Sunday, April 10, 2011

Receiving A Prophet's Reward!

This is like what I would see on my way to and from work
I folded my hands and went on my knees.

The next two weeks were going to break us financially unless God intervened.  We had been in North Carolina for two years now and I had not been able to obtain employment.  It was  the last week of October 2010.  If I did not get a job quick, November will find us breaking even on the bills and December will find us in the red.  The only income was from Celia’s pension and social security.  Without any other financial means available, we would be short on paying the house bills (including the subdivision’s HOA fees), groceries, car insurance, medicine for Celia and for her to see the doctor, medicine and food for my two German Shepherds, Max (with hip dysplasia) and Gideon, and credit cards.  There would be no way I could hold onto the house and car for that much longer.

I began thinking that, sooner or later, I will need to file for bankruptcy, and apply for government and state financial assistance. I am unable to help my daughters – the main reason I moved to North Carolina from New York – when they may need it.  These and a thousand other difficulties I imagined without a job.  However, what bothered me the most was that I had not been able to contribute for the support of those being persecuted in other countries because if their Christian faith or to help those who have decided to have their baby rather than an abortion.

I went on my hands and knees praying, “Here I am, Father.  You know my desire is be able to contribute to the support of the persecuted and the unborn, to provide for Celia what she needs, to help my daughters, and (as insignificant as it may seem to others) to keep my dogs.  It’s up to you, Lord.  However, if it’s my lot to remain unemployed, let your Presence in my life be strongly felt.  Pour your Spirit in such a way that your life would be lived through me in the same way as when you walked in Jerusalem.”

I then prayed describing what kind of job I needed:
-  I wanted work in a Mail Room (not a warehouse).
-  The pay needed to be no less than $10 an hour.
-  It had to be no more than a 20-minute drive.
-  I wanted it to be in an enjoyable environment.
-  It could not require constant heavy lifting (I am not getting any younger).

I rose off my knees and left it all with my Father in Heaven.  I chose not to worry.

The next week, I received a call from an agency about a job that was temporary but with a permanent position possible.   I began work and immediately enjoyed the responsibilities, the people, and the place.  The people were very friendly.  The job was a perfect fit for me.  I’d drive to work seeing the sunrise and drive back home at the end of the day seeing the sunset.  That was exhilarating and beautiful!  I could hardly believe it!  It was everything – everything! – I had asked from God...except for one thing: the salary.  It was more than I expected.

What’s more, after the probationary period was over, I was hired full-time with a pay raise that was unthinkable to me in such unfavorable economic conditions.  I was getting as much as I made at my job in New York!

I was happy as a bird on a branch with a worm in its beak on a sunny summer day with a cool breeze washing through its feathers.

However, the Bible says that in the Last Days there will come a time when the enemy will be allowed to fight against God’s people and defeat them.  In my case, the time had come a little bit sooner.

Not even a week passed as a permanent employee, when I was called into my manager’s office and informed that a very serious complaint had been made against me.  I was accused of yelling, threatening, and making racial insults against a co-worker.  I was dumbfounded.  Not only was this not true but it was a professing Christian who was accusing me!

Afterwards, I had to meet with representatives of the Human Resources department investigating the allegations. I stated that in no uncertain terms were these allegations true.  Furthermore, I could not think of any reason why this person would make such accusations.  I do not behave that way nor have I ever shown my behavior before all other employees to be otherwise.  In short, these accusations are lies.

Having presented to them a character reference from my pastor to be part of my employee record refuting the charges, I placed the whole situation in God’s hands believing that, if God granted me this job, he would not allow me to be removed.

A few days later, I was called in again and told that I would be let go.  I was so taken by surprise that my only response was, “Okay”.  They asked if I had anything further to say.  To myself I thought, “What can I say? ‘May I please have my job?'  Would an appeal change their minds?”  However, all I said was, “No.”  I got up from my chair, was escorted to gather my things and out the door.

Once I got outside, I immediately called my wife, Celia, on the cell phone and told her, “They let me go.”

That night, I looked out my yard and realized I won’t be getting up to go to work like I had been doing for the past three months.  I thought I would be working there for years because it felt so good, so natural for me.  Yet, tomorrow would come and everyone would be at his or her office, except me.  It was as if someone I loved died; they would not be with me as usual tomorrow.  However, this time, I’m the one who died; I’m the one who was not going to be there in the office as usual tomorrow.  Everyone will go on to do the work without me.

I just couldn’t understand it all.  So many questions: Did not God give me that job?  Then why did he allow me to lose it?  Why was I slandered and by one who claims to be a Christian and who had the Bible laid on his desk?  Why did this co-worker, with whom I had nothing but cordial relations, make such blatantly false accusations?  What had I done to him that he would tell such lies as he did?

I went back on my knees that night.  “Lord”, I prayed, “here I am again.  You know I lost my job.  What am I going to do?”  With a sincere heart, I further implored, “Father, guard my heart and whatever happens, keep me loyal to you.  All I really want is to be faithful.”

I took out my Bible and read Matthew 5:11-12:

Happy are you when people…tell all kinds of evil lies against you because you are my followers.  Be happy and glad, for a great reward is kept for you in heaven.  This is how the prophets who lived before you were persecuted.

After reading this, I realized I needed to leave it all with God.  If I get another job soon, all is well.  If not, all is well.  If I lose all that I now possess and end up without a place to live or lack food to eat, all is well.  I will not be angry, I will not worry.  I will be faithful to God no matter what happens.  What I have lost or will lose here is nothing of value compared to the rewards of heaven.  For the rewards here only last for one lifetime.  The rewards of Heaven are possessed forever, never to be lost, never to be taken away.  In that Day, no one will say, “We are letting you go.”  What I will hear is, “Come in and forever enjoy your rewards.”

If I remain loyal to God like the prophets of old, even when others were speaking evil against them, I too will receive the same rewards they received; a prophet’s reward!

Whether in loss or gain, I seek to be a child who brings joy to Father’s heart and not put him to shame.  Yes, I need a job but losing this one shows me, again, that I need him so much more..."Man does not live by bread alone".

I fold my hands and go on my knees…

2 comments:

  1. Hello Nelson

    I am Rico, a fellow SEA member. I have your blog in my Favorites. I enjoy reading your blogs.

    I can really relate to what you have written here. Many times, I prayed to God and then something happened that I thought was God's answer to my prayer only to find out that it was not.

    I just could not understand it all. I read George Muller and I was encouraged by his prayer life. I tried it but it seems that those things happen only to him not for every Christian.

    To my shame, I have to admit that there have been times (MANY TIMES IN FACT)that I grumbled and complained against God because of it. I really admire your faithfulness to God. Of refusing to worry and not becoming angry against God.

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    1. Rico, thanks for the encouragement. (Sorry for the delay in acknowledging your comment). Much appreciated!

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