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It’s such an age-old desire, on par with perhaps lust or quests. Wanting to know the future outcome of our lives is always with us. Sometimes it slows down, sometimes we forget to want; other times we search wholeheartedly and without end.

I want to know lots of things. I’d love to know what’s going to happen in a year’s time when I graduate from Teachers’ College. I’d really like to know if I’d actually get a job, and where that job might be. I’d really, really love to know if our lives endup the way we think they’ll end up–or not.

But behind all that desiring is an unhealthy lack of faith in God. Basically, if the God that saved you and the God that has kept you for this day, for this entry in the blog, then it’s the same God that will keep you for your life, whatever the outcome.

Many of worry about work, about the daily affairs of our lives. We worry about bills and unexpected expenses. We worry about our health and family. God’s reassurance to us is that He’s got it under control, and He completely and utterly knows what our lives will amount to. So instead of desiring to know all the time, we might as well abide in the One who saves and blesses us, and trust that we are safe as long as we remain in Him.

As I read this evening with my wife, “The Whats of our future are defined by the Who of eternity.”


“Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. Remember that the Lord will give you an inheritance as your reward, and that the Master you are serving is Christ. —Colossians 3:23-24

How many times have you read this one when you’ve had a rough time at work? How many times has your pastor pointed out the fact that we have a master in heaven who loves us, even if our “masters” on earth don’t?

Well, a true key to finding satisfaction at work, regardless of the kind of work you do (legitimate work, that is), is to know who you’re working for. Yes, Mr. Smith may be your immediate supervisor, and he may be the one putting the piles of work on your desk, but your true boss is not on earth. The clearer that picture becomes, the more satisfaction you wil find at work.

I’ve been strugling with this for the past few days. First, I’m paid at a tremendously low hourly rate. It’s not the bare minimum, but it’s enough to pay the major expenses in our everyday lives: rent, food, telephone bills and transportation. At the end of the month, I’m not sure how much will be left for anything else. Thankfully we have savings to use. My point is that the low level of pay, and thus thelow level of responsibility and challenge, can blur the focus of who my true employer is. I see this position I have as a test of my faith, testing my belief that God’s always going to provide for me, and this job is an example of his provisions. It may not provide riches or a store of savings, but it does provide for my family’s needs.

I could never have seen myself in this position: a family to support and a job that isn’t going beyond my financial expectations. Yet, I know, too, that God’s doing a new thing here for me, and He’s always cared for us, provided for us, and nurtured us. So why should this situation bring about any worry? Trusting God to bring you through transitions, through gaps, across mighty rivers and deep oceans, is one way to live a life a true faith.


I wanted to share with visitors this incredible series of comments from a random visitor who, after 9 months of being unemployed, found work the day after she posted on my blog. I say very clearly that my blog was not responsible for her finding work, and I take no credit on this matter. However, it does highlight one important fact: having paid work that supports your family or yourself is a gift. It might not seem like a gift while you’re working, but as you will read below, being without work when you’d just about do anything is far worse than having work. Having a godly attitude at work, regardless of the kind of work or the pay you receive or the status of your job title, is, at the end of the day, far more important.

Here is the visitor’s comments below:

“I, too, typed in “God what am I supposed to do?” Did you ever imagine that phrase would be one that brought so many people to your page??

I’m sitting here watching yet ANOTHER free dvd from the library after a dinner of frozen asparagus and bread and cheese, shivering because I can’t afford to turn on my heat, and wondering what I’m going to do now that I’ve drawn the last $30 I’m eligible for in unemployment checks. I’m a good worker, a hard worker, a smart worker. I hate handouts. But I’ve applied for job after job, week after week, for 9 months now and gotten TWO interviews out of it. I pray about it, talk with strong Christians in my life about it, read scripture and meditate on it with my current situation in mind… and still find myself typing my ultimate query and frustration into a Google search. Why?!

You just feel so empty of answers, of logic, of the ability to reason sometimes. You know wisdom is given to those who seek it, but at the end of the day you still want to have a roof over your head, food in your belly. Wisdom may teach you the worthlessness and temporary nature of so many of the things we take for granted as “necessary” parts of our lives, but does wisdom then tell us to expect to live a life of abject poverty and constant hunger because abundance isn’t “necessary”?

I’m not looking for something miraculous. I’m not looking to make loads of money, or even as much as I made at my last job (which I lost because the company closed due to the crumbling economy which is hurting so many of us). I’m not looking for greatness, for gold, or for glory.

I’m looking for sustenance. For the ability to pay my rent, pay for my car, pay for my student loans. To pay back my grandmother who’s generosity has kept me in groceries. To pay back my also-struggling parents who’ve given me so much in the way of true love and support. For the ability to work. To serve and love through work. I love people, I love committing to a task, I love bringing things to completion, I love working.

What’s happening? What is this? Why is this? How is it we can follow God’s commands on how to deal with situations like this and *still* find ourselves, find each other, heaped into a comment board on a stranger’s web page as we all ask this questions we can’t seem to get an answer to?! “God! WHAT am I supposed to DO?!”

I can wait. I have been waiting. I will continue to wait. And I’m running out of money and credit and no closer to a job than I’ve been since I lost my job in May ‘08. I will continue to wait. Maybe that’s what we’re all supposed to do. But the loss, sacrifice, heart ache, pain, and sadness resulting from the situations mentioned on this page– if waiting is what we’re supposed to be doing, shouldn’t some of those symptoms lessen since we’re doing what we’re called to do?

I will continue to wait.”

This is perhaps the most meaningful comment I’ve read on my blog thus far. This entire blog acts as an organic archive of people’s lives around the world who are struggling, including myself. So it’s immensely profound that someone would make an expression of their thoughts, anxieties, worries, and post it as a comment. As Behnnie writes, ” I pray about it, talk with strong Christians in my life about it, read scripture and meditate on it with my current situation in mind…and still find myself typing my ultimate query and frustration into a Goodle search. Why?!”  I’m sure there’s a thesis dissertation lurking in Behnnie’s writing, just waiting and wanting to be penned. How and why is it that so many people type those exact search words into a search engine, seeking meaning? It’s like using and typing in some keywords, praying and hoping for divine intervention or to hear God’s gentle voice. Waiting is so difficult, yet, in many ways, God becomes clearer because of it.


I *thought* I was a random visitor, sent here via your friend and mine: Google. But perhaps it was via a more literal Deus ex machina? LOL! The real irony, though, is in the timing of that comment I left on your blog. You see: After 9 months of unemployment I got a job today.

For the past 2+ years (plus summers since high school) I worked for the family business which, recently beset by one unfortunate struggle after another, finally had to close after 12 years as the weight of the crashing economy further burdened our efforts. Scores of people lost their jobs when the business closed, most of them with spouses and children to support. It was a difficult situation all around. Luckily, however, my dad was able to use his connections to find jobs within days, sometimes even hours, for almost every employee who needed the help. Almost every employee except me. I’ve got two degrees, several years’ work experience, and references who’d loan me kidneys, but no employers were interested. If that ain’t a blow to the self-esteem I don’t know what is.

I spent the summer working with my family helping close things down on the business end, dismantling steel case cubicles to be recycled for cash to keep us in groceries, selling off our remaining inventory of pens, staplers, and post-it notes to keep us in fuel; it was a summer I want to forget. Every day was sad. Every day was the end of days. Every day was a reason to think that maybe, just maybe, things would be better if there would be no more to follow.

I began looking for work in earnest as our efforts to finalize the company began to draw to a close in August. I wanted to look sooner, but every day so far had been so filled with work, sadness, and stress that somehow walking into people’s offices brandishing my resume and a smile seemed a near impossibility. And the that work that filled our days? It was work that didn’t pay. Work that made us weep. But we had God. We had each other. And I? I had a few friends. I had naps. I had library dvds. I had more naps…

I faithfully applied for at least two jobs a week (a condition of receiving unemployment checks), but companies were beginning to really realize the gravity of the economic depression so no one wanted to hire until we all had a better grip on what to expect. All told I attended one job fair (if you’ve ever attended a job fair you understand why attending even one is more than sufficient!), signed up with four staffing agencies and one talent agency, registered with countless job sites (Monster, CareerBuilder, etc.) which I checked religiously, sent emails to everyone I knew, and searched Craig’s List on a daily basis for postings that weren’t scams. I applied for anywhere from 5-15 jobs a week, every week, for 6 months. If there’s any business in this area that doesn’t have my resume, references, and position specific cover letter at this point I’d be heartily surprised!

From these months of effort I netted one follow-up call asking if I knew how to use Power Point, one interview through a staffing service for a job that went to someone else, and one interview last week which I got because a friend works there and put in a good word for me with HR. My deferred student loans start up again in March, my windshield is cracked from end to end, my auto insurance is up for renewal, and I just drew my final unemployment check on Sunday. It totaled $30. Which brings us to today. To a phone call. To a follow up on last week’s interview. To an offer for a job paying $0.46 more per hour than I need to pay my bills. To a job I don’t know how to do yet but will learn faster than I’ve ever learned anything. To a job near my home. To a job with a friend.

Praise the Lord, stranger. After 9 months in a terrible economy: I have a job.

God has always known my needs, always met them. He has provided ways for me to get by financially during my period of unemployment. He has provided me with strength on days I couldn’t bear to get out of bed. He has provided me with peace and encouragement when I was ready to check out. He has provided me with family and friends who love me and who give me the opportunity to love. And now he has provided me, after nearly a year of waiting, with a job. When following gifts like strength, love, and encouragement, the job really does seem the least of those in many ways doesn’t it…

Character forming.

Two words to summarize this week’s work week.

My first week at work was one of simple and straightforward tasks on the job. There isn’t much room for creativity when you’re simply entering data into a company database. But I think the lessons were still clear: keep your eyes on things above.

I realized that I’ve transitioned (temporarily, at least) from unemployment to underemployment. Yes, I have a job where I’ll earn a paycheck, but perhaps the tasks and responsibilities are not exactly employing the skills that I already possess, and I have yet to expand any set of skills. Of course it’s only the first week at work, and I think I’ll be doing much more than what I’ve just done. Yet I think it’s interesting to see that unemployment, underemployment, and meaningful employment all lack meaning when your eyes aren’t on things above.

When you’re unemployed, you think that God’s abandoned you, or that He’s not listening to your careful and sometimes tearful prayers. That’s not true, is it? He’s always there (Yahweh), shaping us, nurturing us, sustaining us, providing for us, and caring for us. I am so thankful that He provided for us during the last few months.

 In terms of being underemployed, I think this is similar to being unemployed in that one needs to one simple thing: trust God. The sculpting hands of God does wonders when it comes to being able to do something in a godly way, especially if it’s menial or boring, and to do it in a way that brings glory to God. Waiting for God to provide a job when you’re unemployed, and faithfully carrying out our tasks while we’re underemployed, are two very similar things.

So if you’re experiencing unemployment or underemployment, I think the key to getting through this season is to remember that your employer is God above, not Joe below. Are you working for a salary that is well below your expectations and abilities? Keep working and bring glory to God, and watch how the experience changes your attitudes. Are you doing tasks that seem suitable for a bunch of well trained chimps? Keep your eyes on things above and do your “chimp work” so well that people will be amazed by your attitude (and your attitude comes from God!).

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feed them. Are  much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?”

Matthew 6:25-27

If you’ve followed this at all, you’d be wondering how many Fridays have passed since I first began this blog. I’m not quite sure, but thankfully it’s still on two hands. I have a final interview this afternoon with the hiring managers at an insurance institute, and that’s the best news I’ve had for weeks now. My faith has been tested throughout this unemployment run, and I’m sure there’s more testing to come. I feel anxious about the interview, but a voice at the back of my mind continues to assure me that even if this interview isn’t successful, I am still firmly in the God’s hands and I haven’t been abandoned. God is for us, and if He’s for us, what more can I ask of Him?

The impatience that I’ve felt, accompanied by heavy doses of frustration and helplessness, just goes to show me how dependent I am on God. I can’t explain all of those moments when I’ve felt as though no one in the world would hire me, and as though my immediate future was in vertical descent. Yet, even if it were rapidly spiralling downwards, God would still be there, and sometimes I can misjudge how far I need to fall to realize His sovereignty over my life.

I’m sure there are thousands of husbands or young fathers (or mature ones for that matter) out there in the world with similar questions and worries. I’m unemployed. Who am I now? What am I supposed to do? How will I feed my family if my savings are depleted? How will I pay the rent next month? Where is God in all of this? Am I alone on this?

One of the most reassuring observations I’ve made throughout this period of unemployment has been this: I am not alone. First and foremost, God’s always with me. He has promised to be with me at all times. He never leaves. He’s omnipresent. Second, as a human, I am not in a unique position of unemployment, nor am I the only person in the world who doesn’t have a job. It may feel like it sometimes, and self-pity scrapes the walls of our minds, but truly, I am not alone. Just go to any recruitment office, job fair or expo; visit a coffee shop mid-morning, look around and see very clearly that there are many, many others who are unemployed, on disability, or are unable to work.

This isn’t reason to draw happiness from seeing people less fortunate than you. Not at all. What I’m trying to point out is that sometimes the voice that accuses you of being the only person in the world with an unemployment problem is the same voice that tells you all of the other lies: “You’re unemployable,” “You haven’t accomplished anything in your life,” “You’ll never get a job,” “No one would hire a guy like you.” And that devilish voice could go on and on until you start believing it to be true.

But today’s blog is to drown out that voice. There is a purpose, a job, some kind of work, that God wants us to do. And He’s got it there for us. It may not be glamorous, it may not be executive-class, and it may even seem mundane or useless. But knowing that God gives us all things, we can rest assured that our working lives or the things we do each day can bring glory to God.

Well the prospect of a job is getting better, as I have one of the best leads I’ve had since I began looking for work six weeks ago. In addition to that, I’ve registered with another recruiter and there’s a big potential for work with a non-profit organization. I met with them yesterday and my computer skills assessment even wowed me, as I did very well on the MS Office package skills.

I’ve been greatly encouraged by a radio series called, “Discover the Word,” by RBC Ministries. One podcast in particular made an impact on my life. It was by the senior teacher of the series, who teaches at one of the most famous seminary colleges in the world, and whose voice and radio manner is very pleasant and inspired. Anyhow, his story was about how Abraham followed God’s direction and went to a place he had never been before, and to his great surprise/horror, there was a famine in the land. The broadcaster told a story of how he was a young father of two who, at that time, was at the bottom of his financial barrel. He and his wife had no idea how they were going to make it through their “famine.”  He even recalled having knelt beside his bed and said to God, “God, if this is what You mean by providing for our needs, then I don’t want any part of it.” But God was faithful. Period. God was faithful. Period. One more time, God was faithful. The most reassuring part of this discussion was the wise words learned from experience, that God is faithful, that He provides for all of our needs, and He knows exactly what He’s doing. Yes, we may strugle with waiting, battle under pressure and try to do things on our own. But this broadcaster said, reaching what I assume is the late fall or early winter of his life, that through experience of having lived a long life, he knows the biblical and scriptural promise that God made to us: God is faithful.

And that’s exactly what brought me light yesterday, a somewhat slow Monday morning. As I’ve written before, some days I feel as though there’s no hope for a job, that I’ll be unemployed and suffering in a drought. But no, God will provide, even at the eleventh hour, He will be there. In fact, He’s always there, nurturing us, showing us, caring for us, scultping our hearts. And I’m thankful for the plans he has for me and my family, and I pray continuously for His provisions and blessing in our lives. “Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying.” (Romans 12:12)

Three weeks into my job hunt. Still looking.

I can’t describe this experience, only to say that my patience level is being sharpened finely. I don’t think anyone in the world actually enjoys looking for work. What’s more is the difficulty of everyday living: life is made extremely challenging without a work-focus that provides structure in our everyday lives.

What should I do today?

Search the job boards. Click apply. Write a few more cover letters and attach my resumes. Wait for that call and iron my shirt in in the meantime. Play with my son for a while and watch him giggle enormously at my antics. Sip a cup of coffee and read an article or two. Order books from the library.  Give my wife a hug and remind myself that work will eventually come. Some time. Have a bowl of canned macaroni and beef, just because I’m hungry at 3:46 in the afternoon. Think of fond and sweet times with family in New Zealand. Edit a few photos in my digital photo collection. (Picasa rocks!) Count the days left until my rent cheque is due. check our bank account balances. Check our stocks in Australia. Check my RRSPs. Close my eyes and move to those beautiful, rolling and pleated green hills of New Zealand.

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What I’m reading now

"Wanderlust: A Social History of Travel," by Laura Byrne Paquet (Fredericton:Goose Lane Editions, 2007) "The Global Soul: Jet Lag, Shopping malls, and the Search for Home," by Pico Iyer (Toronto: Random House of Canada, 2000). "Outliers: The Story of Success," by Malcolm Gladwell (New York: Little, Brown, and Company, 2008).

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