Posts Tagged ‘storytelling’

Several months ago I wrote about how I didn’t receive a promotion at work that I had been working so hard to get. It has led me on a journey the last few months wrestling with questions about the events of everyday life. The main questions being, “Is God sovereign over every detail of my life?” “Am I living in a way that lines up with what I believe?” “Do I need to change how I live based on what I believe?”

The Promotion
After months of questioning why I didn’t get the promotion at work, I came to a place of contentment with my current position. I was able to find a new outlook on my mundane job. I was able to see all the opportunities where I could help customers in need and serve them in a way that wasn’t possible when I didn’t want to be there. I was able to see how this job is God’s grace so that I can work hard to provide for my family. Most importantly, I was able to see that I was doing the exact job that I am supposed to be doing, and if I was supposed to be doing a different job, The Lord would have provided a different one.

Well I’m happy to share that I did end up getting a promotion at work! The panel that interviewed me for a previous job opening actually created a new position that was seemingly tailor made for me based on my experience and the needs of the department. I am just overwhelmed with joy and thankfulness.

Where do I go from here?
Has getting the promotion changed what I believe about the sovereignty of God? Do I believe I got the job as a result of my hard work or did I get the job because of the sovereign hand of God? Am I more blessed because I got the promotion? These are all difficult questions that I am still working through, but I do want to share where I have landed thus far. While I do believe God blesses in special ways and gives favor at certain times, this is more focused on his sovereignty. This is not an exhaustive explanation, nor one to pick apart every word I say, and is not a final conclusion. It is the conclusion I have come to thus far in the midst of much prayer and contemplation in light of the current circumstances of my life.

Do I believe I got the job as a result of my hard work or the sovereignty of God?
When it comes to the question of whether I got the promotion based on my hard work (free-will to make a choice about my future career) or the the sovereignty of God, I do not believe it is one or the other, but both. I am convinced that everything is subject to the sovereignty of God and that He is in control of everything. When I say that, I do not mean that we are just puppets being controlled by strings at the helm of God in heaven. I am saying that every detail that occurs in the universe is set in motion by God as the creator of the universe. In other words, we have complete free-will that is subject to the sovereignty of God. Not where I live with anxiety about what he may or may not allow me to do, but because he is so good I can know that he chooses to do what is best for me, for the church, the advancement of the kingdom, and the praise of his name. In that I find my greatest joy and deepest satisfaction. You may not think that being under God’s sovereignty is something to delight in, but for me, there is no better place to be than to be exactly where my Lord wants me to be, doing the very thing my Lord wants me to do, at the time he has appointed.

Am I more blessed because I got the promotion?
One might say that I am blessed or that God has given me favor because I got the promotion. As I read the scriptures, I do find examples of blessings and favor that is bestowed on God’s people in the form of a favorable outcome or gift, but I also see something much deeper. I do not believe that I am more blessed because I got the promotion. Even more so, I do not believe that I am more blessed at any point in time because a life event or circumstance ended up being a good or favorable one. That includes getting a promotion, getting a new house, getting a spouse, having many children, or anything else that one would consider a favorable or desired outcome in life. I believe those are all evidences of God’s grace but not any more so than those circumstances not happening. God’s grace and blessing is not just found in favorable outcomes, but also found in what we might consider unfavorable outcomes.

A good working description of grace would be: getting what you don’t deserve. A good definition of blessing would be: God’s favor in the form of a physical gift or circumstance. So if receiving grace is getting what you don’t deserve, who am I to make the ultimate decision of what I think I deserve? I don’t deserve anything. Everything I have is God’s grace. If receiving a blessing from God is receiving something from God as a sign of His favor, who am I to make the determination if his favor comes in the form of a favorable or unfavorable circumstance in life? Can I even say that getting this new position is a blessing purely on the merit of advancement or promotion? Can I equally say that the blessing would be to stay at my old position? I don’t see how either of those outcomes with my employment, or how any other event in life can really be 100% chalked up as a blessing or favor from God.

I can confidently say I am blessed not because of any circumstance of this life, but because I am known by God. This allows me to not be tossed to and fro by life’s circumstances. Every time something bad happens I don’t think the world is crashing down around me, and equally helps me from becoming prideful where I think I am the king of the world when things are going well in life. It frees me to work really hard and do my best at everything in life without the fear of not having it validated by success or perfection. I am free to be me. An imperfect person who falls short on a daily basis, but because God is so good, I can trust that he has everything perfectly under control.

Where my soul finds rest
At the end of the day there are a few things I am certain of. I am more loved by God than I could ever dream of. Not because of anything I have done, but because of God’s grace and mercy in my life. I am blessed by God because I am known by him, not because of any favorable circumstance of this life. Blessing is found in being known by the one who blesses, not in receiving a blessing. I have already received the greatest blessing a man can receive… Jesus paid the debt for all of my sins and because of that I will be with him forever. Every other gift I could ever receive just doesn’t compare to being with Him. When I trust in the Lord, I am free to dream big, I am free to work hard, I am free to take chances, I am free to pursue opportunities, and I can accomplish great things. With that trust in the Lord I can also fail, I can be let down, I can be mistreated, and I can make mistakes. So whether in the midst of celebration or misfortune, because both will happen in due time, I will praise the Lord because of my salvation.

“Trust in the Lord with all of your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths” Proverbs 3:5-6


The Interview
Throughout the last two years I have been working on my bachelor’s degree in Business Administration, taking monthly career enhancement classes through my work, and diligently pursuing a management position within the company I work for. After 18 months of applying for different positions, I finally got my first interview. Based on the job description and requirements, I was convinced this would be the perfect position for me – I have more than enough experience for the position, it would be doing something I love, and doing something I am good at.

I interviewed for the job 4 weeks ago and just got a phone call informing me that I did not get the position. I just didn’t understand why I didn’t get the job. I mean come on, I have worked so hard, and thought I nailed the interview! From the day I got the call informing me I got an interview, I prayed without ceasing asking The Lord to bless me with this position. Day in and day out, praying over and over again. Not just that I would receive the job, but that I would be given this opportunity to make much of my Lord Jesus Christ. I was just crushed.
I kept replaying the interview in mind trying to figure out where I may have come up short. I looked over the job description, trying to see what experience or skill set I was lacking. Then I began to question whether or not I should leave my current employer, wanting to find a job where I can make a difference in people’s lives and do something I love, instead of doing a mundane job where I feel it is encouraged not to excel and not to go out of my way to help people.

The Truth
As excruciating as this was for me, it lasted throughout the afternoon… a very long afternoon. I felt like I was going to throw up and all I wanted to do was scream as loud as I could. Then the Holy Spirit began bringing scriptures to mind that were connected to promises Jesus has made about who I am, who I belong to, what I am called to do with my life, and that my worth, value, and joy are found in Him alone.

Matt, you are my son.
“In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will”. Ephesians 1:5

Matt, I will never leave you nor forsake you.
“No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:37-39

Matt, I delight in you.
“The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.” Zephaniah 3:17

Matt, find your joy in me and me alone.
“ You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forever more.” Psalm 16:11

Although it is easier said than believed, failures and shortcomings do not define who I am. I am not my own greatest hero. My successes cannot be accredited to how hard I work. My life will not be measured by how many promotions I receive. I will never find my greatest joy and satisfaction in what I do for a living. The truth is, I will only find those things in Christ. My failures are God’s grace and serve as reminders that I am dependent on Him for everything. My accomplishments are God’s grace and reminders that all I have and all I do is because of the work of His spirit in my life. I am defined by the great length in which Jesus went to give his life for mine so that I could become one with him forever. Jesus is the hero of my story. Jesus saved me in the midst of the most horrific sins I have ever committed. Not because I met Him half-way, not because I did enough good deeds to earn His love, but because of His unconditional love for me He relentlessly pursued me and saved me from my sins and has promised to never let me go. My greatest joy is knowing that I belong to Jesus and that I will be with him forever. Amen.

Jesus has over and over again taught me about contentment. Not just to be content with what He has given to me, but to be content with Him. Not only to be content with Him, but being absolutely convinced that Jesus really is all that I need. It has been such a freeing truth over the years. That I am free to dream big, that I am free to succeed, and that I am free to fail, but at the end of the day none of those things matter. What matters is that nothing will ever separate me from the love of Christ.

“But Godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that.” 1 Timothy 6:6-8

He is sovereign, He is good
Over the last two weeks the Lord has been asking me the same questions over and over again. “Matt, do you believe that I am good? Do you believe that I am sovereign over all things? Do you believe that I want what is best for you, more than you want it yourself?” My answer over and over again has been an emphatic, “Yes Lord, I believe”! I know that the Lord is good. I know that He is for me and not against me. I know He wants me to find my joy and fulfillment in Him alone. I believe He is sovereign over all things. Not just the big things, but every little detail of all things. My position at the company I work for now, as well as the opportunity I had to change positions, are by the sovereign hand of God. It is all God’s grace. All I have is from my Lord Jesus. He has been so faithful these last weeks to comfort me, to change me, to remind me how much I need Him every single day, and to help me believe the things I know to be true about him.

Maybe I wasn’t the best person for the job? Maybe this whole interview process was one the Lord set in motion to grow me in my dependance in Him? Maybe I’m asking the wrong questions? Maybe I need to stop asking so many questions and know that is well and everything is just as it is supposed to be? Ya that sounds about right. I know that I am exactly where I am supposed to be, doing exactly what I am suppose to be doing. Is this where I want to be? It is precisely where I want to be because I want to be exactly where there Lord wants me. So until the Lord leads me in another direction, I am going to press on to remain faithful to what lies in front of me.

“Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.” Matthew 10:29-31

I will finish this up with a great quote I “just happened” to listen to yesterday in a podcast that was recorded all the way back in 2006. God’s providence is just too perfect not to share…

“The welfare of our families, the prosperity of our businesses, our work, and service for the lord, may be considered the most important matters to attend to, but according to my judgement, the most important thing that must be attended to is this, above all things to see that your souls are happy in the lord. Other things may press upon you, the lords work may even have claims on your attention, but this pursuit of joy is of most importance.” George Mueller