Wednesday, March 21, 2012

My Wife Lost her Job

If there was ever a tumultous roller coaster ride of ministry I would say our family has an express pass.  The last 18 months have been some of the hardest months of our lives, the most silent from God and the most disappointing from professing believers. 

My wife’s job seemed to be too good to be true.  Now I know you're smiling as you read because of the expression, "if it seems to good to be true...".  I love the last dialogue of the movie Willy Wonka (with Gene Wilder of course).  He says to Charlie in the elevator, “Do you know what happened to the man who suddenly got everything he ever wanted?  He lived happily ever after.”  Lori and I felt that after a long tough road of ministry, it was our turn for a little “Jabez” styled blessing.  So when Lori landed this job when she was still in another country, before she even moved, we counted our blessings. 

Two months later, she is ambushed with “we are broke and can’t afford to keep you”.  No apologies, a few excuses but mostly don’t let the door hit you on the way out.  What makes it worse is they are professing Christians, this was sold to us as ministry.   Broken promises, stories to titillate your potential success (both in ministry and in salary) all are shattered in an instant...while we still await a final paycheck for monies still owed. 

What makes people act that way?  Surely this did not come as a surprise in 60 days that they couldn’t afford her?  Why do Christians present themselves as one way, make promises they can never keep, misdirect and titillate the unsuspecting followers of Christ?  Why do they change their tune so quickly?  How is it they can turn on the volunteers to the point of acting more vile and rude than a non-Christian?

One answer becomes clear in my quiet time this morning.  I have been reading in Exodus and I get to that famous chapter 32, “The Golden Calf”.  The people are so quick to abandon God and serve other gods.  That’s why the first commandment is “You shall have no other gods before me.”  Our hearts are desperately wicked and we quickly seek other things to satisfy, especially under pressure.  The amazing thing is that Aaron, his sons, the seventy elders all saw God and lived.  They ate and drank before God and glimpsed heaven (Ex. 24:9-11).  Now forty days later, they are bowing down to a golden calf that Aaron himself has made at the request of the people. 

Do you remember when Moses first came back to the downtrodden children of Israel?  The end of Exodus 4 we see the people gladly receiving the words of Moses, rejoicing at the sight of the signs and bowing in worship to their God that was going to deliver them from their affliction.  But as soon as Pharaoh makes their lives even harder (5:7-8) we find they “did not listen to Moses, because of their broken spirit and harsh slavery.” (6:9)

I (we) are faced with this very time of hardship, of harsh treatment of a battered spirit.  We can turn our backs on God and go our own way.  We can abandon God and turn to other gods.  Or we can do what pleases God, walk by faith.  There’s no doubt the latter road is the hardest.  It is the narrow road, the one less traveled, many times a lonely road.  But it is the one that brings God glory.  Some how, some way this is for our good, because God promises it.  Somehow, someway this calamity will bring God glory...for all the earth is His.  Admittedly, when you feel like you are drowning, it is difficult to thing clearly, cooly, logically...but it is our faith that not only keeps us going but accomplishes what God desires.  It was Abraham’s faith that God found pleasing, need I go on?  Simply trust and obey.  Just like the children of Israel that expected God to deliver them immediately from Pharaoh's hand, God had another plan that involved greater glory to His name, to His people and for His sake.

Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.  Saturate your days with prayer, be filled with the Spirit and meditate on His Word.  He is Faithful.

No comments: