We’re looking for a job; we’re desperate for a job. It’s all we can think of all day and night. However, to God, our need for a job may be an opportunity for Him to teach us something important we have not yet learned. God is a good Father to us and, like a good father, He wants us to learn more things than how to stuff sterile gloves in a folded paper*. God is careful to teach us in just the way He knows we need to learn. He knows us individually, because He made us. He will take His time to see that we learn… sometimes, we need more than one lesson. God is training us to grow up to be just like Jesus, which is what we said we wanted when we surrendered our lives to Christ. God took us at our word and He will use everything at His disposal to train us. Nothing in the life of a Christian happens for no reason at all. There is nothing that happens in our lives that Father God finds a surprise. In fact, it is often the case that difficult times were a part of His plan for us. How much more we press into God when we find ourselves not as self-sufficient as we thought we were.
I am aware that unemployment is at all-time highs in many countries of the world today. Times are more difficult for more people just now than any period since World War II. Does God really care? You bet He does! God is a good Father and wants to take care of His children. If I am one of His children, I can count on His help. I’ve prayed but still no job.
Okay, well, let’s take a look at the lack of an answer for a moment. First, it is a given that God answers prayer and wants to help His kids. There are a few questions to ask ourselves when we are in this situation:
1. Is there anything that would hinder God to answer my prayer? This is usually unforgiveness towards another person, or some kind of sin we have just overlooked. Not often huge things like robbing a bank but attitudinal kinds of offenses that no one really knows about like being critical of everyone who was on Welfare in the past, for example. If it is a matter of unforgiveness, we must ask God to help us forgive and move on to take care of it. If it is a more subtle sin, we can’t ignore it. Yes, we need to confess that bad attitude and ask God to help us to be more fair to people, but God knows us and how hard it is to actually change attitudes. Sometimes, He chooses to let us live it out to help us change. Now, we can see just how they might have ended up at the soup kitchen door and it had nothing at all to do with being too lazy to work. We want to work but… well, the family has to eat so here we are. It’s entirely possible that God has allowed us to be in that soup kitchen line to teach us humility and the compassion we need to extend to others in hard circumstances. When we’ve been there, it is easier to help others who need help, isn’t it?
2. What might God be trying to teach me through delaying His help? This is a big one and is more often the case for Christians than anything else. Yes, God is able to help us and He is, certainly, able to keep us from getting into a position of needing any help; but why didn’t He move on our behalf and why doesn’t He help us right now? One of the main reasons is that we think we can do it just fine ourselves; we don’t really need God. After all, having God on our side also comes with a lot of “rules” and who needs that? We’re adults and able to handle things ourselves.
Sometimes God either doesn’t intervene to keep us from trouble, or He doesn’t answer us right away in order to have us reflect on how we might have found ourselves in this position in the first place. Are we in financial trouble because we try to keep up with the “Jones’” and are living beyond our means? Are we obeying God and tithing to our church? Have we lost our job through no fault of our own and, while we had been living within our means, that has changed as a result? Seems like God should step in and answer the prayer for a job, doesn’t it? Check out Number 3.
3. Is God trying to move us into another area of service? Perhaps God has spoken to us about going back to school for training in another area and we are just not willing to do it. Now, we can’t do it anyway because there is no money for going back to school. If God is wanting us to re-train, though, all we need to do is be willing to do that if God will provide the funds. When God opens that door for funding, though, walk through it.
Perhaps, God has been trying to get us to move to another place but we like our home so we resist. Okay, God let’s the natural order of things happen when we lose a job and the house is taken from us. Now, we must move.
That is just a sample of what we can consider when it seems like the answer is not coming. There are a lot of others! If we ask God to show us what the problem is or what He is trying to show us, He will… if we really want to know enough to do something about it when He tells us. Sometimes people are only asking as a matter of curiosity and have no intention of responding in the way God wants them to respond. God will be silent then so that we don’t also have the sin of disobedience going on. If you truly want to know, He’ll tell you.
Then, next to humility, a very important lesson God wants us to learn is to just plain trust Him in the waiting. When we have done all we know to do, we wait for God to do what we can’t. Waiting is something it seems like we are always doing, doesn’t it? It is a lesson that is re-visited a lot over the decades we sojourn on this earth. Will there be waiting in Heaven? Who knows… maybe? We, certainly, get enough of it on earth to learn how to do it. One thing is for sure, if there is waiting in Heaven we will be a lot better at it than we are here… everything is perfect in Heaven!
So, let me leave you with one of my favorite verses of consolation when times are difficult and it feels like God is elsewhere. At these moments, I feel like God is not aware of my trouble and is, in fact, looking at some other part of the globe while I am crying out to Him for help. Not so, as II. Chronicles 16:9 says:
“For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him.”
Yes, God really does care!
*Mentioned in last week’s posts, Summer Jobs 1. For the whole series, begin with Monday, August 6.
Not sure if you’re one of God’s kids? Check this post: Will God rescue anyone in need? and see for yourself:
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