The other night at dinner, my husband announced that his team of 10 people at work was going to be facing layoffs in the next two weeks. The company didn’t say how many would be let go, but it is going to be at least one of them, and possibly all of them.
I love that my husband told me this at dinner in front of our three children. It wasn’t a worried conversation he and I whispered behind closed doors. It wasn’t at all fearful, and he didn’t break it as “bad news.” He said it as a man who knows where his security is found. Not in a job, or money, or any other human thing, but in the Lord. I so admire that kind of faith and boldness in him.
We were both immediately able to respond to our kids’ fears with the biblical truth that the earth is the Lord’s, and the fullness thereof! (1 Corinthians 10:26), that he has made promises to us to never leave us or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5), and that nothing will he allow that is not for our good and for his glory (Romans 8:28). They got to witness my reaction, and by God’s grace, I know that it was glorifying to him and comforting to them. Praise the Lord, I didn’t freak out! We were able to tell them right away who we are trusting in.
Trust is a funny thing with the Lord, of course. Yes, we can trust him to provide for us and to never leave us. But can we trust him to protect my husband’s job? Unfortunately not. We can trust him for all of eternity, but we cannot trust him to bring one moment to fruition according to our plans for what is best. No, the secret things lie with him alone (Deuteronomy 29:29).
And so later, on my pillow that night, I must admit a little bit of panic crept in. Not that we won’t be provided for. I know we will be. But because I might have to walk through something I don’t want to! I started mentally ticking through the scenarios. How long could we keep our house? Would I have to get another job? Would we be able to continue paying for Christian education, or would I take the kids out and homeschool? How much could I tighten our grocery budget? Could we get along with one car? On and on my mind spun.
“But I give myself to prayer,” David said in Psalm 109. The Lord reminded me that this was an opportunity to live out the faith I was speaking in front of my kids, by committing to prayer. My husband and I both have strong faith, the downside of which is we don’t pray as fervently as we should. It’s easy for us to say, “the Lord will provide,” and then sit back to wait and see what he does. It’s easy for us to squander the opportunity to boldly go before his throne of grace and ask him to grant us the desires of our heart. He gently reminded me that his Word in James 4 says, “You do not have, because you do not ask.”
So we are committed to praying—often and fervently—with our kids, and in front of our kids. When the news comes, we will either rejoice and praise him for saying YES (woohoo and hallelujah!) or we will thank and praise him together that he has a different and better plan, and he is before and behind us on that path.
As I write this I am still waiting to hear the company’s decision. But tonight I taught my kids how to pray Scripture back to the Lord for the first time. I printed out the following verses, folded them in a bowl, and had each of us choose one to read during our bedtime prayer:
Luke 12:24 “Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds!”
Matthew 6:31-32 “Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.”
Philippians 4:19 “And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”
Romans 8:32 “He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?”
Psalm 121:2 “My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth.”
1 Corinthians 10:26 "The earth is the Lord's, and everything in it."
They were excited to hear that God has made some promises and that we can claim them to him. And their faith is being shaped by how we walk this uncertain road. I’m thankful for the Lord’s grace in allowing this to be a fruitful time in my kids’ hearts (and in mine!) Ephesians 3:20-21: “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever! Amen.”