Lenten Devotions 2015: Laid-Off In Lent!

4169446509_6aa98da329_oMy day began today with a depressing phone call from a fellow believer who shared the bad news of his being laid off from work. He has worked for this company for over 3 years now and suddenly found himself out of work. He is the only bread-winner in his family of five and obviously quite worried as it is not easy to land a new job soon. I wish I could tell my friend and a thousand others in his situation, like some prosperity preachers, that you could have “Your Best Life Now”!

The Bible makes it very clear that God wants us to work with our hands and to earn an honest living. So if God intends us to work what does he want us to do when we lose our job? Doesn’t God know that mortgage and bills need to be paid and the family needs are to be met? I know these are difficult questions. I know what it means to be out of work. I have spent months in that situation while eagerly waiting to welcome our first child in this world. What I have learned from my personal experience and from the Word is that, of course, God knows all about us and our needs. We need to trust God to supply all our needs even during the laid-off period. This trust is very important because even when we earnestly pray, it may take a long time before one finds a well-paying job of one’s liking. While we must diligently do all we can to search for a good job, we should put our trust in God to lead us in the right direction and to open the right doors for us.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight” (Proverbs 3: 5-6)
“Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.
Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.
Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him and he will do this:
He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn, your vindication like the noonday sun.
Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him;
do not fret when people succeed in their ways,
when they carry out their wicked schemes.
….
I was young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken
or their children begging bread.
They are always generous and lend freely; their children will be a blessing” (Psalm 37: 3-7; 25-26).

Secondly, God wants us to use this time of unemployment to grow spiritually and to be keenly involved in our interests and passions. Just as in our good times, God wants us to call upon him in times of our need and distress (Hebrews 4: 1). There are several psalms in the Old Testament that testify to what King David says in Psalm 18:

“I love you, Lord, my strength.
The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer;
my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge,
my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.

In my distress I called to the Lord; I cried to my God for help.
From his temple he heard my voice; my cry came before him, into his ears.

Thirdly, God wants you to “cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you” (I Peter 5: 7 NIV). When you lose a job or are in some need, you normally turn to someone who cares about you. Here, the Apostle Peter clearly shows that our difficult times are not hidden from God. He not only knows but really cares about us. Therefore, we need to turn and come closer to him for help during the time of unemployment, too.

These difficult times may last longer than expected; however, in the end they will result in a better you. You will come out of this period of trial as a better person knowing God better and being able to help others who find themselves in similar situations as yourself. For this reason, let us be encouraged through the Apostle Paul’s exhortation:

“Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope” (Romans 5: 3-4 NIV).