I Just Lost My Job, And God Is Good

Published on September 23, 2010 by CT in Blog, News

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My wife is 8 months pregnant, we are halfway through building our first home, and I just lost my job. The news came suddenly last Thursday evening.  A short phone call with a senior partner in our firm, and quick call with HR on Friday, and I was done.  My salary, our health coverage, and a core part of my identity slipped away with the passing of the seconds from Friday to Saturday.

Having reflected on this turn of events for a few days, I am now convinced even more that God is good.  Blessing and loss exist for the glory of God, but sometimes, trials bear the greatest means for remembering the time-tested, rock-solid promises of God.  In the midst of loss, here is what I remember about my God and His word:

  1. Work is a gift from God.  God is the giver of great gifts, and one of the first gifts He gave to man was work (Genesis 2:15).  Losing a job can turn a “have to” into a “get to” in a moment, and nothing reminds us of the value of something until it is gone.
  2. His promises are true.  God commends the ant for storing up provisions in the summer (Proverbs 6:6-8).  When we follow His word, as our family has done, then we find we are not lacking during this time of winter.  God’s provision may come when there are no stores, but it may also come as the fruit of obedience.  Both are means of grace.
  3. He brings rain on the just and the unjust.  The sun and the rain rise and fall on the good and the evil (Matthew 5:45).  God extends His common grace as a gift to all His creation, so my sense of entitlement about the prosperity and stature of my work is shown to be a liar.  We are gifted and placed by the Lord for work that will bring His glory, not bring us comfort and pride.
  4. He tells us this life is a vapor.  Careers are built brick by brick.  We invest hours, and sweat, and passion, and we do well when we build them to the glory of God.  But careers are like family, and prosperity, and suffering, and fame, and success—they are all but vapors (James 4:14).  We grasp at mist when we hold too tight to anything but the firm reality of Christ.
  5. He gives and He takes away, but blessed be His name.  “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return,” says Job (Job 1:21).  The covers of life that bookend our work and our passions and our pursuits have one central theme—whatever happens, whether success or failure, whether blessing or loss, comes from the hand of God, for our good, and His name is worthy to be praised.
  6. Trials heat the furnaces of our joy.  We can only “count it all joy when [we] face various trials” (James 1:2) if we value joy in God more than joy in this world.  Losing a job may be a trial, but it is also an occasion for joy because of the lasting value of what is produced in us.
  7. The testing of our faith produces endurance.  Is endurance better than a salary?  Only if we desire to “lack in nothing” (James 1:4).  Faith steps out of the stands and onto the track during times of trial, and the labor of testing produces a steadfastness that works and stretches and grows up into the powerful gait of perfection.
  8. His power is made perfect in weakness.  The shame felt in losing a job can cripple and weaken the soul.  But Christ’s power is made perfect in this kind of soul, testifying to the sufficiency of His grace.  Wherever there is loss, there also stands grace, and in this grace lies the power to boast in weakness, so that the power of Christ may rest upon us (2 Corinthians 12:9).
  9. He abundantly supplies our every need.  God provides, not my employer or my own strength.  God feeds my family, not my employer or my own strength.  God prepares our home, not my employer of my own strength.  In Christ are infinite riches in glory, and from them, God will meet our every need (Philippians 4:19).
  10. Contentment is better than cash.  We do well to be brought low, and to abound, to face plenty, and to face hunger, to live in abundance, or to live in need.  For all of these provide a training ground in which we learn to be content, so that we might know the power of Christ through whom we can do all things (Philippians 4:11-13).
  11. Loss of a job is the battlefield for an anxious heart.  “Do not be anxious,” Jesus tells us, because “life is more than food and clothing” (Matthew 6:25).  Seeking first the kingdom of God and His righteousness is a fight of faith—believing God that He knows that we need these things, and that He will add them unto us, as we pursue Him above all else.
  12. Everything is to be counted as loss compared to the surpassing worth of knowing Jesus.  The “surpassing worth of knowing Jesus” makes the greatest career to be rubbish (Philippians 3:8).  When God strips things from our lives, we find out what we have left, and having Jesus, and knowing Him, is worth suffering loss of any kind.
  13. The cross is weightier still.  Our work, our families, and our ministries are the fields of our lives in which we toil.  And they are good, as gifts from God, to be used to further His kingdom and bring renown to His name.  But even our greatest work doesn’t tip the scale of significance when compared to the work of Christ on the cross.  Our labor reminds us of His labor; our loss reminds us of His loss, for our gain.

I am also reminded that my loss is but a fraction of the suffering in this world, and that billions of others would call me immeasurably rich, even now.  And they would be right.  My story is no sob story of destitution, and our family will be provisioned for a time by my previous employer and our emergency funds.

But the riches I want to rest in and taste at this moment are those that can only be found in the glory of Christ.  I want to count this trial as joy, to sit in the reality of my weakness, so that I might know the strength of Christ.  And I want to proclaim to the world that God is good, that He gives and takes away, and in all this, blessed be His name!

Question:  Have you lost a job before, and how have you seen in it that God is good?

  • Amy Ferrara

    Wow, Chris. I'm so sorry to hear the news of the job and the timing of everything, but your joyful outlook is very refreshing. We will be praying with you!

  • http://www.facebook.com/david.kim.durham Kim Durham

    Praying for you, Chris! Thanks for the perspective. Praying for a sustaining of this joy that only comes from our focussing on the Father and His sovereignty and His goodness.

  • Michael D. Bobo

    Chris, I experienced a life changing open heart surgery two years ago. I completely relate. Things are different afterwards, but God is still the same. His constancy in times of trouble is an anchor for my soul. Thank you for this piece and may God open doors of opportunity for you and your family.

  • http://adifferentstory.net Lyla Lindquist

    Chris, I'm truly sorry to hear your news. I'm actually still in the midst of a post-job loss transition, having watched my department slowly dismantled over a year's time. I had the option to relocate with my job out of state and let it go for the sake of not uprooting my family. I've opened my own firm and work part time to fill the gap until business stabilizes, and it's not always fun. But God is God throughout, He supplies in amazing ways (and I don't just mean financial), and He remains as good as ever.

    One of the things that's stayed steady with me throughout is the idea that my life, in reality, is no less certain today because I'm technically out of a job and in the early stages of a new venture, never knowing when I might get paid. It's always been uncertain. And it's just as uncertain for my neighbor who has a steady job.

    It's just that times like this wake us to the uncertainty that always was. And that wakens me to deeper faith and more abiding peace.

    I've prayed you experience that on a deeper level during this time as well. He knows.

    My recent post God’s Heart Beats in the Silence

    • http://cravesomethingmore.org Chris_Tomlinson

      Lyla, my wife and I talked the other night about your comment: "It's times like this that wake us to the uncertainty that always was." That's such a great thought, and I see what you are saying. It's so good to be reminded that, although my life is certain to God, and the works He has prepared for me to walk in are certain, I don't know what they are until I walk by faith alongside Him. I do find it easy to settle into a routine of comfort and self-sufficiency, but you're right–things are always far less certain that I would have thought. Thanks for your thoughts and the fruit they had in our conversation!

  • kristerdunn

    I'm on my 3rd career in basically 3 years. Not.My.Choice. The hand of God is big. God used those transitions to completely change my life. Too long to note as a reply… but God is…good. How I can help…?

    • http://cravesomethingmore.org Chris_Tomlinson

      The hand of God is big. I love it. The best help you can give is the most powerful thing you can do–which is pray for me and my family. Specifically, pray that: 1) God would continue to humble me in this time; I desire to know the depths of my own pride and the misplaced identity that I have placed in my work so that God can do a work in me in those areas, 2) I would be faithful to seek God's direction rather than waste this chance to be led by Him, 3) That, if God allows, I would be able to spend the next few months writing a book (what we can see about God most clearly at the cross) that will build up His church and glorify His name, 4) That my time will be well spent in caring for my wife and our little girl (meeting her in 4 weeks!), and 5), That I would be attuned to hear God's voice, both in next steps but also in heart matters. Thank you for asking!

  • Arlyn Briggs

    Lost my "job" several times in the last two years for being honest about work conditions and the corruption in organizations. God provided in every case beyond my wildest dreams….may not have all the WANTS but certainly have all the NEEDS taken care of. It has made me realize each time who is really in control….GOD! I can control my attitude and it should not be one of helplessness but one of expectancy provided I have a relationship with God that is pure and according to His will. Change is constant in our life and we should expect that at God does want change in our life…otherwise we are not growing and depending on Him to sustain us, rather I think I am the person who brought all of the good about. WRONG!!!

    • http://cravesomethingmore.org Chris_Tomlinson

      I wonder when I'm going to learn the lesson you've already learned: that change is constant =). You're spot on–God will grow us, as He's making us into the image of His Son, and that means change! I hope I've learned this truth, and I hope I continue to remember–and embrace–it =).

  • Ray Hollenbach

    I'm encouraged by your bold proclamation of God's goodness, Chris. It gives me the confidence to pray along with you for his abundant provision–through whatever means he chooses. Blessings abundant to you, your wife, and new child!

  • Laura Droege

    I've never lost a job (mostly because I've never worked anywhere more than nine weeks), but I have been through trials and times of great uncertainty, where I really didn't know if I would make it. I've learned that these times have forced me to rely on God because he alone can sustain my mental stability and he lends me every breath that I breathe. (I must add that the worst of these times was during my pregnancies, so I imagine that I can identify with what your wife might be feeling.) Thank you for continuing to proclaim God's goodness in the middle of such uncertainty.
    My recent post Knit- Pray- Love…what’s so special about a handmade gift

    • http://cravesomethingmore.org Chris_Tomlinson

      Laura, I find it so comforting to know that God gives us, by grace, every breath as you mentioned. And I guess it would be terrifying too, that he might withhold our next breath at any time. But knowing He is good makes it comforting again =). Thanks for sharing your thoughts and encouraging words!

  • Elizabeth

    Hi Chris,

    Well, I've been thinking about you for a while now after reading this post, and I think I've finally found the response I want to give. Actually, it's a story.

    When I was just a wee one, my parents moved from Cleveland, Ohio, to Portland, Oregon. The housing market was much more expensive in Portland, and they had to buy at the top of what they could afford for this reason. My dad was police officer (a forensic detective, to be specific), and my mom was staying at home taking care of me. Then my sister came along. Money was tight.

    For various reasons, in a few years my dad left the police force and took a different job in a different industry. He was laid off soon after. He regretted leaving the police force, and he was out of work for 24 months.

    My mom started selling Tupperware to help make ends meet, and my dad took odd jobs painting houses and such. Amazingly, my parents made it through that time without losing their house and without any of us going hungry. There were times, however, when my mom literally could not afford the .25 cents to let me ride one of those little horses outside the grocery stores. Money was that tight.

    God provided, and they look back on that time knowing that He was watching out for them. I hope this story is an encouragement to you. I haven't personally lived through what you are living through, but maybe my parents' story will encourage you. In any case, I will be praying.

  • Micky

    I have been interning in one of major organization in the country for more than a year, still I have no job I have 3 little kids. I'm in the dark!

  • ndy

    i just lost my job today. i am looking onto God. may his will be done. amen

    • http://cravesomethingmore.org Chris_Tomlinson

      So sorry to hear that. I just prayed for you that you would be strengthened by God during this time, that He would give you a peace that comes from His faithfulness, and that your affections for Him would deepen in this time of trial.