At Work

Experiencing Job Loss? The Good Shepherd’s Got You

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You filled out hundreds if not thousands of job applications. Spent countless hours at networking events trying to get your name out there. You check Indeed and LinkedIn websites more than you read your Bible. You finally land a job interview only to receive one of those dreaded “Thank you for your interviewing with us” rejection emails. And then you’re back to where you started. Bills are piling up along with the cut-off notices. Fear, worry, doubt, anger, and frustration are piling up into one big train wreck of raw emotion.

Sound familiar?

Many of us have experienced job loss in our lives. But what happens when the gap between jobs is longer and harder than you expected it to be? There are many articles out there that give advice on how to optimize your time between jobs. But what happens when you’ve run out of money and unemployment benefits and you are literally in the trenches? If you’re married, you may have your spouse to lean on; if you’re single and don’t have a lot of family support, job loss and financial crisis can be a serious blow. Here are three things I learned through my own job loss that I hope will encourage you:

1. Jesus is the Good Shepherd

Job transition is like the airy gap when you’re flying between two trapezes. You don’t know when the next trapeze bar is going to come. When you’re “flying through the air” and waiting on God’s provision, remember that you are “strapped” to Jesus. He promises that nothing can snatch you out of the Father’s hand (Jn. 10:29). It is normal to be emotional and cry, but we must remember that Jesus is the Good Shepherd and we cling to him. We can trust that he’s got us. We need to draw near to him through prayer and studying his word.

Jesus said, “I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me” (Jn. 10:14). The Good Shepherd knows and loves you. You can trust in his continuous care for your life in this season.

2. Surround yourself with other sheep

When job loss and financial crises hit, it’s easy to feel embarrassed because this is not what your life looked like before. Remember, your job situation does not define you. We must surround ourselves with other sheep who also belong to the Good Shepherd and will remind you of your true identity in Christ.

The financial crisis that comes with job loss can leave us in a dark place of loneliness and despair. If someone asks if you need anything, tell them how they can help. It is good and right for the body of Christ to care for one another. Galatians 6:2 tells us to “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.”

Finally, don’t neglect fellowship with the saints. I John 1:7 reminds us that “if we walk in the light, as he is in the light we have fellowship with one another.” Keep going to church and sitting under good teaching, filled with grace and truth, to provide direction for the journey ahead.

3. Find things that bring you joy

When you’re bogged down with financial worries, the last thing on your mind is doing anything fun. But finding things I enjoyed, such as playing soccer, hiking, and serving others, proved to be life-giving when I was going through my own job loss and financial crisis.

Finding ways to do the things I loved reminded me that God gives good gifts to his children, even in times of crisis. But the greatest gift God gives to his children in times of crisis is himself. Psalm 16:11 reminds us:

You make known to me the path of life;  in your presence there is fullness of joy;  at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

So, if you are going through job loss and financial crises, cling tight to the Good Shepherd. You won’t be flying through the air for long. When that next trapeze of breakthrough finally comes swinging by, you can glorify the one who is willing and able to keep you from falling (Jude 24).

Editor’s note: Read about an effective organization partnering with churches to help the jobless find jobs. Also, check out IFWE’s booklet on effective ways to help others in need: Love Your Neighbor: Restoring Dignity, Breaking the Cycle of Poverty.

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