In my last post I wrote about what it has been like to be without work for the first time in almost six years. Referring to my work as an Oracle technology consultant, I made the following comment :
My work in technology, while it has been interesting and rewarding, isn’t ultimately all that important to me. In fact at one time I didn’t even really want to do it. I have since come to enjoy it and have gotten quite good at it, if my clients’ comments are any indication, and I am very grateful to have had this experience. But if God now wants to close this door and open a different door that will lead me to a different form of provision, I’m fine with that. I don’t really think that’s the game plan quite yet, at least not as far as I can tell at the moment, but I have a hunch that one reason God occasionally drops one of these episodes of uncertainty into my life is to remind me of who is God and who is not.
The day after I published that post, Marion and I received an unmistakable reminder of God’s faithfulness and His Lordship. Did I get work? No – at least, not yet. It was Marion who got work – work she had not been looking for and did not really want, yet work that – after praying it through – she reluctantly decided to accept, and now, one week in, is doing very well at. After having served for a few years as a United Church pastor early in our marriage, and then choosing to be a stay-at-home Mom and a home educator for the past 25 years, my wonderful wife – who has a teaching certificate but has never taught in any school system outside our home school – was offered a two-thirds time teaching position at Redeemer Christian High School where our youngest daughter is a grade 12 student.
She is teaching English and Bible, which is perfect for her. I had been sensing for quite some time that God had something more for her, and had wanted her to have an opportunity to use her gifts in a bigger field, so this is a wonderful answer to prayers that had not even been consciously uttered. Marion is a really good teacher and is great at understanding and communicating with teens, having raised four of her own. She is also, however, someone who is passionate about order – yet she was asked to take over the work of a teacher who had left for health reasons and had left many loose ends. So it’s not just a teaching job – it’s an opportunity to learn to flourish in the midst of what feels to her like chaos, dropped in the lap of someone who intensely hates all forms of disorder. God does have a sense of humour!
Ironic, isn’t it? I was the one who was looking for work – Marion was comfortable at home – yet she was the one who got the work! I was the one who said to her “Go for it honey, you’ll be great at this – God has opened a door of opportunity for you”. She was the one who was saying “I don’t know if I can do this”. Go figure. Is God in charge, or not? So for the past week I have been learning to live at a slower pace, learning to manage the household and support my wife and daughter, doing all the things Marion usually does so efficiently and well. Meanwhile, Marion is adjusting to being a working girl, and learning that she can do new things – things she had said for years she could not do. Our Father, who loves His kids and knows better than we do what is good for us, is probably quite amused as He watches us both struggling to adapt.
This reminds me of what God says about salvation coming to the Gentiles : that he was found by a people who did not seek Him, and that a people who did not pursue righteousness received it by grace when they responded to the preaching of the gospel of the crucified Jewish Messiah, while Israel – who had been pursuing righteousness, but by works and not by grace – did not receive the salvation they had hoped for. Without pushing the analogy too far, I believe God is giving Marion and me an object lesson in His sovereign grace, and teaching us both more about the type of response that He desires to work in us. For the past week Marion has been given a crash course in re-entering the workforce and has been learning to receive thankfully what God provides, and to see the blessing in having her faith stretched — just as the Gentiles, having received a salvation they had not sought, were required by that salvation to let their old nature be crucified. As for me, I am being taught all over again to wait on God for what I believe He desires to give me — learning to receive by grace, in a sense, what I cannot bring about by works — even though to receive it, I must do the works (take the steps of faith and obedience) that God clearly lays out for me.
Oh, and the financial provision is welcome also. But what I am really excited about is this visible demonstration that God is at work in our lives – that He knows better than we do what He wants to work in and through us. After all, if we are on track with His purposes, the provision always follows.