I vividly remember a time in which a friend’s willingness to be interrupted and then accept an urgent assignment from the Lord, helped me survive a crisis!
Subject to a political battle at work in my chosen field, I found myself shunned by coworkers in a family-owned company. This experience developed slowly, then dragged on for months. The resulting stress affected my confidence and job performance. My boss was aware of this hazing but could not stop the senior staff members that were part of this plan. The experience affected me emotionally and physically, and ultimately I was dismissed from the job. Years later I learned that I was hired for the job that another coworker wanted, and she systematically turned the opinion of other co-workers against me.
Soon after, I submitted a resume for a desktop publishing job opening at Kinko’s but did not receive a response. After a lengthy job search I started a temporary job at a grocery store deli. I sliced meat and cheese, and sold a lot of macaroni and potato salads. I dreaded going to work every day to wear an apron with a name tag. I worked hard at pushing away feelings of self-doubt and anger. But during one evening shift, I suddenly found myself in the midst of one of the most difficult and emotionally painful experiences of my life. I looked up to see the co-worker who spread the ill will at my former job. She saw me in the Deli, and looked directly at me while she slowly walked past the counter where I stood, with a sneering grin on her face. Within the same hour, another former co-worker walked into the grocery store and walked by me grinning and laughing but saying nothing. I turned away with the queasy stomach, flushed face and shallow breathing that can come with feeling humiliated. When I turned around he was gone. I exhaled the breath I did not know I was holding. I then felt a burning ache in my gut and a surging temptation to quit and run out through the automatic sliding doors.
Unexpectedly, my church friend, Linda, walked into the store. She did not see me at first and stopped just inside the front entrance as she visually scanned the closest aisles and deli area.
I gasped and called out to her. “Linda, Linda! It’s me, Sara. Please come here!” As she walked up to me, she said “I don’t know why I’m here, but the Lord clearly told me to come to this store right now.” With my heart racing, I said “Linda, it’s for me! Please pray with me right now!” She did, and I lasted through the rest of my shift. I prayed and prepared myself for the future shifts I had that week. Although I did not see any additional former coworkers, I knew the hardest challenge was to immediately improve my attitude about my job. It was a gift from God that helped me pay my bills. And I realized that besides my pride, I was afraid of operating and cleaning the meat slicer with the razor sharp, circular blade. I was afraid of seriously injuring my fingers which my livelihood as a graphic designer depended on. One day while standing at the meat slicer, I said a prayer. “Lord, this machine is dangerous, but I choose to obey you in the job you’ve given me.” The meat slicer became an altar as I prayed, “If slicing meat is the way I can serve you, then I surrender to your will. Help me bring you glory in this job.” In the following days and weeks, I felt that the heavy cloud that hung over me was gone. And I felt a new comforting assurance that God was with me, protecting me in all ways.
Six months later, I received a call from Kinko’s inviting me to interview for the same desktop publishing job I applied for previously. I got the job! After I had worked there for awhile, my supervisor told me, “We wanted to hire you in May, but suddenly, management closed the job requisition. We were not able to interview you until after they reopened the position in November.” I knew this was no coincidence. I had a test to face and pass before I could move forward. Thank you Jesus that I did not face this test alone; you were with me the entire time! And you sent your angels to help me; one of them looked like my friend Linda.
Romans 8:28 NIV
And we know that in all things God works together for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
About the Author
Sara has attended CitySalt Church since 2004, the year it was founded. She studied Journalism, wrote for her college newspaper, and is a member of Oregon Christian Writers. Sara also enjoys singing hymns with friends: “there is a sermon in every hymn waiting to be discovered and enjoyed.”