Out of the Frying Pan

CastIron1.jpgHappy belated New Year, Sky City Girls! I hope that 2007 is off to a beautiful start for each of you. But if perhaps it isn’t, this post is for you.

January brought a piece of sad news: One of my closest friends was just laid off. Called in, sat down, and told she was being replaced. (We’ll call her Sarah.) Sarah had a pretty good job at a well-respected company. She handled administrative duties for, and basically took care of, two vice presidents. This included expense reports and other number-crunching, however, which drove artistic Sarah a bit crazy. `

Now, when Sarah broke the news to me, my immediate response was along these lines:

“This just means your “dream job” is around the corner! God has something perfect waiting for you. You just have to trust and keep walking forward.” By “perfect”, I meant perfect for her God-given gifts, i.e. her people skills and creativity. By “dream job”, I meant a job that would utilize her strengths – not just one, but all of them. A job that would provide her with the opportunity for advancement, and one that would see her realize her professional dreams. In fact, while letting her go, even her boss chirped to Sarah the same speech.

Now as her last day has come and the dust of the news settles, my words echo in my ears. Is this truly what I believe?

We say, “When God closes one door, He opens another.”

Who says? If by ‘door’ we mean a pleasant circumstance, then we need to rethink the cliche.

Let’s consider Moses for a moment. Actually, at the beginning of his life, he had it made. Rescued by Pharoah’s daughter as an infant, he was raised in Pharaoh’s Egyptian palace! Talk about the dream life. Then, a series of bad choices and circumstances landed him on the backside of the desert. For 40 years! His situation did not immediately reconcile itself. Rather, God saw immeasurable value in the humbling, molding, training ground of a ‘bad situation.’ 40 years worth.

My generation seems the most convinced of this theology. We believe that we will go to college, graduate, and then within, oh, 3-5 years at the most, we should–and are entitled to–be in our “dream job” making big bucks and beginning our accumulation of a house, cars, a family, and three plasma screens. And if we find ourselves the recipient of a raw deal at work, in a relationship, with our family, or our finances, we often assume that this is but a slight bump, and God now owes it to us to get us back on the fast-track to the good life.

Where did we get this? Let me say, we didn’t get it from God.

In God’s economy, instead of upward mobility, we often actually “jump from the frying pan into the fire.” Sometimes, bad turns into ‘worse’. Isaiah says, “When you walk through the fire…” because he knows that in life, we will. Jesus himself was “led like a sheep to the slaughter.” (Not exactly a Dream Job.)

I have heard it said that “God is more concerned with making us holy than happy.”* Please chew on that for a minute. Compare it with your life goals. We are not promised a huge 401-K, a beautiful husband and children, and a three-car garage. In fact, if we receive any of these things, it is only because of God’s grace poured out on our lives.

Today, if you find you that you have gone from the frying pan into the fire, take these words to heart:

“Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned,
the flames will not set you ablaze.
For I am the Lord, your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior…
Do not be afraid, for I am with you.”

Isaiah 43:1-5

Consider: What are my life goals/expectations?

Making it real: I challenge you to offer each of them up to God in prayer. Ask Him for the grace to trust him no matter how life unfolds.

Meditate through music: “If You Want Me To” by Ginny Owens

*Gary Thomas in his book, Sacred Marriage

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