The timing could not have been worse. Weeks before the 2015 holidays I learned that my contract employer was underbid by a new company. I found myself in the awkward position of applying for a job I held for over seven years. The uncertain days turned into weeks and the anxiety and tension cranked up to eleven for everyone from senior management, to those like myself in management, and down to every regular employee. To be completely honest, I spent equal times in prayer, trusting in God’s provision, and worrying as this burden weighed heavily on me. I know Scripture says not to worry, but for anyone who provides for their family, your family’s well-being is always on the forefront of your mind- that is why you carry health insurance and life insurance- to try and protect against life’s “what ifs.”
The word finally came on December 23, 2015 as I received a letter from the new company stating I would not be hired. I was stunned, as I have never been let go from a job, for I always left on my own terms. The new company had decided to cut the management staff in half and other long-term managers had been let go as well. The managers who stayed received drastic pay cuts. People around the office were just as shocked as I was about the changes. I knew deep in my heart that I had done nothing deserving of being let go, as I did my absolute best to serve the Lord and my employer and did all I was asked and expected to do. I even uttered the phrase, “It’s nothing personal, it’s just business.”
I don’t know what the Lord has in store for me at this point, but I know He is faithful and will lead me in the right direction. I leave with no hard feelings or bitterness toward anyone; my conscience is clear. God always opens up another door for His children when one door closes. God always has a purpose, even if we don’t know what it is or can’t see it. Our lives are solely in God’s hands and He is sovereign over everything that happens to us. He has a purpose for everything and can use good and bad times to draw us closer to Him. Our assignments may change, but God’s purposes stay the same.
The life of the Old Testament prophet Elijah illustrates this point. God had sent Elijah before Ahab, the wicked king of Israel, to pronounce judgment in the form of a drought.
“As the Lord God of Israel lives, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, except at my word.” (1 Kings 17:1b, NKJV).
Scripture later states that this drought lasted for three years. In the midst of this drought, God gave Elijah a new assignment:
“Then the word of the Lord came to him, saying, ‘Get away from here and turn eastward, and hide by the Brook Cherith, which flows into the Jordan. And it will be that you shall drink from the brook, and I have commanded the ravens to feed you there.’” (1 Kings 17:2-4, NKJV).
The Bible says that Elijah went to the brook and was fed by the ravens morning and night.
Elijah’s assignment was temporary
In the Book of James, Scripture states that our lives are just a mist that is here and is gone (James 4:14). Elijah was never meant to settle permanently at the Brook Cherith, as God had another assignment:
“And it happened after a while that the brook dried up, because there had been no rain in the land. Then the word of the Lord came to him, saying, ‘Arise, go to Zarephath, which belongs to Sidon, and dwell there. See, I have commanded a widow there to provide for you.’” (1 Kings 17:7-9, NKJV).
How many times in our lives have we tried to make something work that is no longer meant to work? When we ignore the signs, we can waste a lot of time, energy, and money trying to make something work- whether it is a relationship, a car, home repairs, or a job. In Elijah’s case, one day the birds stopped bringing the bread and meat and the brook dried up. Elijah could have chosen not to listen to the Lord’s instructions or study the signs it was time to move onto the next assignment. Elijah could have prayed, “Oh Lord, please send the birds and make a stream in the desert.” If Elijah prayed like that day after day, he would have died of starvation and dehydration. The brook was not Elijah’s final destination, because there was a widow and her son who needed help. The rest of 1 King’s chapter 17 details Elijah’s interactions with the widow- from her feeding him her last meal, to her and her son not running out of food during the drought, and ultimately to her son being raised from the dead.
Our assignments are temporary
The Bible teaches us that we are strangers and pilgrims in this world. We are not meant to get attached to the worldly possessions around us. There are times when we must let go of what is in our hand and allow God to give us what is in His hand. Everything belongs to the Lord anyway and we are merely stewards. We may not understand why the situation changed, but we must listen for the Lord’s voice to direct us where we need to go. Elijah was sent to a temporary brook, but we must remember that Jesus offers a permanent stream of water from which we can drink.
“Jesus answered and said to her, ‘Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.’” (John 4:13-14, NKJV).
“If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” (John 7:37b-38, NKJV).
“Behold God is my salvation, I will trust and not be afraid; For YAH, the Lord, is my strength and song; He also has become my salvation. Therefore with joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.” (Isaiah 12:2-3, NKJV).
As I begin this journey, I place my trust in the Lord and will allow Him to direct my path. May God bless you all.