Employment – God's Provision
How can we identify God's provisions, and what should we expect to find? Christ Jesus encouraged his followers to expect God to meet their needs every day when he urged them to pray, "Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors" (Matt 6:11-12 KJV).
A few months ago, I found myself searching for answers when I experienced a job layoff. Not only did the job transition cause me to question my life purpose and the source of my income and security, but it also left me yearning to understand my heavenly Father's guidance.
Was finding another job the way to experience God's supply? I clung to Jesus' instruction in the Sermon on the Mount to look to nature for proof that God sustains us:
"Look at the birds," he said. "Do they have barns where they keep their food? No, God feeds them."
"And look at the flowers. They do not work. They do not make clothes to wear. God dresses them in clothes more beautiful than a king's."
"You are more important than birds. You are more important than flowers. So do not worry. If God takes care of them, he will take care of you." (Matt 6:26, 28, 30 The Beginner's Bible)
What, exactly, is this "daily bread" which Jesus promises that God provides? In the case of the birds, this supply is a daily source of food and sustenance. In the case of the lilies, it is an inherent grace and beauty that money cannot buy. Jesus describes God's provision of daily bread that is suitable to fulfill our human needs as well as our deep, spiritual needs.
Jesus also does not instruct us to pray for our weekly supply of bread, or enough grain to fill our storehouses and last throughout the winter. Our Father's supply is always available, so we shouldn't waste our time and energy stockpiling material supplies for ourselves. Our needs are already provided -- on tap, from God. Thinking that we are in charge of creating material wealth to supply our own needs only distracts us from the understanding that our Father richly supplies us.
I have had the opportunity to witness the revelation of God's plan many times. On three occasions, I've found a job inside of a month. These jobs were no coincidence, but a result of knowing God takes care of my needs. God's love and guidance were with me each step of the way.
So when I was laid off in December, it came as quite a surprise. For months, I had been reading articles related to finding a rewarding work-life balance. I was looking for a balance that would provide me with joyful employment and allow me to enjoy those precious after-work moments with my husband. When I received the news of my layoff, I was filled with fear, anger, and sadness. Initially, I began frantically to scour job-searching websites and submit online job applications. After weeks of no interest from prospective employers, I realized I needed a new perspective, and I finally began to see the possible blessing in this turn of events.
I spent more time praying, listening for divine guidance, and acknowledging my qualities of worth and individuality. As I let go of the mistaken idea that this job was my source of economic stability, happiness, and safety, the fog lifted from my attitude. Part of God's provision of income, camaraderie, and personal growth come through career opportunities, and I was grateful to God for providing me with jobs. Whether I got another job right away or not, God would show me the next place to be, where I would be valued, challenged, and supplied.
When I began to doubt my usefulness, employability, and value, I took a cue from Jesus. In The Lord's Prayer, Jesus gently reminds us that our divine Father is the King, and instructs us to acknowledge that God supplies our needs on a daily basis:
Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. (Matt 6:9-13 Life Application Bible, NIV)
We are the sons and daughters of God! That is a rich inheritance, indeed! Remembering that I am the daughter of a King strengthened my understanding of my importance and my worth. As I began to reason from this more spiritual perspective, I was able to begin to identify God's supply meeting my daily needs. Very soon, supply came in the form of opportunities to become more actively involved in my church, my community, and my family. In addition, I soon found a challenging and rewarding new job -- without a gap in employment.
Our Father has made us, and therefore knows exactly how to communicate to us. Sometimes God's gifts are literally dropped on our doorstep! Other times, our calm, divine intuition tells us that a certain decision is the right choice, guiding our steps to this supply. Whatever the means or the way, God provides everything we need in terms that we can understand and appreciate – even employment.