I was recently laid off. For the past four years I have worked for a non-profit that relied on the generosity of a major donor for our office and warehouse, and the donor could no longer afford to give the space so we had to close down. This coincided either perfectly or terribly with my first pregnancy – such that our closing day was just days before my due date. So now I find myself in a brand new life circumstance: unemployed and a first time mom. This is extremely unnerving for me. I have always been a motivated go-getter with a relatively clear “career path” of missions and vision for my life. But it is exceptionally difficult to job hunt when you are very pregnant and will be in immediate need of maternity leave upon starting a new job, so my maternity leave is unpaid and for the indefinite future.
Did you know that God has a plan, even in seasons of unemployment? Three fighter verses are good to keep close during such a time:
“And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”
– Rom 8.28
“In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ; and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls.”
– 1 Peter 1.6-9
“For from days of old they have not heard or perceived by ear,
Nor has the eye seen a God besides You,
Who acts in behalf of the one who waits for Him.”
– Is 64.4
We will be tempted to sin during seasons of unemployment in a variety of ways – namely to the unbelief of impatience and doubt, mingled with envy and bitterness. These sins are sneaky and can be subtle at times, not showing themselves as gross sins which our friends and accountability partners will quickly notice and point out, but growing slowly in our hearts. We must be aware of them and count them as dangerous sins which will threaten our joy and peace with God:
Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
– Gal 5.19-21
“But now you also, put them all aside: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive speech from your mouth.”
– Col 3.8
“But for the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.”
– Rev 21.8
God has promised to meet all of our needs. These needs are the ones He has defined that will sharpen our faith, cause us to rely and depend on Him, bringing Himself the most glory and honor through our refinement (Phil 4.19, Rom 8.28, 1 Peter 1.6-9). He loves us as His children and He will give us every good and perfect gift (James 1.17). He will meet our needs as the good Father (Luke 7.11). He will bless and work for those who wait on Him (Is 64.4). To not believe these promises is to not know God, and to be headed for an eternity separated from Him in Hell (Rev 21.8).
Therefore, we must be patient and wait on the Lord. Those who wait on the Lord will gain new strength (Is 40.31). They will not be put to shame (Is 49.23). And the very quietness and trust will give us strength (Is 30.15). We must neither give up nor act out ahead of God’s timing. We must consult God for every decision and wait on His timing and direction. We must embrace the circumstances in which He has us and we must move at the pace in which He directs us. We will thus learn the lessons He is aiming to teach us and will receive the blessings He is aiming to give us.
That may mean He is teaching us to surrender our self-sufficiency and rely on Him. That may mean He is teaching us to embrace a new role in our lives [like motherhood]. That may mean He is teaching us faith and submission [by depending on a husband to provide while we care for a child]. That may mean He is teaching us to die to our pride by working a job that might not align with our career goals but will provide for our families. That may mean He is teaching us patience, perseverance and selflessness which are not optional Christian characteristics!
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.”
– Gal 5.22-23
As we cultivate faith – or as God cultivates faith in us – we will exemplify these attributes. We will have peace, patience and faithfulness while we wait on God. We will work and be responsible to care for our families and we will look to Him for direction for our next steps. We will live well, and we will ultimately be able to die well. We will know God’s faithfulness.
“Infinite wisdom has arranged the whole with infinite love; and infinite power enables me—to rest upon that love. I am in a dear Father’s hands—all is secure. When I look to Him, I see nothing but faithfulness—and immutability—and truth; and I have the sweetest peace—I cannot have more peace.”
– Charles Simeon