Do you ever get frustrated, worried, and mad about people or things at work all at once?
Do you ever want to pursue knee-jerk reactions, tell somebody what’s what, or simply quit on the spot?
Do you ever pause, ponder, and pray instead?
All of the above hijacked two or three of my workdays recently. The end result? I found favor in God’s sight, to quote Moses from Exodus 33.
I do not puff myself up with that remark. God did the bestowing of favor (or “grace” says another translation). I merely received. James 1 calls God the father of lights who gives us every good and perfect gift.
So what happened?
I learned of a new policy that I felt affected me negatively. Others shared my opinion, and Name-Calling and Gossip raced into the room under the banner of “Today’s Fun Temptation.”
I regret to say that my first thought was pragmatic: caving to those desires won’t help the situation. Only my second thought was conviction: caving to those desires would be sin. God is gracious and patient with His wayward child!
I decided to challenge the new policy. This involved bold thoughts about strategies and principles, only to soften into humble reminders about the Beattitudes in Matthew 5 and Paul’s exhortation to obey my employer in Ephesians 6.
Through some close brothers and sisters in Christ, I became more sure that I was flirting with an entitlement mentality, and that I needed to quit. The issue was in God’s hands; I needed to leave it there.
I still wanted to try to be tough in order to get my dues. But a final nudge from God and I said no, I will accept the outcome of this with joy and gratitude toward Christ, and respect for my superiors.
Surprise, surprise: God was already at checkmate! He knew I would turn to Him just in time (at the office door of my boss), and He had already prepared my boss for a great conversation, significant disclosure, and a near-overhaul of the policy! Moreover, my boss credited my attitude and initiative as almost entirely the reason for the change!
If only they knew…!
I also learned a bit more about self-confidence, addressing things I think are right or important, and being willing to lead when no one else steps forward.
But God wasn’t done yet. I soon realized that yes, I had found favor in God’s sight, and yes, it was because I had obeyed Him eventually, even after considering many alternatives. But then I realized that God still didn’t have to grant me favor in that scenario. I DID have to obey Him, but He never has to give me what I want. He can say no and still be loving, giving me what is best, and bringing glory to Himself!
It just happened that this time, like the father in Luke 11, God gave me what I wanted and then lots more. Next time it might be less obvious, or it might take longer. But He will still be “the great, the mighty, and awesome God, who keeps covenant and mercy [and who is] just in all that has befallen us.” (Nehemiah 9)