A few years ago, I found myself suddenly unemployed. I reacted to being laid off the way I usually do in situations out of my control. My heart beat out of my chest and my mind raced with thoughts like, “I’m not ready for this!” and “What if I don’t find something else?” Without hesitation, I prayed for God to take control and to be my great Provider as He had always been.
In the seemingly endless weeks following, I sent out hundreds of resumes but to no avail. Despite knowing in my heart God is sovereign, I battled with stress every day. Not hearing back from potential employers felt unbearable and I was consumed with helplessness and worry.
During this time the Bible was a great source of comfort. As I read through the book of Psalms, I was challenged by the many stories of hardship where God showed His love and faithfulness. In Psalm 13, David laments of his sufferings, in distress over his situation. Although he is experiencing great pain he chooses to be thankful and lay down his burdens, trusting in His heavenly Father. He says, “But I trust in your unfailing love. I will rejoice because you have rescued me” (Psalm 13:5).
One day I asked a good friend to pray for me. She prayed I would fully trust in Him and submit to His plan for my life. Her prayer was yet another reminder of God’s control over my situation. It was then I confronted my tendency to worry about so many areas of my life. I realized when I carry stress and worry, I am not fully trusting in God’s capable hands.
In his message God’s Peace in Philippians 4, Chuck Swindoll says we all too often approve of and overlook our anxieties, accepting the state of bondage our worry has us in. We even have reservoirs of worry. But Jesus calls us to lay down our burdens at the cross, our anxieties and our worry. He died to bring us peace and freedom, knowing we have the promise of everlasting life.
I can say with confidence there was a purpose for my unemployment. From this experience I learned an important goal: To rest in the freedom I have as a believer, not accepting a state of stress and worry. He is always in control.