“And Joshua said unto them, Pass over before the ark of the Lord your God into the midst of Jordan (River), and take you up every man of you a stone upon his shoulder, according unto the number of the tribes of the children of Israel: That this may be a sign among you, that when your children ask their fathers in time to come, saying, What mean ye by these stones? Then ye shall answer them, That the waters of Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord; when it passed over Jordan, the waters of Jordan were cut off: and these stones shall be for a memorial unto the children of Israel for ever.”Joshua 4:5-7
I was working as staff at our local church, and I thought I would have that job forever. Things were going well, or so I thought. I did not see anything different about this particular Wednesday, but I was in for quite a surprise. I was called into the prayer room in the morning, and I was told I was going to be let go from my job. I would be given two weeks of severance pay, and there really was no explanation beyond that. I was numb at first and feeling a lot of emotions at once. I was okay with it initially but as the minutes passed, my mind was racing with all kinds of thoughts and ideas. I was hurt, distraught, and worried all at once. I realized quickly that I needed to find a job, and I was desperate to find something quickly as I only had two short weeks to find employment. Although this was a devastating moment, God used this in my life to teach me how good He was and how much I needed Him.
On that very same day, my mom arrived from Chicago for my daughter, Kate’s, birthday party. This was only the first of many ways I later would see God was at work. My mom was of great comfort and help at this time as I was not in a good place. God brought her at the right time because He knew this would happen. The birthday party happened the next day as planned. It was hard to put on a smiling face for the party, but I did my best and carried on the best I could. I had friends who also were of great comfort at that time, and they helped to soften the blow of my dismissal. I prayed for a job and I thought I would get one within days, but my applications yielded no fruit. God in His goodness allowed us to receive our tax refund during this time and it was a blessing as it bought us some more time.
I soon lost faith in myself and others who I thought would connect me with a job, and I started to realize I needed to have faith in God. The connections I had fell through, and I learned that people did not care about me finding a job as much as I did. God provided me with a job that was a lot less income than I was looking for, but I was desperate to work. I started the job on a Monday and on that same day, I got a call from another job I had applied for and they offered me a little more than what I was making. I balked a bit at this offer, and after a bit of negotiation over the next 24 hours, they offered me what I asked for. I put in my two-weeks notice, even though I had been there only two days, and they basically told me not to come back. That ended my two-day career at the home improvement retailer.
I started my other retail job on March 23, 2010, and my severance ran out on February 10, 2010. It seemed like I went months without a job, but in reality, it really was not that long. Rebekah, being more spiritual than I, started a list during that time of all the things God had taught us in that trial. The list contained God’s faithfulness, God’s provision, and the necessity of dependence on Him. She listed how we had grown spiritually and how He made this trial a blessing in our life. Looking back, I can see how God worked and how He used that time in our lives to teach us things we would not have learned otherwise. That list is a good reminder of what God did and the growth He brings through trials.
The children of Israel were commanded to set up stones as a memorial to help them remember the fulfillment of God’s promise to His people. He had delivered them from Egypt, guided them in the wilderness, and brought them on dry ground through the Jordan River. He knew they were prone to forget, and even more so the generations to come, so He had them put together this tangible reminder of His goodness.
What has God done in your life? Has He brought you through the fire? Did you praise Him for what He taught you through it? Do you thank Him for all that He has done in your life? May we never forget the goodness of our God, and may we teach the future generations of His goodness. God is just as good in the rain as He is in the sunshine. May we remember what He has done in our life, and may we look forward to praising Him for all eternity.