I spent a good part of the day yesterday fighting off tears while at work and then finally giving into them on the way home because I found out, first thing in the morning, that the job I had applied to and had done a preliminary interview for had been given to someone else. Yet another rejection. I can’t tell you just how many of those I’ve had over the past few years.
The job I have currently doesn’t pay enough for me to be able to support myself and I’ve been searching and praying for years now for a job that will. I’m qualified for all of the jobs I’m applying to, but I rarely hear back and the few times that I have heard back, I haven’t gotten the job. This cycle has left me feeling worthless and like a failure.
The thing is, I know I’m a good worker. Every employer I’ve had has praised me up and down. So why can’t I get a better job than what I have?
It leaves me feeling angry. Angry with God.
I just don’t understand why, after trying and praying and crying and praising, He won’t answer this prayer for me. Why won’t He provide for me?
In fact, just within this past week or so I was reading in 2 Thessalonians and verse 3:12 stuck out to me: “Now such persons we command and encourage in the Lord Jesus Christ to do their work quietly and to earn their own living.”
That just struck this chord within me and had me questioning “Well, God, how can I earn my own living if you won’t provide the job I need to do so? Or why don’t you provide the husband I’ve been wanting so I can have the kids that I want to raise to honor and glorify you?” And other such thoughts.
All the while I was hoping and praying like none other that the job I had done the preliminary interview for would contact me. And they did…just not in the way I had wanted. Still no job. No way to earn my own living. No way to quit having to depend on others.
And then, after receiving the bad news that another candidate had been chosen for the job, the next thing I read was 1 Timothy 6.
…imagining that godliness is a means of gain. But godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. But those who desire to be right fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs. (6:5b-10)
Ouch. That one hit me right where it hurt.
Paul was speaking here to Timothy of false teachers, people who were trying to use false doctrines to lure people in so that they could make money off of them. But I think I can apply it to me. I had never thought that wanting to make enough money to have my own place was a “love of money”. But as I thought about it more, I realized that there was a lie mixed in with that.
Certainly, there is nothing wrong with desiring a home, a place to call your own. But I have been wanting more than is necessary. While, yes, I want a home, I also want to make more money so I can buy furniture and the like and turn it into a place of my own. I want to be able to buy new clothes because I haven’t spent much money on that in a while. I want to be able to do many different things with that money, but usually I just tried to couch it as having more money so that I can give more to the poor. That’s how I usually tried to bring it before God. I wasn’t being honest with myself. And I wasn’t being honest with God.
I guess it took God denying me what I want for me to be able to see that.
And the thing is, I read through that section of 2 Thessalonians again, and realized that Paul was talking about people who weren’t willing to work in that section. I am willing to work. And I do work. It just doesn’t provide for me in the way I would like it to.
When it comes to money, I’m considered poor, that’s true. But I am rich. I have a family who is loving and caring and always willing to help. I have a job. I have God.
So, now I find myself having to stand before God as Job did.
And the Lord said to Job:
“Shall a faultfinder contend with the Almighty?
He who argues with God, let him answer it.”
Then Job answered the Lord and said:
“Behold, I am of small account; what shall I answer you?
I lay my hand on my mouth.
I have spoken once, and I will not answer;
twice, but I will proceed no further.”
Job had demanded to have an audience with God, wanting to be able to put forth his case of his innocence, but when finally faced with God, he found he could say nothing in his own defense.
I find myself in much the same position as Job, having to question myself and say, “Who am I to question God?”
It hurts. It stings and I feel the need to lick my wounds. I still am not happy that I can’t seem to find a job. I still struggle to hold back tears when I think on it too much. And I still have to remind myself that God does not owe me anything.
Isn’t that ridiculous? But there does seem to be this part of me that wants to shake my fist at God and demand He give me the things that I have somehow convinced myself that I deserve. Never mind the fact that I—and you—deserve nothing from God. And no amount of prayer or bible reading or devotion or service will ever make us deserving.
Despite this, and despite my feelings, I know that God is in control. I have been humbled and reminded that He has provided for me abundantly. Perhaps instead of praying for a job so much, it’s time for me to pray for “godliness with contentment” and count that as my great gift from God.
I’m finding more and more that God is changing my perspective on life. We live in a society that tells us that the important thing in life is to be happy. We’re supposed to follow our dreams and make our own happiness. But the more time I spend with God and seeking Him, the more I come to understand that happiness is not God’s goal for us. Holiness is.
I heard that sentiment a long time ago and I can’t remember where it is from. But it becomes more and more true to me with each passing day. Each time I get distracted by the world and lost in my hopes for my life, God reminds me that the things in this world are not His goal for me. Becoming more like Him is.
I love the quote from A.W. Tozer, “When I understand that everything happening to me is to make me more Christlike, it resolves a great deal of anxiety.”
I don’t know about you, but this rings true for me. Each time I face disappointment in my life, I am reminded that God is still working and He is working on me for my good in eternity. I don’t understand it completely, but I am learning to trust it. One day at a time I am learning to walk humbly with my God—no matter how painful it may be.
I pray that you, whoever you may be, would know that both the good things and the bad things that happen in your life are working to make you more like Christ and bring you closer to Him. You are not alone, no matter how great your disappointments and pains are. God is with you always, and He cares for you more than you can know.