It’s Christmas Day, 2016 and I once again am headed into a new future. It’s quite full of scary, invigorating, hope, wonder, wavering faith and all the emotions that go along with this ride. Last week, quite unexpectedly, I was laid off from my position at my last employer. I have no hard feelings, a lot of unanswered questions and knot in my stomach where I question my place in the universe. I’m not the first person nor will I be the last person to be laid off right before Christmas.
When I was young, my dad was stationed in Okinawa. There was a strange dichotomy between the impoverished local inhabitants working in rice fields against a backdrop of a large modernized military base. The locals mostly lived in bamboo and grass shacks while the military buildings were built with concrete and steel. Typhoons (hurricanes) are common in Okinawa and can be extremely frightening, but what amazed me, even as a small boy, was the aftermath of a typhoon. On base, you would see huge cargo planes, steel buildings and concrete strewn everywhere. It was the belief that the stronger the building material the better it would stand up against the hurricane forces of the Typhoon. The wind is strong so they would build stronger buildings. Out in the countryside, where the locals lived in their grass and bamboo huts, you found little damage. You see, the huts moved with the wind. They were built to adapt to the forces of the wind. So, even though the material was much lighter, the result was that the huts remained pretty much intact while the concrete and steel was torn apart.
I want to move with the winds of adversity, not against them. I can never be stronger that the gale forces that surround me. I must give and adapt to those forces trusting that God will make me and my family pliable enough to withstand the onslaught of the world. Like a tree, I want my roots deep in the spirit so that I can be an handle pressures and typhoons that enter my life.
Christmas should never a time for trepidation and fear. It is a season of hope and new beginnings. I have no doubt that God has my back and that His hand is in this. I have surrendered my will and my family into His hands. I have several ways to look at this.
- I could believe that this is punitive even though I do not believe that God is a punitive God. I think we often take the bad things in life and instead of laying them at the feet of Jesus, we look at the problem as a Godly flogging instead of an opportunity to serve and grow. But I know how very much God loves me and would never hurt me.
- I could just take God out of the whole issue, which is something that often occurs, and look at the issue pragmatically, intending to solve the problem my way without involving God at all. But that is not who I am. God is my God, my savior and my Lord and this problem is much bigger than me. He expects me to lay the problem at His feet as I have done.
- I can choose to understand that God determines when and where He uses me. Not me. He needs me either doing something else or doing it somewhere else or both. This I understand well. As Jesus said in the Garden, “Thy will be done.”
So, I choose number three. That does not mean that I sit on my laurels and wait. It means that I get to work finding where God wants me to be doing what He wants me to do. That’s where the blessings are. That means doing all the normal things that people do when faced with this situation. I dusted off my resume’ and started applying for work. But it also means that God and I talk about the issue… a lot. God has blessed me with a huge skill set, a lot of education and ability to turn my face to the wind to serve His purpose. He is going to put me where I can do the most good for His purpose. I serve at the pleasure of my Lord.
No matter how many time God catches me when I fall, I still fear the fall. I think that is part of being human. My mind and my heart battle over that fear. God brought me here for a reason and I don’t believe that He is through with me. I am going to be in uttermost wonder when he sets me gently back on my feet and I am able to embrace the blessings that He has waiting for me and my family.
I wish everyone the merriest of Christmas seasons and that 2017 with find each of you and your families engulfed in the peace that only God has to offer.