Don’t Just Do Something, Stand There

Unemployment Stress

Being out of work is a busy time. And it should be.  Experts tell us to consider the job search as a full-time job in itself and spend time working at it as if you were getting paid for the effort.  I agree, but only to a point.

charlton-heston-as-moses-in-the-ten-commandmentsThe fact that you are NOT getting paid for the effort adds another layer of stress to the job search that is just not present in an ordinary job.  You want to work.  You need to work.  And you’re concerned about all the obligations you are not meeting because you are unemployed.

Stress is always a problem confronting us in any work environment, but it becomes an even larger problem for those of us who are out of work.  Many Americans have the tendency to be workaholics on the job.  Family life and spiritual relationship with God are too often put aside for the sake of making a living.  Then, you find yourself out of work and you throw yourself into the job search with the same kind of narrow focus as you did your job.  STOP!

Being out of work, God has given you a great opportunity to develop some habits that will serve you well when He provides the next job.  Consider lessons we can see in the Bible.  When the fledgling nation of Israel was escaping from Egypt they had a lot to do.  Nation building is not an easy set of tasks.  Yet God almost immediately commands that they take a day of rest to refocus their minds onto Him and what He had done for them.  The clear principle here is to take a day off from the job search and go to church.  Worship, pray, fellowship, refresh yourself, and rest.

But I think we need to take even more than the one day to “stop and smell the roses.”  I love the verses in Exodus 14:13,14

But Moses told the people, “Don’t be afraid. Just stand still and watch the Lord rescue you today. The Egyptians you see today will never be seen again.  The Lord himself will fight for you.  Just stay calm.”

This is the moment the people realize their backs are to the wall and the enemy is coming to wipe them out.  This sounds like a circumstance very familiar to the unemployed.

I just watched Charlton Heston in the movie “The Ten Commandments.”  I’ve seen it more times than I can count, but this time the scene at the edge of the Red Sea really got me.  In the movie, and I imagine in real life, Joshua was running around giving orders and trying to set up some meager defenses against the on-rushing Egyptian army.  Joshua and the people were in a state of panic.  Yet, Moses (Charlton Heston) calmly yells out,

“Be still and watch the Lord rescue you today.”

It’s a wonderful example for us in the midst of our daily panic to search out and find some work and to make some meager defense against all the obligations and financial attack of the mighty enemy.  You’re worried about things.  God understands that.  Read what Jesus said in Matthew 6:25-32,

“That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life— whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing? Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them.  And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are?  Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?  “And why worry about your clothing?  Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow.  They don’t work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are.  And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you.  Why do you have so little faith? “So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs.”

Now, you cannot use these verses to not worry about going to work at all.  Paul made it very clear in 2 Thessalonians 3:10 that he who refuses to work should not eat.  You want to work.  You are looking and looking.  In fact, it could be said that you are desperate to work.  Yet, God has not provided a job.  You ask, “Why?” Perhaps the Lord is giving us the chance to learn how to stand still and watch Him work for us.

When I was a kid, I can clearly remember my Dad looking at me in frustration and saying,

“Don’t just stand there, do something!”

But when we are walking through the wilderness of unemployment, anxious to find the next job opportunity and go back to work, God the Father looks at us and calmly says,

“My child, don’t just do something, stand there… and see My power take care of you.  Rest, refresh yourself, let’s talk, talk to your family, enjoy a moment with the creation I have made, and we’ll get back to the journey in a little while.

“I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart.  And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.  John 14:27

Be still in the presence of the Lord, and wait patiently for him to act.  Don’t worry about evil people who prosper or fret about their wicked schemes.  Psalm 37:7

Think about it…


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