Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Land, Ho!

Yesterday was my first day on the new job. It was also a day that I re-posted an old writing confessing and describing my sin of worry.

I thought God had begun a work in me last Spring when I saw Jonah's whale as a life raft and jumped overboard. I then clung to a supernatural appointment with God thinking I was following his will, and that it would be quick, clean, and seamless. Of course, it's no surprise that not long afterward I began to worry yet again, wondering what kind of crazy person tells the testimony before God's actually done something amazing?! After a few more months of rejection and humbling searches for that illusive job in Corporate America, I had all but given up. The life raft had become a tomb.

But, as was true with Jonah, the whale spit me out on dry ground. Only it took nine months instead of three days, and I now see that it was never a tomb at all, but a womb. And this fish tale was really that of a birth.

God was not only fishing around our financial situation but around my worry situation as well. And it didn't start last May when I began to study Jonah, but one sleepless night of worry last February, long before I recognized my own need for rescue or understood His need to spit me back on track.

God's work in our lives is always infinitely more than we can imagine. (Ephesians 3:20)

"Selling myself" at job interviews had become so distasteful to me that I could no longer bring myself to do it. In fact, I had not been to an interview since November.

The first week of January I received a call from a temporary agency that had found my resume online. I had never worked for a temp agency nor taken a temporary job. They had a need for a bookkeeper to help a local ministry catch up their books so they could meet their year-end IRS obligations by the January 31 deadline. I took the two and a half day job and met some amazing people at Jubilee Academy. This ministry to inner-city kids had a similar vision as that of our church, and I had no idea a ministry of this sort even existed in our city.

I was learning all this from the director's assistant who was working beside me in the office that first morning. It was during that time that the pastor of the church where Jubilee Academy meets had come in to meet with the director. It was the beginning of January -- remember? -- and the pastor had resolved to become more available to the academy, and thus decided to begin weekly visits. This was his first.

The assistant became insistent that we interrupt the pastor and directer in order to explain the commonalities we had fished out. Business cards and website addresses were passed around, and I had to tear myself away, remembering that I was really there for the accounting.

I spent a delightful two and a half days with these lovely mentors and students. By the end of three short days, their books were in much better shape and I was sad to leave.



One week later, the pastor learned that the church and financial administrator for the other congregation he pastored would soon be leaving for the mission field of China, and he immediately thought of me.

The director had been pleased with my work (a professional reference), and the spontaneous camaraderie and rapport between us in the offices of Jubilee Academy (the interview) had already taken place, unbeknownst to me. There was no sales pitch involved.

In fact, I did absolutely nothing to meet these people nor acquire gainful employment. But God saw fit to bring ministries together that are like-minded and give me an instant affinity for this pastor who would become my boss, on Valentine's day no less.

I did not land a job. God graced me a ministry. Every detail attests to it.

Meanwhile, over the course of time from last May until now, I've chronicled in my One Thousand Gifts List what God had been doing to my worry. If I had not been recording small graces, I might very well have missed it entirely.

The seed of worry that had clung to God's life raft, then died in the tomb, had finally gestated into "having to wait."  God, being more patient than I, waited me out and matured my "having to wait" into "waiting patiently." (All that rejection and failure had a way of making me less demanding.) And once I got better at waiting patiently, it grew into "trusting Him," and finally gave birth to "resting."

In the dark, secret place of the belly God makes all things beautiful in his time. (Ecclesiastes 3:11)


Once I was resting in Him, no longer waiting on Him, He made me wait no longer. He's a Father who gives good gifts to his children (Matthew 7:11), both the ones we ask for and the ones He knew all along we needed.



If you'd like to read the whole whale tale from conception to birth:

Part 6: Land, Ho!

Photo by Michael Barbati, used with permission
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