Proverbs 3:5-6 (NKJV)
5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
6 In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct your paths.
More than seven years ago, Jim and I worked together on the design for a plastics plant to be built in Saudi Arabia. We didn’t work that closely together; in fact I can’t exactly remember what it is that we collaborated on. That was the only time that Jim and I worked together.
Not too long after that an incident occurred at work and three employees were let go. Jim was one of them. This was a major shake-up in our department and it was a major personal shake-up for Jim. From my understanding, he did some deep evaluation of his personal relationships and his relationship with God. One of the results is that he began to attend Christ’s Church of the Valley more regularly with his wife Debbie.
Once in a while Jim and I would run into each other at Church and make small talk about how things were going at our companies. Due to a shortage of available contracts, Jim found himself traveling for work. He would spend months in South Carolina (or maybe it was North Carolina. I’m not sure). Once or twice a year we would cross paths. Jim told me that he had been watching the CCV Church service online and that he could see me standing in the audience during the worship time. I happened to sit in the line of sight of the camera.
Fast forward to a few months ago, I was laid off from my job in February. Our major client went through a reorganization that directly affected my division. My company went through its own reorganization that further impacted my division. On top of that oil prices have plummeted, devastating the petrochemical industry as a whole. The bottom line is that after more than 17 years with my company, I was out of work and there was little chance that I would be going back to my previous employer.
It just so happens that my last day was just before the beginning of Lent. We have observed Lent for the past few years; it has been a valuable spiritual discipline. So this year I decided to give up work for Lent (or maybe it was decided for me). At any rate, I decided that rather than go after the quickest job I could find, I would use the 40 days of Lent to truly seek God’s direction for my next steps in life.
Without going into too much detail, I explored ministry related opportunities and sought out counsel from persons I respect. None of the ministry related opportunities showed any chance of developing into a vocation.
What did happen is that one morning in Church, Debbie, Jim’s wife, sat three places away from me, next to my mother-in-law. After the service my mother-in-law and her spoke briefly and then she greeted me and asked how things were going. I told her that I have been laid-off and she said that I should call Jim to see if they had any work. She gave me his number and I said I would call. Monday I didn’t call, but on Tuesday Jim called me. We talked for a while and he asked me to send my resume; which I did. My resume was pretty generic. Jim made some suggestions and I rewrote it to tailor it to the job. I sent it back and on Good Friday I had a Skype interview. By the next Monday we were discussing the details of a job offer and by the week after Easter I had the job.
For the past seven years, my career has been stagnating with no opportunity for advancement. This job will stretch me and give me all kinds of growth opportunities. It is a minimum one year assignment. I will be deeply involved with materials control for construction of the largest plastics plant in the world. I will be working with locations all around the world: India 2 design firms, China 1 design, 2 design/fabricators, 1 module fabricator, Italy 2 project management sites, Brazil 1 design site, and construction in Texas. On top of that, I will be making considerably more than I ever have before along with a good benefits package. The last day of my leave of absence is Friday April 17th. My first day on the new job is the following Monday.
Was this God’s leading? I can’t say for sure, but it seems that God had Jim and I working together on the one right project. He allowed us to maintain contact over the years. When the time was right we made the connection. All of the other opportunities never materialized in any significant way.
Like I said, I can’t say for sure that this is God’s leading, but it seems to be. One way or another I intend to take the advantage of the opportunity and use it to the glory of God. I still feel God is continuing to prepare me for something else and this is just one more step in the process. I am anxious to see what else He has in store.