I received an unusual surprise today at lunch time. I had just arrived home from a play date with friends. I prepared to unload my two sweet kiddos (a.k.a: hot n' sweaty and cranky n' hungry) from the car and was greeted by my sweet hubby coming out of the backdoor.
Pause. Rewind. My hubby is NEVER home at lunch time. He's usually at the office about five minutes away working on some fantastic building requiring his sweet design skills. Usually lunch is him hunched over his desk, absent mindedly taking bites from last nights leftovers and working autocad.
So, I was surprised when he walked over and began unloading the kids from the car. I laughed, gave him a hug and kiss and said, "This is a surprise, what are you doing here? What'd ya do? Lose your job?"
He kind of smirked. Uh, oh. Not good. Mr. Jackson has a habit of smirking during awkward situations, embarrassing moments, and when he's about to deliver bad news. I was praying this was just an embarrassing moment. Like, "Oops, I rode my bike to work and forgot to pack clean clothes."
Nope. It was more like, "I got temporarily laid off from my job." I felt like all of the air was sucked from my lungs while someone sucker-punched me in the stomach. Not really the surprise I was looking for. I was shocked. I knew things were getting tight at the firm, but really felt things would be okay. He told me that hopefully it would be temporary, but there were no guarantees.
We gathered our kiddos and walked inside as he informed me he had already filed for temporary unemployment. He was reassuring me that everything would be okay. He was taking all the necessary steps and had already crunched a few numbers. I on the other hand was having a meltdown and making macaroni and cheese. You know, the important things.
Like the rest of the nation, I've watched the news with trepidation and shook my head with sadness when hearing of the millions of people out of a job. We are now one of the millions. They always say, "There's strength in numbers." Well, no offense, but I was kind of hoping to opt out.
As my parents often said during my childhood, "What can we learn from this situation?" Or as Dr. Phil would say, "What's the take home from all this?"
Here goes: In as much as I've placed my trust in Jesus, I've placed a significant amount of my hope, trust and security in the ability to keep the numbers in my bank account at a comfortable level. Now, we've always lived a very simple lifestyle, but my security was in the knowing that we were bringing in income, that we had the physical ability to contribute.I'll admit, I've been one of the first to offer the encouraging words of, "Trust the Lord to provide," to many a friend in need. But, guess what? I certainly didn't trust the Lord to provide for me. I certainly thanked HIM regularly for HIS provision, but I never imagined, what if I had to actually rely on HIM. What if my ability to contribute was removed?
Now, it is. My eternal security is steadfast, but my physical security is on shaky ground.
After my meltdown, and I consumed an absorbent amount of mac n' cheese, I was reminded of these words from Philips, Craig and Dean:
You are God alone from before time began,
You were on Your throne, You are God alone,
And right now, in the good times and bad,
You are on Your throne, You are God alone.
UNCHANGEABLE, UNSHAKABLE, UNSTOPPABLE, THAT'S WHAT YOU ARE
I'm reminded that nothing surprises our Heavenly Father. Nothing shocks Him. And He never finds Himself unprepared to handle the seemingly difficult situations in life. He is still reigning on high...He is still in control.
Matthew 6:25-27 says:
25"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? 26Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? "
My Heavenly Father certainly cares about my circumstances. He grieves when I grieve. He offers comfort in pain. He draws near when I cry out to Him. But there is one thing I am learning: My Heavenly Father cares a great deal more about the condition of my heart than the condition of my circumstances. He's not in the business of granting wishes. He's about showing me how HE HAS NEVER CHANGED. My circumstances may have changed, but He has not. He is sovereign.
I spent so much time focusing on earthly comfort that I lost sight of HIS efforts to capture my heart. Do I believe God allowed Brent to lose his job to teach me a lesson? No, absolutely not. But, HE is certainly using this as an opportunity to cultivate my heart. Will I praise HIM no matter what? Will I honor HIM even when things are not in my favor? Absolutely.
I am clinging to Psalm 93:1
"The LORD reigns, he is robed in majesty; the LORD is robed in majesty and is armed with strength. The world is firmly established; it cannot be moved.
I share this not because I believe this is the most difficult situation I will ever experience. I share this in transparency, because I do believe God is using this moment to change my heart, mold it and prepare me to serve HIM and seek HIM more fervently. This is my holding pattern.