I have a friend who is a devout Christ-follower. He has a huge heart for Jesus, abundantly displays the fruit of the Spirit, and uses his mastery of the Word to serve God and not impress people. After a period of unemployment, he found a job about a year ago. He recently made a mistake that was very costly to his employer and as a result, was let go. It can be very difficult to accept that God allows things like that to happen to people like him. Why wouldn’t God have protected him from his mistake? Why do many non-believers prosper financially while good and faithful servants struggle? My friend’s experience prompted me to revisit a verse I have discussed previously here at Fresh Start:
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28 (NIV)
That means everything that happens to us is an expression of God’s love. That’s a difficult concept to grasp, even for the most devout believer. How can making a job-ending mistake be an illustration of God’s love for us? There are a lot of possibilities. Here are just some:
- While the job was financially necessary, it’s possible that God didn’t want my friend to settle for an opportunity but rather wait for a calling. In other words, God planned for this season of employment to be a short one.
- God may allow things like this to happen to strengthen our character or grow our faith.
- Or God may allow the faithful to suffer through these things so others can see the person’s faith in action.
- Similarly, God may use this experience so others can see Him reward my friend’s faithfulness.
I have made tremendously stupid mistakes (including since I’ve been saved) that have made me ask why God would let me do something so stupid. But I can look back and realize how I learned from the hardship those mistakes have created and how God used them to transform me. A couple of key passages to remember:
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways submit to Him and He will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV). I read recently that God uses crooked sticks (us) to make straight lines. He can make a straight line our of our mistakes, although we may not see it right away, or ever.
So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10 (NIV). God is always there during painful periods, even when the pain is self-inflicted.
This period of uncertainty we’ve been in for most of 2020 has made it easier than ever to make big mistakes. Everything is new and we don’t like the changes. Missteps will come more freely than ever. We can’t help being judged and evaluated on the human-level by those mistakes. But we can remember that God’s not keeping score and He’s still there with us. He may not keep us from making mistakes, but He still has our backs when we do. That means when we remain faithful and trust in Him and obey His Word, one day He will say to us: “Well done good and faithful servant.” And we will hear that regardless of what our employment records look like.
This post is republished with permission from Oakbrook Church, De Pere WI.