I lost my job last week. Seems my skill set wasn’t advanced enough. I had hoped to be able to pick up on things but after three weeks it was decided that someone with more experience was needed.
Losing a job is rough, especially when you really needed it. What makes this particularly hard to handle is the way it happened. I’d just spent a great deal of time and money training for this type of position, only to be dismissed for lack of ability. Granted, the specifics of the skill set in question weren’t covered by my aforementioned training, but the result was still difficult to take; a fairly hard kick to the ego. If I were following God’s leadership in my vocational direction, why would something like this happen?
It reminds me of Job’s experience. While he never questioned God’s sovereignty, after losing all he had for no apparent reason, he wondered why it was happening to him. He had done everything right. It was the age old question of why bad things happen to good people. Fortunately for us, we can read the beginning of the story to learn what was actually going on behind the scenes. And we can understand, as Job did, that sometimes we must simply trust in the wisdom and goodness of God through times of uncertainty.
But I see something else in the story of Job. God mentions that Job holds to his integrity even through all that was happening to him. Job’s wife even wonders why he is holding to his integrity. I find it interesting that God didn’t say Job was holding to his understanding or his self-worth, self-esteem, pride, or even dignity. Actually, Job no longer had any of those things. They had all been stripped away. All he had left was the only thing we really have; integrity. The ability to know what is true and the fortitude to stick to the truth regardless of our circumstances. And what is truth? Truth is that God Almighty is sovereign. Everything begins and ends with Him. It is from Him that we know who and what we are. Not just accidents who appeared on this planet to spend our lives scurrying about for our existence, but creations made in His likeness and for His purpose.
We are so caught up with ourselves. Our worth, our esteem, our place in the world. Watching the daily news, I see people who destroy their lives and those of others trying to acquire possessions and positions which can never satisfy. Politicians who were elected as public servants waste their time squabbling over some comment that was made which damages their view of themselves. School children aren’t taught basics in reading, mathematics, or science. They aren’t allowed to grow up with any knowledge or skill which will prepare them to become productive members of society but they’re told to make sure they feel good about themselves.
We are like the farmer who continues to work and water his garden but never has a crop because he didn’t plant the seeds. Without integrity, there is no self-worth, no feelings of self-esteem, nothing to be proud of, and no dignity. Integrity allows us to know who and what we are, to take pride in our accomplishments, to develop a healthy sense of self-worth because we know Him and we have a purpose.
I don’t know what God has in store for me vocationally but I hope I have the fortitude to trust Him whatever He decides. Regardless of our situation or whatever life throws our way, may it be said of us as it was of Job; “he holds fast to his integrity.”