I like to think of myself as a fairly put-together person. I’m married with four kids. I can hold down a job. I own a home and two vehicles. We have food on the table and in the fridge. I’m a worship leader at church. I’m in close community with other believers. I try to live what I believe at work. Yeah, I think I have my act together. The best part is that I can see God’s blessing and generosity in each of these aspects of my life. I’m grateful for what He’s given me. I believe He will continue to care for me and my family.
See, I’m currently performing IT support work at the Veterans Affairs (VA) Medical Center in Lebanon, PA. This opportunity was literally a Godsend (I actually believe God put me here at this time). I needed a job, and this job was on Monster.com at the time. I applied and was hired in a fairly quick fashion. Here’s the catch: I’m a contractor, not a federal employee.
I work for a company who is under contract with the VA to provide IT techs as needed. When I interviewed last August, the job was supposed to last until October, 2019. When I was offered the position last September, it had been cut down to only 95 working days. That gave me an end date of February 21, 2019. When it’s September of 2018, February of 2019 seems like a long way away. This situation wasn’t ideal, but it was work with good pay that was close to home. I started October 1, 2018. In January, 2019, the VA authorized more time for me, and my position was secured through mid-March. That extension process has taken place at least six more times; I’ve lost count. In early April I found out the VA had chosen not to renew or extend its contract with my company, and there would be no more work for me after May 9, 2019.
Each time the end date has neared, I’ve thought, “Okay, I’m going to find something else when my time’s up, and everything will be fine.” But there wasn’t much in the way of opportunity. And as those end-dates got near, my time got extended. It’s been almost literal daily bread.
I totally understand those Israelites who gathered more than just that day’s manna. “I’m going to control my circumstances as much as I possibly can.” Yep. That resonates. As someone who’s got things handled, I like to be in control of things. This whole job thing has been 100% out of my control, and I’m freaking out. I HATE not having control. It’s made me confront whether I really believe what I say I do. I know God will provide for me, but what if it’s in a way I don’t want? Do I believe He’ll only provide the bare minimum because that’s what He owes me, or am I willing to believe He wants me to experience His goodness and abundant life because I’m His son?
I find myself right next to the guy in Mark 9:24 saying, “Lord, I believe; help Thou mine unbelief!” It’s easy for me to trust God when I don’t really have to trust Him for anything. What happens when my future is uncertain? Can I believe all things are possible? It’s actually easier for me to believe all things are possible than to believe this one thing that concerns me is possible. Oh, wretched man that I am!
Here’s where my pastor pointed me: Do I actually let God’s love affect my life? I went to him looking for advice on what to do or how to proceed, and he pulled Jesus’ trick on me by asking a different question. God’s providence is an act of His love. If I’m going to believe that God loves me, then I must believe He will provide for me. If I don’t believe God will provide for me, then do I really believe He loves me?
That’s one of those questions that’s obvious. Of course I believe God loves me. I really do. But do I let that affect how I live my life? Do I let God’s love seep in and permeate whether I think He’ll provide? Do I take His love in and let it inform my perspective on my circumstances? When I do that, the only conclusion is that He wants far more good for me than I could ever want for myself. Why would I even want to be in control?
I’m not going to sit here and tell you I’ve got everything figured out. I very clearly don’t. But I do encourage you to let God’s love affect the way you see your world. If you believe God loves you, don’t let it stay head-knowledge. Let it change you.