I’ve asked God that question a lot lately.
A little over 2 months ago, I was sitting in my cubicle at work, going about my daily work routine, when I got called to HR and was informed that I had been laid off along with several others, due to budget cuts within the company.
It stung me…not because I hold any grudge towards the company or anything, but because I had taken pride in the work I was doing there. I was good at my job. Along with that, I felt a sense of fulfillment knowing that I was making pretty good money there, helping to provide for my wife and two daughters.
It hurt me to know that all of that had been taken away from me through no fault of my own. What’s worse is that this wasn’t a unique occurrence…in fact, it seems to have become a recurring theme over the past few years.
My wife, who is incredibly supportive, held my hand, kissed my face, and gave me some advice that really threw me for a loop.
She suggested that I not rush back to work.
After my initial shock and confusion, I got over myself and took the time to listen to her…which is ALWAYS a smart move.
She pointed out that she had also noticed the layoff trend, and that rather than viewing it as a string of “bad luck”, it would be best to see if perhaps God was trying to tell me something.
Soooooooo…I’m all ears, Lord.
At least, that’s what I told myself. But the truth is, I spent the first few weeks doing more talking than listening. I bombarded Him with questions:
Why does this keep happening to me?
Don’t you care any about our financial situation?
Am I doing something wrong?
Are you punishing me for something I’ve done?
Lord, why am I here…AGAIN?
And God, being the loving and understanding Father that He is, didn’t answer ANY of those questions…at least to my satisfaction. And it wasn’t until I stopped running my mouth that I began to understand why.
I had made the mistake of thinking that me being in this situation was a mistake itself…as if I had suddenly taken a wrong exit off the interstate and wound up in the boondocks somewhere…as if I simply wasn’t supposed to be here.
And yet…God knew I would wind up here. He could have prevented it somehow if He wanted to, right? So, the logical conclusion is that…
…He wanted me here.
When I finally swallowed that difficult pill, I actually began to get some answers…one of which is that I should no longer view my job as my vocation. I’m beginning to see that the series of layoffs were simply God’s way of shifting my focus. Writing is eventually going to become the way I make my living…I sincerely believe that.
But, I believe the most valuable answer…or rather lesson learned…is that difficult situations in my life aren’t a slip-up on God’s part. He’s intentional about how He handles every aspect of my life…even the most trying times. The same God that leads me beside still waters will also lead me through the wilderness every once in a while.
Sometimes, God just wants me to be there.
And, now that I know better…so do I.