"Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy."
April 15, 2008 started out as a normal day until I got a call. I was living and working in London at the time and the Training Department was under new management and going through some changes. I didn’t think my area would be impacted. Not only does a British accent make everything sound better, they even have words that soften the blow a bit. For example, the letter in my severance packet said that I was “made redundant due to the reorganization of the department” and I was given three-months paid “gardening leave” during which time I could participate in outplacement and try to find another position within the firm since because I was there on a work visa I couldn’t look for a job with another employer.
Although a three-month paid leave and severance might not sound so bad, I was thinking ahead to the prospect of having to return to New York without a job or a place to live. Talk about trials and trouble. I can tell you that joy was not my first response; but during those three months God drew me closer and provided opportunities to deepen my relationship with him and my church family that I would never have experienced had I been working 12-14 hour days as usual. I was able to attend mid-week worship and early morning women’s ministry; I went to several Christian conferences and heard the word preached faithfully. I even got to serve at camp and cook for 60 people and lead a study for the group, which was a joy for me.
There were so many things that happened during that time that had to be God: my lease was up at the end of August so I didn’t have to worry about breaking the lease, the firm had no obligation to move me back to NY but they paid for my move and even provided me with a ticket home, the outplacement was a tremendous support because I had been working for the firm for over 12 years, so it had been a long time since I looked at my resume or worked on interview skills and when I returned to New York, my sister took me in and helped me find place to live. She also introduced me to someone who offered me a position within 6 weeks of my return.
Is there an area of your life where you are facing challenges? What choice do you make when you experience troubles in your life? Do you get angry at God for allowing the trial, become discouraged because you thought your life would be easier because you are a Christian, or do you stoically struggle without hope? Look for the hand of God holding you up. It’s there. He is faithful to develop our character; not necessarily our comfort. So today, pray that you will find joy in your trials which God can use for your good and His glory.
Anita Jackson is a native New Yorker. She has been attending the Journey Church for 4 years, and she enjoys cooking and baking, and finding deals and discounts for entertainment in NYC.