an easy time for us. There was nothing Tom could do to fix it. There was nothing I could say to help. All we could do was…wait.
It’s often in the waiting when flaws are discovered in our character, in our faith and in our hope. But God doesn’t leave us to wait alone. He comes along side us like a faithful Shepherd and shows us what He wants us to see. It’s never wasted. If we’re knocking and seeking we will find HIM.
“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. 9 Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? 11 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!” – Matthew 7:7-11 ESV
Charles Spurgeon has said:
“Stand still” – keep the posture of an upright man, ready for action, expecting further orders, cheerfully and patiently awaiting the directing voice; and it will not be long ere God shall say to you, as distinctly as Moses said it to the people of Israel, “Go forward.”
If the Lord Jehovah makes us wait, let us do so with our whole hearts; for blessed are all they that wait for Him. He is worth waiting for. The waiting itself is beneficial to us: it tries faith, exercises patience, trains submission, and endears the blessing when it comes. The Lord’s people have always been a waiting people- Charles Spurgeon
Tom is no longer unemployed. His non-compete was up last December, and he is back in the industry he loves. But he isn’t the same. God used his job loss to help him grow in his dependence on God. And today we thank God for this trial we’ve experienced together.
How has job loss impacted your marriage?
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- Unemployed and Feeling Alone? Listen For The Whisper
- God’s Grace When Facing Great Trials And Loss
- Bittersweet: Thoughts On Change, Grace And Learning The Hard Way
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