Monday, January 28, 2013

11:59


I have a job interview tomorrow.
I'm pretty sure I'm going to get it.

Not because I'm so confident in my first impression; in my ability ability to wow, impress and inspire upon an initial meeting, or what I like to call unleashing John Shawkinaw, my 1/2 Cherokee alter-ego.

No, I'm pretty sure I'm going to get the job, because I really need it.

We didn't tell many people when it happened, but when Ferial got her job, we really needed it to happen. After paying off the last of our debt, we had about $6,500 left over. That wasn't quite enough to buy a decent car, and it was certainly not enough to acquire said half-decent car and still live off of until such a time as either of us were gainfully employed...which turned out to be more than two months, for Ferial; more than five months for me. You may ask where all that money went in only two months. You may ask, but I don't have to answer - that's the subject for another blog.

Suffice it to say, when my wife got her job, we had less than $500 left.

We were really starting to freak out about our finances. In what seemed a miraculous moment of faith, we both committed ourselves to God's care, deciding to trust in him no matter what. I think Ferial got the email inviting her to interview for the job the next day. She was hired within 3 days. She was promoted in less than a month.

At the same time, we were still living with the in-laws. We had one car, but needed a more reliable one for Ferial's new job, so we went out and got one. We had to put the down-payment on a credit card (back into debt-town we go), but we were confident that we were making the right choice. Besides, her new salary more than provided for our needs at the time. Things were starting to get a bit tense at home, though. We were all starting to be rubbed a bit raw, by having to share space with new and more people. We knew we needed to get our own place sooner than later. Sure, we'd always be welcome at her parents' house, but we knew we'd all get along a bit better if we were living under different roofs.

Besides, we really needed to get our cat back. This whole time had been complicated and strained by the fact that my brother-in-law, who'd been pet-sitting our fur-baby, Moto, was starting to break out in horrible eczema rashes all over, from a latent cat allergy. We were on the verge of having to surrender our dear cat to an animal shelter, when - at the last minute - God provided us with a loving foster home for him. Aunt Janet - the aunt of a friend of ours, was ready, willing and able to take him for as long as we needed. This was a huge relief. However, it didn't relieve our felt need to get our own place, as soon as possible.

So, we started looking around. We knew where we wanted to live, but we thought it certainly out of our price range. We tried applying at somewhere cheaper, but as it turned out, it was an affordable housing complex (that explained the price), and we made too much money to quality (definitely a first). We decided that we'd go check out the pricier place, just for fun. After all, we were too rich to live in the cheaper places. We figured we might as well check out where the other rich folks were living. Lo and behold, the complex was having a crazy sale - $100 off the monthly cost of rent! Plus, since we knew someone who lived there, we were able to say that they referred us and we got another $100 off our move in cost! Also, the damage deposit was MUCH cheaper than anywhere else we'd looked... we knew we needed to act fast, so as to not lose the available apartments in the midst of this sale... so we went out and had a cashiers check made out to the complex and we moved in two weeks later.

It wasn't all peachy, though. This place was more expensive than we'd budgeted for. We weren't going to have the money to pay the first months' rent by the time it was due. We were still in some trouble. I started to freak out again. Ferial was doing her part. She was making good money with her new job and she loved it. I was heavily involved in ministry opportunities through our church, but I wasn't any closer to a job. I'd applied at many places and not gotten one. call. back. I was extremely discouraged.

I spent some time unfurling my bosom to a friend, who advised that I reread the book of Exodus, in the Old Testament. He told me to look specifically for the heart of God for His people, how he cared and provided for them. So I did. I didn't even get through the first chapter, before my heart was cut to the quick. Here was the God of the universe, Creator of the heavens and the earth, micro-managing seemingly meaningless events in order to save the life of a solitary slave-child, a Hebrew infant. What He would do through that one child would forever be remembered as one of the greatest stories ever told, but what I saw wasn't necessarily the roots of redemption. I tried to focus in such a way as to see just the one tree, as opposed to the forest. God worked natural miracles to save the life of that baby. There was nothing the child could do to save himself. He was left to the mercy of currents & crocodiles, with nothing between he and the river, but a basket made of reeds. Have you ever stopped to think about how miraculous that part of the story is?

After reading this heart-rending passage, I again repented of my faithless freak-out, entrusting myself, my family and my lack-of career to God and His tender care. The next day, I got a job. I'm serious. The. Next. Day. It was just a temporary job, six weeks, but it was going to be enough to pay for our first two months of rent in the new apartment! It wasn't always easy. It was trying, at times, but it was God's provision for our family, and again, it came at the last minute, and only after I sought after God, in faith and trust.

Now, don't misread me, here. This is no prosperity gospel that I'm testifying to. You know what that is, right? That's the hellish idea that if you have enough faith in God, that He'll make you rich and keep you healthy. Tell that to all the Christians who have been killed for their faith throughout the centuries. Tell that to the Apostle Paul, who himself suffered agony after agony, for years, before finally being killed for his faith. If faith in God, kept you from harm, then how in the world was Jesus crucified?

No. It's not some name-it, claim-it idea that I'm sharing with you. I don't believe in a God who promises His followers health, happiness and prosperity. On the contrary, Christ promises his followers sufferings if they are indeed following after him! He calls His people to a willingness to give-up homes, wealth, health and even their very lives to follow after Him.

However, I do believe in a God who proclaims that as we seek His Kingdom and His righteousness that whatever we need will be provided for us. I believe in a Lord who said "You take care of my business, and I'll take care of yours." I call this provision, the fruit of obedience. It's a principle I've experienced time and time again. It's not always material provision. Sometimes it's relational (I met my wife, the day after making a difficult decision, in faith, to stay behind in California, rather than go back up to Canada, where I'd been living for the previous 4 years). Sometimes it's emotional, spiritual, physical. Sometimes, it's imperceptible. However, I believe the principle to be true. It's a promise from God - as we seek after Him and His Kingdom, He'll provide for our needs. Keep in mind, here, that we don't get to define our needs. That's up to God, as well. Also, He doesn't always provide when we'd prefer He did. He is often called the "11th-hour God", and for good reason. I've just told you three stories, from the past season alone, in which God has provided for the needs of my family at the very last minute.

So, why do I have a hunch that I'm going to get this job tomorrow? Because I really need it. We're literally living pay-check to pay-check, now. My wife's salary isn't enough alone to pay for our expenses, and pay off the credit card debt we've incurred since she got her job. What's more, my car died today. The clutch is shot. I drove the heck out of it for that temporary job, driving to Berkeley and back several times every week. It wasn't in good shape to start with. I'm just grateful it lasted as long as it has. Isn't it "coincidental", though, that I haven't gotten so much as a call back about any of the other dozens of jobs I've applied for, but that the day before my first interview, for a job that would enable us to get me a new car, my old one dies under a repair that would cost more to fix than the car is worth? It sounds fishy to me...perhaps like God is setting Himself up to come through in a clinch and be praised to the skies for doing what seemed impossible.

What if I don't get the job, though? Is God any less faithful? Is He then failing to provide for my needs?

Of course not. That's one of the beautiful things about believing in providence. God promises in the Old Testament, "'I know the plans I have for you,' declares the LORD, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, to give you a hope and a future.'" and in the New Testament, "we know that all things work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purposes." His purposes. If I don't get this job tomorrow, then I can be confident that it wasn't in His plan for my life. He has purposes, and what He has purposed to do will not fail.

Is He not God, after all?

The eleventh-hour God.



Update: Tuesday, January 29th, 5:00pm

So...how did it go?

Well, I think I rocked it. Time will surely tell. They told me they'd call and let me know either way. However, I think there was some real report there. They really seemed to like me. I believe that unless someone came in with five years experience or a business degree or something, then they'll give me a chance.

I'll keep you posted. Until then, I'd like to give you one small piece of advice. You may have heard the stories about the interviewer who asks the applicant to role-play, to sell them the ball point pen? Well, my friends, if I were you, I'd start practicing.

I'm certainly glad I've practiced it a few times.


Update 2: Wednesday, February 13th, 3:30pm

Apparently, I need to learn to tell time.

Yes, my car died. Yes, that sucks. No, we weren't really down to the wire.

I found out today that I didn't get the job. They really liked me, but decided instead to go with an applicant with more industry experience.

On the upside, we learned in the last two weeks, that even though I'm hecka bored sans automobile, we're actually in a better place, financially speaking, than we thought we were. I still need to get a job, though, and so I still ask for your prayers on the matter.

Thanks for reading. Again.

GraceAndPeace

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