In the late 80’s I was hired by a contractor from Virginia Beach who was planning on moving into the booming building business here on the Outer Banks. The company was well established in south Hampton Roads, and I was given the assurance that, “We’re planning on being there for the long haul.” Yet, at the completion of their first project here the superintendent called me aside on a Thursday afternoon to tell me the next day would be my last. They were pulling up stakes and heading back to Virginia.
He didn’t know it, but my wife and I were going to sit down that evening and fill out the paperwork to initiate the purchase of a home. Buying that house (it would have been our first to own) was a big step and one we were looking forward to taking. It was another move in our lives toward living the American dream. But dreams aren’t reality and they don’t always come true.
I remember thinking, “What? God, are you keeping track of me? How could you let this happen?” My conversation with my wife when I got home was, “You won’t believe this”, and “We can’t buy a house if I don’t have a job”. To say we were perplexed is putting it mildly.
It would be great to say that the next day I got a call with a new job offer. But I didn’t. Instead I filed for unemployment benefits for the first time in my life and found odd jobs to earn some cash to supplement what I was receiving. I guess I never knew from week to week how I would work to make ends meet.
When we feel like we’ve been cut off at the knees and we haven’t been at fault our response boils down to two choices. I’ll get bitter about it or I’ll get better. I’ll retreat into rejection mode or I’ll look for the silver-lined cloud and see just how God is going to use this to change me for the better. Either way it is my choice. Circumstances can turn me upside down but they can’t ruin me. If I’m ruined it’s because I chose to be rather than looking for the opportunity to overcome and advance to something new or different.
I’m not a believer that God will not give you more than you can handle. Too many times I’ve seen that proven wrong. Who made that up, anyway? It’s not in the Bible. Instead, God will allow the overwhelming in my life to bring me to total dependence on Him. That verse in Romans 8 continues to ring true as it gives me hope that not only is God watching, He’s ultimately in charge and can find a way that I can’t see to turn what initially appeared a disappointing frustration into a grand blessing in disguise.
Maybe you’re very familiar with these words. Maybe they’re new to you. But here’s a promise from God to those who love Him. “We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God: those who are called according to His purpose.” All things. Even the curve balls and the “I never saw that coming” shockers. As I was taught years ago, “All means all and that’s all all means”.
Guess what? 2015 is going to bring some of those kinds of unpleasant surprises your way. How you respond to them is your choice. But if you kick and fight against what God may be doing to move you to the next level because you don’t immediately understand it you might just miss out on the best things to come.