It is a humbling experience filing for unemployment. There is a lot of paperwork to fill out, skills tests to take, resume building, and an interview with an employment specialist at what are called “Worksource Oregon” centers. Yesterday was my day to go in and speak to the specialist.
Since I live out in the country, my drive into the city takes about 20-30 minutes. It is a straight stretch of highway, so generally I’m singing along with the radio or talking things over with God. Yesterday, I was definitely doing the latter. My frustration had kind of peaked. I’ve been waiting for a call to serve as a pastor or other ministry professional for several years now. To-date, there haven’t been any openings for me. I’m not a patient man, so occasionally I let my emotions get the best of me, and I let fly on God.
So, yesterday, on my way into the unemployment office, I challenged God. I demanded that He give me a sign that He was in control of things, and that He was lining up the perfect job for me. I needed to know that He was still calling me to ministry. It wasn’t a great moment for me – challenging the God I serve. But, I needed to let Him know about my frustration at the moment.
I finished my conversation with God, and as I was pulling into the parking lot of the unemployment office, the DJs on the radio (I was listening to KLOVE) caught my attention. They were reading the “verse of the day.” Here’s what it was:
Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. ~ Philippians 4:6
Wow! That was definitely what I needed to hear. I’ve read that verse hundreds of times, but it still got me in that moment. I was praying to God about what I need, and I am thankful for what He has done in my life (He has changed it and made it 1,000,000,000 times better!). I knew that one was for me. But, God wasn’t done yet.
As I walked into the unemployment office and checked in for my interview with the employment specialist, I was already feeling better. No, I didn’t think the State of Oregon was in the business of placing pastors. But, I did know that God was listening, and that He had things on track – His track.
The specialist came out to get me, and we walked back to his cubicle to discuss my unemployed status and talk about what jobs I would be interested in pursuing. I wore my CROSS Training shirt, and he commented that he liked it. He was a believer too. As we were talking, I looked around his cubicle space. God then delivered another sign. This time, it was a literal sign! Hanging on the wall of his cubicle was a placard that read:
For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength. ~ Philippians 4:13
When I saw that, I was floored. God gave me an actual sign! A literal sign! It was hanging there in the unemployment office! He was telling me that He will give me the strength to make it through this rough patch.
Needless to say, I may not have any jobs lined up yet, but I will continue to serve him with, or without pay. God’s got my back, and He will see this through.