Friday, January 25, 2013
Standing Firm: Job Speak
Now that the worst is over, we're pleased we can report that we've come out of this with conscience and faith intact, and can face the world--and even more importantly, face you with our heads held high. But it wasn't by any fancy footwork on our part. It was God who kept us focused on him, uncompromised. 2 Corinthians 1:12 [MSG]
As I opened up today's entry on YouVersion and read these first few sentences, I felt this strong, immediate impression that I was reading it as if these words are the newest addition to Anthony's and my testimony regarding our walk through the [un]employment journey of 2012. It was so clear to me that I found myself questioning whether or not it was my soulish desire to read it like this (through the filter of believing this job opportunity is God's plan), or if it was God. But just as quickly as that thought arrived, I was reminded of this question I read somewhere:
Why is it that we constantly question the validity (or source: me or God) when Holy Spirit speaks to us, but we so readily absorb the accusations and lies of the enemy without question?
I didn't consciously try to read this through the filter of wanting (worldly) confirmation of this plan (an official job offer). It's 6:30am--early for this brain of mine--and I've been up since 5:30am, mulling over this passage of scripture for almost an hour now. When I opened my laptop I hadn't been awake but 10 minutes and my conscience thoughts were no where near related to Anthony's job. I simply popped open the day's entry and began reading. The impression was immediate and concrete: these are your words and this is My promise and confirmation.
It is my choice whether or not to allow my flesh and my enemy to convince me otherwise, but God delights in my faith and trust, and it's in Him--not myself or my accuser--that I choose to place both.
I am risking what I declare I've "heard" from God (and my soul has a way of reminding me of this every time I talk about this job opportunity) by consistently standing on the belief that this is what God has been working out for Anthony, for us, since October 2012. I've "felt it" since the first conversation Anthony had with [him]--a conversation that quickly turned into a job interview (unbeknownst to Anthony until the end of it 1.5 hours later). There was this peace, this knowing of sorts, that wrapped that evening's re-telling of Anthony's conversation with him.
Did I think back then that it would take this long for it to come to pass? Heck NO! I was thinking ... "YES! Here it finally is!" Yet here we sit, in January 2013 (almost into February) and we're still waiting for a final word ... here on earth, at least. I believe it's already been spoken in the Heavenlies.
What's interesting to me is if you read this particular passage in any other translation it doesn't read like this at all. Maybe some would say "Aha! There's the contradiction." But that doesn't take away from what or how God chose to speak to me. On the contrary, I believe The Message translation was exactly what I was supposed to read first so that He could speak this point specifically to me--not coincidence ... not contradiction ... but purpose.
As I read the above words, my spirit was buzzing a bit, asking God if today is the day we'll know. I do not know that answer; it wasn't really addressed. But I do so love when my spirit starts to flit about like a June bug, all kinds of erratic in motion. Watch a June beetle in flight; there is nothing predictable about its pattern or course because it sees differently than I do. Hmmm... catch the nuance?
So this morning I do not shrink back from the words that I've been holding onto for months now: this job opportunity IS for us; it is what God has been working out; it is the breakthrough to something new for us--not because it comes with a paycheck but also because it comes with a paycheck. Provision is part of God's plan for us and cannot be removed because someone can choose to label that "fleshy hearted". There is nothing fleshy about believing in and for God's provision; it's faith to believe God for the provision of our needs (Matthew 6:26) and the abundance to bless us above and beyond anything we could ask or imagine (Ephesians 3:21)--and I choose to stand on faith.
A couple weeks ago, as I was coming out of a weeks-long battle with a severe cold and then the flu, I remember sitting on my couch asking God for a word to get me through January. We'd had zero word about this job opportunity for weeks; between the partnership of sickness and uncertainty, my soul was dry and in need. Immediately Jeremiah 29:11 came to mind. I actually scoffed a bit thinking "That's too easy. Everyone knows that verse, God." Then I was prompted to open up Facebook--yep, I go with the flow with God like that--and the very first entry in the news feed was this verse, posted by a friend. Okay, I hear ya, God!
When I told Anthony that day that I had asked God for a word about our situation, he had the same kind of reaction to the "overtness" of this verse, actually quoting it to me before I could tell him the specific verse God had given me--more in a questioning manner than anything declarative. Isn't it funny how we can so easily discredit the Word of God because a specific verse has somehow become cliche' and "overused" in our Christian culture? (That's a rabbit trail I won't go down in this blog, but that doesn't mean it's not worth taking.)
But God was purposing to settle my heart. Scripture is never cliche' to Him. He knows His plans and it was my choice to rest in that fact ... or not. And even today, when I can't point to an offer letter or employment start date, I can point to my God and His promise:
"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give hope and a future."
I'm smiling now as I come to the end of this [note] because I realize just how much I needed to walk through this exercise of declaration, of faith, of trust and of knowing.