Practical Proverbial, from Hebrews, 2 February 2017

The former regulation is set aside because it was weak and useless (for the law made nothing perfect), and a better hope is introduced, by which we draw near to God.  Hebrews 7, verses 18-19.

You can read it as easily as I can:   these verses are talking about law (and, in context, about the divinity of Jesus, our true priest forever in the order of Melchizedek).   Let me draw another parallel for you, though.

I’m struggling to not hate right now.   If you’ve read these words for awhile, you know that my (now) former company laid me off at the end of December.  They didn’t need me anymore, and I hadn’t done anything wrong or illegal or immoral.   They simply didn’t need me anymore and I wasn’t a fit in the company culture; they didn’t want me, so they let me go.   Since then, I’ve been working part time in a call center.   There, I recently switched to a new account because the previous one also scaled back.   Along with two of my co-workers, I’m learning how this company uses a system I’ve known for over fifteen years.   It should be a good fit for me, especially as a part-time gig, yet I feel more discouraged than I have in months.  I’ve interviewed for a number of full-time positions but none has come open yet, at least not for me.   It’s discouraging to be out of work, and my wife and I are scaling back our spending drastically, contacting creditors, and trying our best to keep afloat.  I’m worried, and scared, and I feel ashamed to be out of work when I would so much rather be moving forward in success.

As a result, I find myself struggling to stay away from the selfish spiraling of blaming my former employer, of succumbing to hatred.   If you hate the people who hate you, they win, and that would simply make another wrong.   I thought I was doing the right thing in the way I led the projects they had me working on,  but the culture there had become mistake-free.   I made mistakes, didn’t do what they wanted me to do even as some of what they wanted me to do was wrong.  I find myself fighting off the urge to truly hate the men who put me on the street, to wish on them pain and hurt like they’ve inflicted on me.   It’s a real struggle; it’s a real fight, like two parties are warring for my soul.   I’m so angry and feel so hurt, and I’m really trying to not feel sorry for myself.   There are so many other people struggling worse than we are.   Yet I find myself wanting to scream at those men, to meet them in an airport someplace and punch one of them in the eye, or worse.   It was unfair, it was cruel, it was just plain wrong what they did to me, and I feel an empty burning anger inside of me because of it.

Now is the time to re-read the verses and address what God is saying in them.   In all I’m going through, God isn’t indifferent.   What was behind me is behind me.   God bless the folks still working for those wretched men and I honestly hope they do well.   As for me, God has me out of there for a reason.   In that, God is teaching me things, first and foremost reminding me to rely on Him.   My God is bigger than some job.   It isn’t Pollyana-ish to say again and again that something good is coming.   I don’t know how soon it’ll happen, but it will happen.   Until then, in good and in bad, God is still with us and is providing what He knows we need.   He has me doing what I can to move forward along a new path.  What is now in the past is rightfully in the past, relegated there because God is growing me beyond it.   It’s no longer needed for the path He has me on.

This whole job-searching process then becomes an exercise in trust, in trusting God.   He prepared me in the past for things I need to know now.   All that He’s going to use to put me in some new place has already been set in motion, even if I can’t yet see how it all fits together.  It’s frustrating, it’s anger-inducing, it has my emotions on edge and under stress.   It did the same to Job, and to King David, and to Elijah, and to Jesus in Gethsemene.  God is active in where He has my wife and I, and He’s building us up for work He’s readying for us in the days to come.   God is drawing my wife and I nearer to Him.   Imperfect as we are, we’re close as one and closer to God than we have been in a long time.   That will bear only good fruit.  What it bears will be washed in Jesus’ hope.

I still want to sock my old manager in the eye, though.   But instead of that, I’ll pray the “Fiddler on the Roof prayer,” the one the villagers asked of their rabbi concerning the tsar.   “May the good Lord bless and keep him…far away from us.”  God’s active in their lives even when they were (I feel) unjust to me.   In a way, I hope He’s active for their best as well.

For further reading:   Romans 8:3, Romans 3:20, Galatians 3:20, Hebrews 3:6, James 4:8.

Lord Jesus, thank You for saving me when I so don’t deserve it.   Bless those who persecute us, and lead me to the new place You have in store.

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