The time- spring, 1939. The place- Chicago, IL. In my dad’s senior high school yearbook, the Harper Shield, he is photographed standing on a staircase (in suit and tie!) with his fellow “Booth Officials”- students who sold tickets to various school activities. Looking at Dad’s youthful smile, I wonder what premonition he might have had that World War II loomed ominously on the horizon. Only a few years later, Dad was drafted into the army, becoming a telephone operator in the jungles of Burma- committed to serving his country despite an uncertain future. The soldier in Dad never left. In his mid-eighties he always walked the halls of his assisted living facility wearing a sweater with one of his war medals attached, an unspoken testimony to a sense of honor and duty born in adversity.
A downsizing or career loss erodes our finite foundations, plans, and sense of control as we face an ominous and indeterminate future. Fear and anxiety distort our focus and cloud our vision. We see little , if any, of God’s presence. But that little we see, Ann Voskamp eloquently asserts, may be all we need to behold God’s beauty: “That which tears open our souls, those holes that splatter our sight, may actually become the thin, open places to see through the mess of this place to the heart-aching beauty beyond to Him. To the God whom we endlessly crave.”
As we journey toward healing and revisioning/revitalization of our calling, we have the tremendous opportunity to be a powerful witness to the Lord’s providential care as well as His sustaining and abundant grace. In the process we are giving our Lord all the glory as we bless others with the consolation we have received from Him. Bill Bright offers these encouraging words: “The sermon of your life in tough times ministers to people more than the most eloquent speaker.”