God provides, even in economic downturns
Sing to the Lord with thanksgiving;
Sing praises on the harp to our God,
Who makes grass to grow on the mountains.
He gives to the beast its food,
And to the young ravens that cry.
The God who can make it rain in the midst of a drought, or keep us dry in the midst of a flood can provide a job in the midst of an economic meltdown. But more than changing circumstances, He can change our desires, and delight our hearts, demonstrating His shepherding care for those who seek to follow Him (Psalm 23). This is my story of how God manifested His provision to me in the midst of our current economic environment.
After five years of service at a Fortune 500 company, I was laid off in October of 2008 as a result of the faltering economy. The news was a bit of a shock, but as it sunk in, I inwardly rejoiced, having desired for a while to take time off and make a career change. For those of you who don’t know me, I’ve always been creatively inclined, but five years ago, I had very few job options, and it was necessary for me to take a corporate job in order to stay in New York City (where I still am today) to develop my relationship with God (why New York? That’s another story). In these past five years, God changed my values (with my cooperation) – so, even though alternative career options had opened up in the meantime, I continually searched for what God would think about changing jobs, and came to the conclusion that I should stay put. I admit, losing my job seemed to me to be God’s answer to my personal desire, but to my surprise, my freedom was short-lived, because within a day, a temporary position was offered to me in the executive offices of the very same company. In light of the economic doom and gloom forecasted for the near future, I thought it would be wise to accept the offer.
As I started my “new” job, the economy steadily deteriorated into a deep recession. Concerned relatives, friends and colleagues approached me repeatedly about looking for a permanent job – I couldn’t. I had my hands full with my new position, and other personal responsibilities I had already committed to. To add to the disparity, a fellow terminated co-worker, who had been frantically searching for another job for months, made it clear that the job market was hopeless.
Despite my desire for a break from work, at moments, I certainly felt pressure to start job-searching and to be anxious about money; however, I decided to trust God’s promise to me that He will provide for those who seek Him first (Matthew 6:31-33) and to focus on serving my new employer according to Biblical principles (Colossians 3:22-24).
God responded graciously.
To my surprise, the temporary position met many of the criteria I had for an ideal job. It required creativity in ways I did not expect, and required the skills and experience that God had already built into my life through my previous job. I shared with someone at church: “I actually love what I’m doing, there’s something different each day.” Within a month, I acknowledged to myself that although I hadn’t desired to start a new job immediately, I could see myself as a new member of this team. But what about my freedom and my longing to soar over new horizons? Looking at the long-term negative prospects for the economy, and polishing up my convictions about being faithful with my talents and experiences, (viewing work as worship and a means to provide for others needs) (Ephesians 4:28), I prayed that if it was His will, God would provide me a permanent spot in this group – I would be willing to do His will. What was the alternative?
The following week, my boss sat me down and offered me a permanent position on the team.
It’s the second time in my life that I’ve told God, okay, I’m willing to forego my personal desires in light of what I know You’d be pleased with – and then to see God work things out on my behalf at lightening speed. I guess He really is looking out for me, when I’m looking up to Him. My boss told me he felt an urgency to offer me this position quickly. He wanted me to consider it and any other job offers I had on the table. He was afraid of me leaving. What’s funny is that I still had three weeks left on the timetable and obviously, zero job offers. The next day, the headline of the Wall Street Journal was that the United States was experiencing its highest unemployment rate since 1974 and yet, a new position was created for me!
What’s amazing to me is that I did not lift a finger to improve my resume, I did not utter a word to my boss about wanting to stay, I did not say a flattering word to position myself for the job - God gave it to me. I’m praising God for remembering to provide for those who faithfully follow, regardless of the circumstances.
He has clearly demonstrated to me that “the things which are impossible with men are possible with God” (Luke 18:27). Drought or flood, I’ll be the one contentedly snacking beside the still waters (Psalm 23).