Whenever I look out my window at work, I can tell by which way the flags are blowing what to expect from the weather when I walk outside. All day today, I watched the flags outside my window blow in the muggy, southerly wind, but right before I went home from work, slowly the wind direction changed. The air from the northwest was cold and much drier when I walked outside, a welcome relief.
As I learned with Hurricane Ike, the wind can destroy and damage. When I go to the Hill Country, the gentle breezes are a welcome relief from the heat that so often bears down on Texas. Other times, the wind is oppressively absent and the hair hangs on my skin in thick, wet blankets.
Often I feel as if I live life leaning into the wind, caught off balance when the wind subsides or changes direction. I am trying to learn how to tell when the wind is going to change by being observant of the small things that happen in life, as well as the big ones. Sometimes, though, wind change just can’t be predicted.
Yesterday, the wind changed directions abruptly for many friends of mine. One friend in particular found out, on his birthday of all days, that at the end of February he will no longer have a job. The list of casualties is long, and each time I think about it, my heart is heavy for my friends.
Had I stayed at my previous job, my name would be on the list of those now wondering what their future holds. I would be in shock, I would be angry, I would be grieving. Loudly.
I’ve been careful not to fill my friends’ ears with platitudes. Fact is, their current situation sucks. I’ve been let go before. One day you are working in a job with purpose, not perfect, but still, a job, and the next day you are holding a severance check in one hand and a stack of bills in the other wondering what’s next and terrified to ask, “what’s next?” The disorientation is suffocating and the next step isn’t clear.
The thing I’ve learned about the suckiness of losing a job is that no matter how low I felt or how high the stack of bills was, God is still God. He is not surprised when the wind changes, and quite often, he’s caused it to blow, or at the very least, allowed it. I’ve seen God get more out of my checkbook than I ever could imagine. I’ve seen God put food on my table from the unlikeliest of places, and given me rich experiences I’d never have had if I hadn’t had to let go of the notion that I had any control over my life anyway.
I am praying for my friends, that they might find the treasures in this darkness and emerge with new and exciting stories of God’s faithfulness during this time. I know they will, and I’ve been there… but I, too, had to work through all the anger, grief and disbelief before I’d believe it when anyone said I’d someday see God’s hand in all that had happened.
They were right, it turns out, even if I didn’t want to hear it at the time. The wind has indeed changed, but we serve a sovereign God. He was and is and is to come.
I look forward to your reports of God’s faithfulness, friends, but for now, I grieve with you.