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Blessed Adversity
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I lost my job in August. I expected it. I work on the Space Shuttle program. It ended in July. With no immediate follow-on manned space program, you did not have to be a rocket scientist to figure out what was coming. Four out of every five people in my group were given notice.

I had been preparing for that day for nearly two years, paying down debt, and cutting back expenses. I might have found another job over the past year, but felt the work I was doing was important. I would have been difficult to replace under the circumstances.

Others colleagues took layoff harder than I did. At least one suicide was rumored. Some have gotten into fights at the workplace. Several friends are still in denial. Excellent engineers, they still simply cannot believe that they were let go.

I should be in worse emotional shape than many of my friends. I turned 56 in July – too young to retire, yet an age that many considered too advanced for starting over. But I was not ready to despair.

My job is an important part of my life. Work is important. God calls on us to use the talents He has lent us, not to bury them in the garden. Yet my job has never been the most important part of my life. My family has always been more important than my career. So is God. My career is just a means to serve God and care for my family.

Still Have My Family

While I lost my job, I still have my family – and God remains with me.

My family rallied around me. My youngest son is still in college. Without a job, finances would be tight. My older two sons are grown, with careers of their own. The morning after I got notice, my middle son took me aside and told me that he had spoken to his older brother. He wanted me to know that they decided to help pay for their younger brothers education expenses while I was unemployed.

Later that day, I got a call from my oldest son. He wanted me to know that he had talked to his younger brother, and that the two of them would help out with their youngest brother’s education. Both said the same thing. “You were there for us. We are here for you.”

God’s help was less direct, but I felt His presence and support, too. I found a new job within a month, a job that engineers dream of. It came through a set of fortunate coincidences so unlikely that I cannot believe blind chance alone took me there.

Psalm 55:22 states “Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall.” I do not claim to be righteous, but the Lord, kept me from falling anyway. More than that, through adversity I was able to learn that the Lord blessed me in many ways – especially through my family.

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By Mark N. Lardas. Copyright © 2011 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines. Scripture taken from the NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION ®.

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