GOD: The CEO of my Life

Before I go any further, let the record state that God was right and I was wrong.

O.K. Now let me explain. I had been a bit perturbed with the King of Glory for quite some time. After the layoff, I wanted to use a portion of my funds to finish paying off my car. While it would have been a great portion of my finances, I thought it would be a very good idea to have no car note. Well, it wasn’t long before I called for a payoff quote, budgeted the amount and started dreaming about the day I would have full ownership of the car. It was a glorious occasion where I would race to the credit union, withdraw with a cashier’s check, skip to the post office, and send those little financial soldiers to the payment center.

That high didn’t last. My bubble was burst and the Lord kept pressing me to not pay the car off. Of course I thought my plan was better and would make perfect sense considering my situation. Instead, he led me to use the funds for other things. I was not a happy little girl. Fast forward a year later, I was still making car payments and I began to enumerate the many reasons why God should have allowed me to pay the car off. Although it’s a moot point, I thought it needful to continue pressing the “why” behind the “what” and the Lord was sure to answer.

In April of this year, my lease expired and I wanted to move closer to where I am currently working so I applied for an apartment and the shock of my life happened. I was denied because they said I had a previous charge off on my credit from a former apartment. While speaking with one of the leasing agents, I told her I would appeal the decision and would need to review my credit report. Well, (confession is good for the soul) I broke a lease many moons ago and slacked in paying the balance off. Right around the time when I was weeping and gnashing of teeth with God about paying off the car, he led me to pay that balance off. The denial was only partially correct. The report showed I broke a rental agreement with a management complex I never did and the outstanding balance was already cured. Thankfully I had proof!

Second confession: I also thought that I should save some of the funds for a career change and was looking to teach ESL (English as a Second Language) in a different country with a potential for reimbursement for air fare and one month rent. It never happened. As I laid on the carpet foaming at the mouth, I thought God was being cruel and unusual. Fast forward nine months later, one of my co-workers talked about how she had a substantial amount of money and instead of using the funds for an emergency, she paid all of her outstanding credit card debts on the premise of a job offer. The problem was, the company rescinded the offer because the position would no longer be available. The requisition was closed and she was out of a lot of money. She said, “sometimes you make decisions in the moment with what you know.”

While this may be partially correct, for me, I know that wasn’t the case. If it had not been for God, I would be in a far worse situation and now I completely understand the scripture that admonishes us to “trust in the Lord with all thine heart and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him and he shall direct your paths.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)  God knows our thoughts before we can imagine to think them and he sees the end from the beginning. It may not look right or make sense, but relying upon his omniscience is Christian insurance against the unexpected.

Nine Precious Souls

Nine of my brothers and sisters in Charleston, South Carolina met a horrible fate by one 21 year old man who, decided to play God by determining who can live and who should die. Of course it is clearly written God has said, “all souls are mine and the soul that sinneth shall surely die.” (Ezekiel 18:4)

This massacre is a prime example of the presence of evil that sickens the earth and the people in it. As such, circumstances like this give occasion for the political pundits to promote their agenda. Some officials are too cowardly to say what needs to be said and do those things that are right. Not in the eyes of men but in the eyes of God. No wonder the Apostle Peter said, “we must obey God rather than men.” (Acts 5:29)

Racism. Pride. Greed. Arrogance. Hatred and such the like bring us to the same end as it always has before: Nowhere. We talk a good game but are helpless to bring about any real change. Why? Because no matter how many laws are put into place, man in his best efforts cannot and will not change the heart of man. The prophet Jeremiah said it best that the heart is “desperately wicked and deceitful above all things.” (17:9) Tragedy always exposes the filth and depravity of man and the need to repent and seek after God always seems elusive. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if people would see their need for their hearts to be touched by God and submit to the transformative power of the Holy Spirit? This world would indeed be a better place, but at best what we will do is have heated debates, heightened displays of emotionalism, maybe a passing of a gun law or two, and a perhaps the removal of a controversial confederate flag.

Too bad it took nine lives for that conversation to happen…again.

My heart aches and grieves because my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus were taken and quite frankly, I want vengeance. The act wasn’t senseless by any means because if someone researches and plots a murder for six months as media outlets have stated, then the execution happened with great precision. Make no mistake, this was not random and it shouldn’t be excused as such. But this is where my consolation rests: my spiritual family is with the Lord and the truth be told, to “be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord,” (II Corinthians 5:8) is a much better place than I am in tonight.

I grieve with the families, friends, associates, and lawmakers who have been impacted in a painful way. And I hope to God that we as the body of Christ, can see this as a wake-up call to awaken out of our spiritual slumber and pray for his kingdom to come.

It’s Not Always Your Fault

If you are anything like me, when things do not go your way or you were unable to prevent misfortune, then you are plagued with the guilt complex and you might do one or all of the following:

  1. Blame yourself for what happened.
  2. See yourself as either the root cause or an accessory (even if it isn’t true).
  3. Accept all negative circumstances as directly related to some unfortunate circumstance of which you are now a part of.
  4. Put on your Christian thinking cap and rationalize the trial as the conduit of salvation.
  5. Become a martyr (or at least think you are one).
  6. Become a self-saboteur and fulfill self-fulfilling prophecy (of which God never said).
  7. Search the scriptures and look for that one individual who at least suffered like you or probably far worse. At first this starts off like consolation but can eventually turn into an ego trip or believing you are becoming number five on this list.

Over a year ago I was financially devastated by a lay off. My position at said institution was eliminated and for the first time in my life I was shattered to the core. I had a little bit of severance and had to live off of my savings to maintain. What wounded my soul the most was I went from a decent paying job to zero all in one day. At first the executive said, “oh, you guys have nothing to worry about. This region is a major hub and we are doing business.” Have you heard of the saying, “I know they are lying because their lips are moving?” I found this to be true. Shortly thereafter, other departments were being laid off in droves and the position I held at the time seemed like it was hanging in abeyance. But good news came along and the company kept my position through organizational restructuring and with a new boss and team, I finally understood what the Apostle Paul meant when he said, “I fought with beasts at Ephesus.” (I Corinthians 15:32) In the meantime, I was trying to reposition myself to avoid the company ax.

A little after one year of the transition, I was pulled into the office and told “effective today, your position is being eliminated.” Mind you, this was after the pay raise….

I no longer believe in the American Dream.

Because God has an outstanding track record of supplying my need for employment, I was assured that it was going to be easy breezy. With a polished resume in hand, it was time to look for another job. I was optimistic and selective. So much so that the companies I wanted to work for were interviewing me for multiple positions. But that high didn’t last. Once I explained my reason for seeking employment, then the floodgates of pity, insults, and rejection overwhelmed my soul. Then I wondered what did I do to deserve this. I started thinking I should have prayed harder, been open to apply for any position but the truth is, when prospective employers see you’re overqualified they will not hire you. When prospective employers fear you because of their own insecurities, they will not hire you. When they tell you how wonderful your skill set is, they have no intentions of letting your in through the front door. And heaven forbid you come across a recruiter who didn’t do a good job of describing the role and when you go to the interview, you find out your skill set was not comparable. That interview lasted five, about ten minutes max!

So once again I look to my friend Job for some answers and this one thing struck me as odd but wonderful. Although Job went through serious troubles, God did not appropriate blame to him. We know the root instigator was Satan and these difficulties were permitted. For me that is good news because no matter how hard I try, things will get out of control whether it is an intentional or unintentional consequence. To realize God sees me in my chaos and knows that I wasn’t the root cause of the layoff, brings great relief.

Some say rejection is direction. Well, I don’t believe that because for every rejection I received it left me feeling dejected, confused and did not give me an indication of the next step. It was only when the Lord said or showed me things is when I knew where to go or what to do. During the process I had to follow God on a need to know basis and believe me, my perception of his instructions were not always clear, but whatever he showed me came to pass.

At this time I am not fully restored and I do not know when it will end. I am sure Jesus would say, “it is not needful for you to know the times or the seasons” (Acts 1:7) but while I am walking this out, the moments of relief provide a glimmer of hope.

Pray for me and I will pray for you.

Your sister in tribulation,

Lady Dunamis

Humility: The Fear Repellant

My friend and fellow blogger Susan raised the why issue about my blog “And There Was a Day” which caused me to examine the potential origins of God’s provocation by Satan.

This morning I was thinking about a new business analyst the company hired and he is the proverbial pit bull unleashed on all the other analysts. In fact, he is quite annoying and the fear he inspires does more to harm than increase morale.

There is one AR analyst of whom I am working with and in my brief encounter with her she is very arrogant and prideful. She dresses well and knows how to perform her job, but she lacks tact in delivering constructive, timely feedback, her communication is unclear, and is easily offended when someone comes along and does what she does better. Why did I add the fact she dresses well? Because some people wear their “hearts on their sleeves” and anyone with a discerning eye can see that about her. The fact she knows she dresses well is just as aggravating as the fire breathing analyst.

To add insult to injury, he micromanages and has little to no knowledge about the job. That is demoralizing and even his gait gives you the impression that he “walks about like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour.” (I Peter 5:8) My takeaway from her and everyone’s dilemma is to learn how to manage my emotions in turbulent times because it is not just a choice between making five digits to none, but a matter of spiritual maturity.

To be fair, the department is having a hard time in raising production and I think poor hiring choices, cultural assumptions/prejudices, and a lack of systemic accountability breed mistrust and contempt for those of us who are new to the scene.

Now we all ask why and it is a very good question but for us Christians it is never about the situation as much as it is about what God is trying to produce in us using the dilemmas. We know the scripture that tells us “all things work together for good” (Romans 8:28) and “if God be for us who can be against us.” (Romans 8:31) Those are encouraging but when in the midst of the flames of affliction, we opt for escape instead of God turning down the volume of the heat.

Scripture also reveals a sneaky little detail. In the first chapter in the book of Job, Satan in his own clandestine way implied God was not in control by saying, “oh God, I am just walking around with nothing to do.” (Job1:7) That was a challenge to God’s sovereignty and the Lord God of heaven read in between the lines. We see this as the dialogue unfolds with God’s response of “have you considered my servant Job?” (Job 1:8)

The book of Job is more about God’s sovereignty than what Job endures. From a human perspective, we want to know the root cause. I think through Job’s experience we see that it could not be just one thing but many issues that needed to be addressed. For example, Job offered sacrifices for his children in case they sinned against God, yet this begs the question, was Job being a godly man or a fearful man and trying to play God in his children’s lives believing that God might destroy them? Job was the richest man in the east but was he inspired by fear of losing it all or did he believe the hand of the Lord prospered him?

And what about Job’s wife? How secure was she when Job was afflicted beyond belief? Instead of “honey, God will get us through this because I have complete faith in him.” She vehemently tells Job to “curse God and die.” (Job 2:9) I believe, this was more about Satan challenging God and consequently Job’s fear was revealed and his faith put on trial.

Why did I title this “Humility: The Fear Repellant?” Remember the previous AR analyst I talked about? Now when she gives instructions, it exudes fear and as I said before, the lesson for me is really about being humble. Not to avoid the business analyst’s wrath but showing godly reverence to the Father by rejecting my proverbial soap box. When I remain humble and continue to pray, the business analyst becomes nothing more than God’s servant and this reaffirms that God is on the throne. And I am able to go to work, be undisturbed and perform my job with excellence.

If we must ask why, then remember one of Bishop Noel Jones’ sermons many years ago titled “It is a Question of Power.” For us, it is a question of God’s power, not ours.