Where’s God in the Work Transition?

Blog / Produced by The High Calling
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Here's the scenario: You're cruising along at work when you suddenly hit a speed bump. Maybe it's a layoff or a business setback. Maybe your adored boss leaves for greener pastures while you're stuck in the same overgrazed meadow, trying to forage for some nutrient-laden wild lichen.

Work transitions can be hard. I know. I've had plenty of them. By my count, my up-and-down career has brought me two mergers, three acquisitions, four divestitures, six promotions, seven demotions, 17 organizational restructurings (two of which I initiated), one job elimination, and one mean executive administrative assistant with fangs and talons (and a fondness for desktop angel figurines–I never did figure that out).

Why Me?

Whenever you face a major work disruption, it's easy to ask God why he's creating this chaos. Because your first reaction is to think that these crises are all about you, probably instigated simply to disrupt your life.

But when I face a transition at work, I find it helpful to remember three insights.

(1) Today's bad feeling won't last. That's the good news. (And, of course, the bad news is that the good feeling won't last, either.) In the midst of change, the pain feels like it will go on forever, but it doesn't. The disruption is transient, the merger will be over, and God is still on his throne through it all.

(2) You likely feel powerless in these situations. Because, uh, you generally are powerless. I've never had a major job transition where I've felt I had any control. And I've learned the futility of trying to fix what I can't change. I believe God wants me to use the talents he gave me to make myself as employable as possible and to pursue the opportunities he creates. But my greatest strength is to ask for help from the One who has all the power.

(3) God cares less about your situation than your salvation. Sorry, that sounds harsh, but it's the best wisdom anyone ever gave me when I was struggling. (Not at the time I received it, mind you. At that point, I was ready to deck the guy.) But it reminds me that God has a much longer view of my life than this temporary situation (see insight #1). He's watching to see how I react to this trouble. Will I use it to draw closer and trust Him, or will I continue to hang out at the pity party, table for one?

I always come back to Jesus' exhortation to the disciples as he faced his final days on earth. He told them, "Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows" (John 16:33 NLT). But he also gave them the path out of that trouble–Himself. "Take heart," he continued, "because I have overcome the world."

Whatever the transition or crisis at work, keep two things in mind (after you remember the first three). First, Jesus predicted that there would be trouble. Second, he provides a way out f trouble.

Even if that trouble is a sweet-talking, angel-loving executive administrative assistant with a mean streak.


You can read more of Tom Petersen by visiting his blog His Work in Progress.