Those of you who have read my blog are aware that over the years our family has endured three difficult times where my husband, Phillip, has been unemployed. Each time hasn’t been his fault and, I really do sincerely mean that. Phillip’s most recent job loss ended just under two months ago, and now we are in the process of rebuilding. So, when Phillip came home last week and told me the board of directors at his new job just slashed his whole budget my heart sank. They have no idea who he is and honestly don’t care. His project was set to launch the day they slashed it. Being a contractor, and with no project to work any longer, Phillip will most likely not have a job by the end of tomorrow. After years of mind-bending medical bills for the kids and me, we don’t have the deep pockets some do. Still, we do have some resources, and we are grateful for them. So incredibly grateful. Still, it’s so easy to become fearful. I’d be lying if I don’t face tomorrow with trepidation. I just don’t want to walk through this again. I really, really don’t want to. Yet, I know we all walk through things this side of heaven we just don’t want to walk through. Like any of the other difficult things we’ve walked through before, I know there are a few things we can all do when God asks us to walk through circumstances we would not normally choose.
What Do You Do When God Asks You to Walk Through Circumstances You Would Not Choose?
- Be Honest with Yourself and God – The night Phillip told me about his budget being slashed, I stayed up all night and cried. As I cried, I talked openly and honestly with God about my fears, anxiety, sadness and simply how I just don’t want to go through another season of unemployment again. I asked him to turn the tide on our behalf. I poured my heart out. It wasn’t pretty. It wasn’t graceful. The great thing is the Lord doesn’t mind us pouring out our heartaches, confusion, and fears. It is in those fragile moments that He is draws closest. Go there with the Lord. Really, really go there. Let him meet you in your weakness and carry you with His strength.
- Fight to Stay Disciplined but Give Yourself Grace When You Aren’t – It’s really important to fight to stay steady and disciplined during difficult times especially if you have kids. Get up. Get dressed. Try to show them resilience and strength. It takes great effort, strength and wisdom to be kind and compassionate when your stressed. It takes discipline to love well when things aren’t going the way you would choose. Ask the Lord to give you the grace, and the strength to remember those around you when things are hard. When you slip up ask for forgiveness quickly and always grant yourself the grace you would others when you falter. Perfection and performance are NOT the goal. Steady, quiet strength in the Lord are.
- Pull Together – Painful circumstances are a prime opportunity for families to blow apart. Tensions rise, feelings get hurt, arguments break out and before you know no one is talking. Don’t let that happen. Be a peacemaker. Pull together. Speak life and hope. Give grace and mercy. Be someone who chooses to build others up instead of tearing them down.
- Don’t Write the Story Ending Before it Happens – It’s easy for me to write tomorrow’s story before it happens. It goes something like this…Phillip will drive into work and meet with his boss and by 10 am he will be back home jobless again. There is a good chance that will happen but instead of being fatalistic, I need to choose to be realistic. I know the odds and face them boldly (and honestly, sometimes fearfully too). Still, I’m praying and hoping too that God will turn the tide on our behalf.
- But Even if he does not… – In Daniel 3;16-16 When Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego were standing in front of the fiery furnace they said, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to answer you on this point. 17 If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to rescue us from the furnace of blazing fire, and He will rescue us from your hand, O king. 18 But even if He does not, let it be known to you, O king, that we are not going to serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up!” Since my brain injury, one of my prayers has been that the Lord would grow me into a woman of faith that would respond just as they did. The Lord is growing that faith in me by revealing something very special about His relationship with you and me.
Being a follower of Christ isn’t about loving Him because things always go the way we would choose. It isn’t about trusting him and poof everything is suddenly perfect. No, I believe it is instead a love story, that is sometimes revealed through the most gut-wrentching broken moments of human suffering. I’ve discovered the truth of this love story as I watched my daughter laying sick and helpless with bacterial meningitis, and as I wept over my son as he was tortured by voices during a psychotic break caused by his bipolar disorder. My understanding of it deepened as I fought for recovery after my brain injury and through every fiery furnace moment since then. This love story is complex and difficult for humanity to understand since it is about an all-loving God who doesn’t always change painful circumstances but instead, chooses to step into the midst of them and carry His weary, broken-hearted and fragile children that He loves so much through them. His choice to not always change circumstances, but rather be with us in them, is indeed a mystery many of us grapple with this side of Heaven.
Even with the mysteries and grappling, I am so incredibly humbled by a God that carries me when I am weak and draws close to me when I am utterly broken-hearted. I’m so thankful for His never-ending love where He grants me the strength to endure through every trial today and for the hope of eternity where He will wipe all my tears away. I am confident that whether it be through ease or through tears, I can press deep into His arms and let Him hold me in my weakness because it is there that I will find His strength.
I know whether the news is good tomorrow or not, because of this love story and by His grace, even if He does not save Phillip’s job, I will trust Him.