Thursday, September 30, 2010

A peculair and exquisite experience of Faith

I'm so grateful that I got to grow up in a household that, as far from perfect as it was, was a household that believed in God and the Bible. I'm grateful that I grew up going to church. Because of this foundation, I've never had to struggle with believing that God was real.

But of course I've had plenty of questions for God throughout my life. Questions about what certain things mean in the Bible, questions about how church is supposed to be, questions about why certain things have happened, questions about what I was supposed to do. Sometimes God has answered my questions with distinct clarity, and sometimes it would appear that I may never have the answer this side of heaven (and I often think that by the time I'm on the other side of heaven, and in the presence of the greatness of God Himself, I probably won't care any more).

I'd have to say the biggest questions in my life right at this moment in time have to do with my job circumstances. In a nutshell it's like this: I worked as an assistant administrator, and then when I obtained my license, as an administrator, for a large health care company at a few of their locations for 7 years straight. Then I re-married and we moved to a small, mountain community and I worked a interim stint for that same company, and then a permanent position came open within a half hour drive from my home and I took it. It seemed that God was really blessing.

Then a year after starting there, for the only time ever in my entire life, I was terminated from a job. That was in April 2009. I was devastated; I felt that I had given my heart out in all the years I'd worked for that company, and been a faithful employee who went way above and beyond what was expected. I knew God was in control, yet I struggled with feeling hurt, betrayed, and bewildered. Then, in the 17 months since then, I've encountered rejection upon rejection in my job search. Where I once was sought after and considered valuable, it now would seem that I was not wanted. Of course the fact that the nation's economy started tanking in 2008, and that California's unemployment rate is at 11%, and that jobs at the top end of the job market are always hit hardest, all factored into my experience. Because I made good money when I was working, and we're committed to a life of simplicity, I was able to save money when I was working; we've been able to utilize those saving and have not suffered financially. But it's been difficult for me on an emotional level. I've come to realize how much of my identity was derived from my work. I've struggled a lot with feelings of being a failure.

Right now as I'm writing this, a job related decision is weighing on the back of my mind. My current questions of Jesus are - do you want me to take this job I've just been offered? Even though it will mean an hour commute each way each day? Even though it pays 58% less than I made before? Even though it's a huge "come down" of a job from what I used to do? What do you want from me Lord, what is it that you want me to learn though all this?

In my morning times with God I've been enjoying a slow process through Genesis. Sometimes during this time, in addition to the Bible, I'll read other books that stimulate my thinking about the scriptures I'm studying. One of such books I've been reading and working through, is Beth Moore's The Patriarchs. As I've been reading, re-reading and thinking about Genesis 40 -41:13 these last couple of days, I've found Joseph's predicament extremely interesting. This is when Joseph was in prison, he'd interpreted the dreams for the pharaoh's baker and cup-bearer who were also in prison, he'd asked the cup-bearer to remember him to the pharaoh when he was released, and had been promptly forgotten by the cup-bearer. Then Joseph had waited for two more years in prison until the day came that the cup-bearer did remember him. I found these two comments that Moore made in regard to Joseph's two years of waiting, to be of great encouragement to me in my current work circumstances:

"Time can be a liar. Heaven is replete with angelic activity as God faithfully completes in the spiritual realms what He will release in the visible realms when the time is right"

"Sometimes we can be so busy looking for what is missing in our lives that we miss Who is busily present in our lives. We're looking for God to do us future favors when He is trying to open our eyes to present ones. Remember, God purposes to use every second of a divinely-ordained wait to build us into the individuals our future demands we be. One most peculiar and exquisite experience of faith is realizing that while you haven't seen answers or the way you should take, you've learned to see the light of God Himself."

Guess that describes where I'm at right now. I don't have the answers with regard to this current job offer, or my career in general, right now. I don't know the way I should take. But may I learn more and more with each passing day to see the light of God Himself.

What about you, do you have any unanswered questions and requests before God right now? How's the Holy Spirit encouraging your heart? What's God teaching you during this time?


David-FireAndGrace said...

Yeah, this is the part where I get frustrated with Christians who say God's will is only in the Bible. If it was, you could just go read your answer.

So often we try to make it about logic, and geeze you certainly have a case for passing this one up -

As you know, the real answer is what is God saying? Is this an opportunity; an open door for long term employment and room for advancement, or just a job?

Lord speak, your servant, Tracy, is waiting to hear your voice. Amen.

rcubes said...

Reminded me of that time when the doctor told me to get out of Nursing when I had the neck injury in 1997. Asking Him in tears, I asked,"What do You want me to do now?" "Lord, I don't want to get out of Nursing because I worked so hard..." Sounded so selfish then. But scary because I didn't have any other option to do something else aside from that pain that constantly weakened me.

True enough, He brought me to Correctional Nursing. Not only He kept me in Nursing, but He wanted to show me that if I am a willing servant, there are so many needs there...Much more with spiritual needs.

We have to keep asking...We have to keep knocking...We have to keep seeking...May your heart discover what He wants you to do, where He wants you to be for His glory. Blessings to you sister Tracy.

Tracy said...

Thank you David, your prayer here is exactly what I need.

Thanks for the encouragement Rcubes. When I read about how God's using you at the prison, it really is an example of a person whose "secular job" is a ministry. I want everywhere that I am, be it home or work or my kid's school things or out in the local community - just everywhere, to be where God is using me.

photogr said...


On the job market, times are really tough considering the current economic conditions. Every one is feeling the crunch from general labor up to executive positions.

Factor in the so called age issue or experience issue ( prejudice) and you have a pretty good idea of the thought process of hiring managers. Fact is the Job market is youth oriented.

It is cheaper to hire younger less experienced people at a cheaper rate that some one with hefty credentials that requires hefty salaries.

Many end up in another field with lower wages just to have a job unfortunately.

Perhaps this is where you are being led so that you may have more time to serve the Lord in a prosperous way not only for your self but for Him too.

In my small community, the Lord has put in front of me a few people that are seeking God's grace and I helped some to find salvation I wasn't going out looking, they came to me).

I was recently assigned a second community to work with and restore. In the last three months since I have been there, numerous people have come up to me asking if I was a pastor, a minister, and one little 6 year old girl even asked if I was God because she wanted to be healed. What faith this little child had.

Sadly, I am not either of who they asked me I was. All I did was show them love and compassion. Probably something they never experienced from former leaders of the community.

Three now meet with me frequently to discuss their seeking God.

I guess what I am trying to say is God deems who or what will happen to you in His time frame. All that we can do is trust in Him to lead us in our travels through life no matter whether we feel dejected lost, or saved. He always looks out for us if we put our trust in His love. And yes He leads others to you seeking answers even when you don't expect it to happen.

My biggest question to God is "Why me?". I have a messy spirituality,I think way too far out of the box spiritually, and I don't fit in too well in a conventional church. So what is His plan for this maverick? I don't know.

John Cowart said...

Oh Tracy,

This is such a heavy thing you are bearing.

I have no suggestions or answers to offer. What you are going through is a bitch.

And it's not much help to know that other Christians are going through the same sort of; nobody's toothache is as bad as MY Toothache.

Know that whatever you do will involve a certain amount of pain--the long commute with 58% less pay or staying put looking for something better--both try your soul.

I've heard it said that the Captain can't steer a ship that is not moving, it's the pressure of moving water against the rudder that gives direction. On the other hand, the Scripture also encourages us to "Be still and Know..."

Unanswered questions? Nothing but.
Spirit encouraging? Not so you'd notice.
What's God teaching? The Teacher does not talk while you are taking the test.

Doubting Thomas may have doubted, but he was there.

And Jesus welcomed him.

Tracy said...

Wow photgr, it's cool to read how
God is using you at times and in ways when you're not expecting it. Very interesting how people are just being drawn to you.

Thank you John, it always feels good to know that someone cares. Interesting point about the teacher not talking while we're taking the test. I'm glad that Jesus welcomed doubting Thomas and that I don't have to have all the answers. Grateful that God is real, and is present, and does have a plan; even though I don't understand it all.