I was speaking with a woman at my church recently who had just experienced a period of prolonged job search. Her story was familiar; she was Middle Aged and unexpectedly found herself unemployed. She spent over two years seeking work, praying, seeking God’s direction, getting feedback on her rèsumè from friends and anyone who would give her advice. She was nearly at her wits end as she saw her savings and retirement dwindle to nearly zero.
She finally caught a break, heard about a position through a friend at church, and spoke to the business owner about the job. She actually knew the business owner, again through church, and approached him about the vacancy. Turns out, after nearly two years of unemployment, she didn’t even need a rèsumè for the position that she landed. She was totally thrilled with the job and loved the environment in which she was working.
As she reflected on her story, she shared the emotional and spiritual journey, roller coaster, I might add, that she had been on. You see, during those two years, a family member was diagnosed with terminal cancer. That family member underwent chemotherapy treatments, surgeries, numerous doctor visits, hospital stays, and everything that accompanies a cancer diagnosis. She, more or less, became that person’s caregiver and advocate. She saw God doing amazing things with that relationship and even grew in her relationship with God.
She found herself suddenly spending more time in prayer, meditating on the scriptures, and questioning, “What does God want me to do with my life,” as she suddenly realized how frail and precious life can become. She began to realize that she was at God’s mercy for everything good and bad in her life and put herself in a position where she was totally reliant upon God.
Perhaps that is why Laura Story’s song “Blessings” touches so many people. Most everyone finds himself or herself in a position seeking blessings in disguise. This person admitted that she had never been in a position where she was totally reliant upon God’s blessings and provision. Those two years taught her that it wasn’t about her will, her work, her choice, her savings; she was totally reliant upon God’s mercy. As she saw her savings dwindle and continued being rejected from employers, the anger and bitterness set in. But as she became more involved in the care and advocacy of a family member, she had to let the anger and bitterness go. God used that time to bring her closer to Him and to her loved one. She began to understand what true loss meant. Yet she began to cherish the spiritual freedom we receive through Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross. The light bulb went on; sacrifice equals loss, and redemption equals grace.
The rest of the story is that when she truly fell down at God’s feet and surrendered to letting Him lead, the door finally opened. She didn’t even have to submit a rèsumè. She had an informal interview, confidently shared the value that she could bring to the company and was offered the job. Turns out, it really was the kind of position that she never knew she was seeking. She was using old skills in a new way, was re-energized in her professional life, and her spiritual life was awakened from a long slumber. She had a new way of looking at things and appreciating God’s blessings.
What was refreshing to hear about “this job landing in her lap” was that she realized it didn’t just land in her lap. She worked for it in a very sacrificial way. She sacrificed long-term financial security, she sacrificed time for her job search to care for a terminally ill loved one, and she sacrificed her own self-reliance and became more reliant upon God’s provisions. She had to live on faith.
She realized that even though she had been a Christian for many years, she never put herself in a position where she was totally reliant upon her faith. When we see ourselves in that position, it’s scary. It’s really scary. Faith is invisible. Faith is intangible. Faith is looking to a face we never see, and listening for a voice we never hear. Faith is total reliance upon God’s presence, love, and blessings. Faith is also the recognition of, “blessings in disguise.”
In paraphrasing Laura Story’s song, Blessings, God is always working in our lives even when He seems very far away. Even through the storms, and sleepless nights. Even when God seems very far away, these kinds of trials could be how He works in our lives and shows us His mercy. If you have never listened to the song, I would encourage you to do so. It’s among my favorites.