Pastor's Pen: Suffering loss

If I was a more mature Christian I probably could have written this on Friday, but instead it’s Monday and I still feel like I’m not completely recovered and have given it all to God.

Last week I had a new experience, one many others have had before. As many of you know I am a youth pastor, but you may not know that I also work a few other jobs as well. One of those is — or was — with a contract employer.

It had provided extra income for fishing trips, weight equipment and even some savings for the future. Friday, that company lost one of their contracts and my job was cut the very same day. I had never lost a job before, but quickly realized how much a job and income had come to define me. I began to go through many emotions:

Denial: Immediately I assured myself that it was a mistake. Certainly they would need me for some other purpose. That emotion didn’t last long before another took its place.

Mad: I would say anger, but that sounds all too subtle. I was mad at the company that lost the contract. I was mad at the company that had given it to someone else. I was mad I didn’t know it would happen. And I was mad at God for allowing it to happen at all.

When my anger goes against people I can somehow find a way to justify it, even if I’m completely wrong. But when I become angry at God then I know I’m wrong. That led to the next emotion.

Sorrow: I was sorrowful for taking my anger out on those companies. It wasn’t an action against me. It was good business sense for them. But I was most sorrowful for not trusting God right away.

Rather than being thankful for those years of extra income and trusting Him to continue to provide, I became angry at Him for not doing what I expected. God had provided for me before this job and during it. Certainly He will provide after it.

After congratulating the Philippian church for their giving, Paul says this, “And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of His glory in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19)

And Jesus, after telling us how God provides food for the birds and clothes for the flowers of the field, reminds us in this way, “So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’

“For the pagans run after these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” (Matthew 6:31-33)

My hope isn’t that you will pray I get more money. I know God will provide and there are many others who have lost their jobs completely and have far less.

My hope and prayer is that all of us, myself included, won’t run from God in difficult times, but will, instead, look up as the Psalmist did in Psalm 121 and say, “I lift up my eyes to the mountains — where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.”

Where are you looking for help?