We continue our Pray A to Z series today, and J is for Job Seekers. You can get caught up on the entire series here. If you haven’t downloaded your free, printable prayer cards, you may get those here.
Today’s post comes from my friend Gary Wade. I worked with Gary and his wife, Melissa, over a decade ago. Fun fact: Gary and I team-teach a 1st grade classroom at church. He storytells on the even Sundays, and I do on the odd Sundays. Gary and his family have a story to tell, and I’m excited to share part of that story with you today.
It sucks to be without a job.
There, I said it. I know, it might not be a very Christian thing to say, but it’s the reality of the situation and me just being transparent. Jobs don’t define us, but they do give us a sense of purpose – a purpose that is “hard wired” in to us by a God who said we are fearfully and wonderfully made – especially men.
Fifteen months. That’s the amount of time that I was out of work. Every day I woke up, prayed and then pounded the pavement and keyboard to find a job. Every rejection made the phone harder to pick up. I tried to pull up my bootstraps, but frankly those straps were are barely visible anymore.
And then there was filing for unemployment and the weekly reporting that was required. I didn’t want to be here – the bankruptcy of my employer wasn’t MY choice, but it was the reality that now engulfed our family.
How do you trust God to provide for you? You are doing your part, and you don’t see any progress. How do you put on the “happy face” to go into an interview when you are getting desperately low on the finances? It’s easier to get depressed and spend the whole day in bed rather than slogging through a day-after-day rejection. I don’t know anyone who could enjoy such a thing.
Over the course of 15 months, I made it to the “final round” over eight times, and I discovered that I was a runner-up in five of those cases. Where were those friends that said they would help me no matter what? The jobs they always told me they had – just seemed to vanish into thin air.
I continued awaking each morning and filling my mind with encouraging and hope-filled scripture. One of my favorites, 1 Peter 5:6-7, says this, “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” And then there’s Joshua 1:9, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”
I was at the end of my rope and frankly didn’t know how to pray anymore (and I’m a preacher’s kid, I should know how to do this), so these verses became my prayer.
I was supposed to be the spiritual leader in my family and now, I felt like I wasn’t able to provide for them. I felt very inadequate as a man.
Oh, did I mention that we also had our 9-year old daughter battling cancer at this same time?
Eventually I did find a job, one that fits my skills sets better than I could have imagined. And five of the jobs I had interviewed for, well, they have now been eliminated. Thanks God.
Looking back, God’s timing was perfect. I was able to be by my daughter’s side during her dramatic fight with cancer, and I was able to maintain a freelance business from the hospital. Painful, yes. But all of our family’s needs were taken care of during this time.
Lesson learned: My job doesn’t define me, God does. He knows and provides for my needs, even when I can’t feel it. Never stop asking for help. He (and so many others) wants to help… he just needs our humble participation. Easier said than done.
Gary Wade is a family man who lives in Grand Rapids, MI and tries to wrangle family and work life with God at his right hand. A 25-year veteran of the PR/Communications world, he relishes the challenges of daily life and seeks opportunities to pour his life and experiences into others. He’s the husband to Melissa, and the father to Dallas (age 20), Sydnie (age 12) and Jaydon (age 10).
Grab your J Card:
- Write down names of those who are job hunting, whether they are unemployed, under employed, or need a better job situation.
- Pray that families in need of jobs will experience God’s miraculous provision during this time.
- Ask God to show you any practical help or encouragement you might provide to unemployed families in your community.
Tweetables:As we #PrayAtoZ J is for Job Seekers.
#Pray for those in need of jobs. Read one man’s story here, and then #PrayAtoZ
My Job doesn’t define me, God does. #PrayAtoZ
Looking back, God’s timing was perfect. All of our family’s needs were taken care of. #PrayAtoZ