Gains of Unemployment
The late 1980s were the days of military dictatorship in Nigeria with its attendant consequences on the national economy. I received my Bachelor’s degree in civil engineering in July 1987 in Nigeria.
Looking for Stable Work in an Unstable World
I didn’t receive a job offer until October 1990, when I accepted the position of Trainee Programmer in a Computer Software company. For four years I worked without commensurate reward. The business was growing, but the workers were not allowed to grow. Finally, I had to leave, after working without a salary for over thirteen months.
Then some friends and I started a business venture which failed after two years. It started as partnership problems. But while we were grappling with those, Nigeria erupted in a riot on June 12, 1994, when the Federal Military Government cancelled the results of a Presidential election. The riot was repeated a year later at Ibadan and most of the southwestern states. Many souls were lost in these riots.
We survived, but our business did not. So we packed up in 1996 with debts and hard feelings.
I left Ibadan city for Kano in the North only to join another sole-proprietorship. (We call it a “one-man business.”) I served there four years (1996-2000), but there were no standard policies. Everything happened at the whims of the CEO. For better or worse, I quit this job to look for reliable pay and job satisfaction.
Since I had no capital of my own and banks were no-go areas with their stiff interest rates and impossible collaterals, I teamed up again with some friends to start another business venture. This business failed again. I lost my investment three months prior to my wedding in October 2001.
Building a Stable Marriage in an Unstable World
I did marry, but my new wife, Suzan, and I were about to face seven years of trouble. Suzan lost her job. I lost my father. We lost money and valuables to armed robbers. We saw the vanity of relying upon others for help even as we saw the ways God used His saints to help us in our moments of need. And we had our son, Tayo.
Those years were a mixture of pain and joy for us. Humanly speaking, we failed, but God opened doors for us to prosper in the affairs of the Spirit.
I found temporary employment again as an IT Administrator on August 13, 2007. Looking back over these seven years, I can testify that a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions. I have learned that if a man finds a good wife, he has found a treasure. And I learned to accept responsibility for my actions.
During those years, I struggled with the sickness of male chauvinism until I could accept God’s healing. God helped me overcome my struggles with alcohol abuse as well. Sometimes the difficulties of being out of work added to my character flaws. I became careless. I feared uncertainty. I almost forgot how to make long-term plans.
Breathing Life into a Dead Career
But God still called my dry bones to life. And he called the dry bones of my career to life as well. They rattled as bones joined to bones. Slowly, he added ligaments, sinews, and flesh and breath entered the nostrils.
Today, I am employed again to the glory of God.
Throughout those difficult seven years, we were very poor and could not afford many things, but the Lord faithfully provided us our needs in various unexpected ways. He also gave us all the gifts money could not buy—health, peace, revelation through the knowledge of his word, fellowship of the Holy Spirit and the brethren.
He taught us to plan with Him rather than within our means. It was the only way we ever ate or paid rent. But we learned the vanity of wealth without the wisdom of God. We saw rich couples who were still unable to rest and enjoy the fruit of their labor. There were so preoccupied with sustaining their status and wealth that they had no peace.
Our home was humble, but we were learning peace. Suzan and I prayed together, wept together, and laughed together in ways that only afflictions could make possible. God used the time to remind me in particular that heaven is my home, and it’s best to travel light.
During those dark years, I devoted more time to seek the face of God in prayer and study of the word. I began to know the value of solitude. What happened to me was very painful, but God used the pain to lead me to a fountain of living water. Those years helped me to build a solid foundation for my present work and ministry. Having known the comfort of the Holy Spirit, I believe I can apply this grace to comfort others in their afflictions.
Who are you to lose hope? What is it that you are going through? Do not look at your feeble strength; do not concentrate on your weakness. Rather, thank God in your weakness, for in it God’s power is made perfect.
How tall is the giant confronting you? How mighty is the mountain on your path? Compare your giant or mountain with God himself. His footstool is the whole earth.
Questions for personal reflection, online discussion, or small groups:
- Are you going through a difficult time in your career? What can you learn in the struggle?
- Read the story of the dry bones in Ezekiel 37:1-14. Imagine God breathing life into you and your career and your family.
- What can you be thankful for in your weakness? Thank God for those things.