Summary: This message talks about how we should respond when our backs are against the wall. I shared a very personal (and painful) experience as the backdrop for the message.
When Your Back’s Against The Wall
Scripture: II Chronicles 20
Let me say this before I say anything else this morning: “I do not always get it right!” This morning I want to share a personal, behind the scenes look at what can happen internally when your back is against the wall. I know some of you will understand exactly what I will share as you have experienced it at times in your life. I will share my initial response contrasted with that of King Jehoshaphat, king of Judah.
In April of 2014 I was in Tennessee visiting my sister who was in the hospital. On the afternoon of my arrival, I received an urgent email outlining an important teleconference that was to be held on Thursday morning, two days later. Receiving that email we knew something was up. There was also second teleconference set up by my boss following the national one – that too was not a good sign. When we all signed in on the call we were informed that the company would be going through a re-organization resulting in the loss of some jobs. As you can imagine some of us were in shock. While I sat there on that call I sensed immediately that my employment with that company would end with this reorganization and I was scared. I had been there thirteen years and I was in my fifties so I could see with my mind’s eye rejection letters. While I was still in Tennessee, I immediately began praying about keeping my job even though I knew that the Spirit of God had told me that I would not. I spent two months praying about keeping my job and being okay if I didn’t. Now if I heard the Spirit of God correctly, why was I praying for something different to happen? Because I do not always get it right!!!
On the notification day of June 26th I received my phone call from my director informing me that true enough I was being laid off, actually I was being “bridged” to retirement. (Being bridged to retirement meant that after I turned 55 I would be eligible to retire with full medical benefits from my company.) My director told me that as of that day I was “on my own” and if I had questions I was to call the human resources department. I was not to go back into the field or have any responsibility for the team that I was managing the day before. My job was terminated that day even though I had a 60-day period of time when I would still be getting paid before my severance was paid out. Needless to say, even though I was walking in my faith, my world was turned upside down – but our God is a wonderful God! Sometimes we need our worlds to be rocked!!! While I thought I was ready for the change I quickly found out that when my back was against the wall, I doubted. The title of my message this morning is, “When Your Back’s Against The Wall.”
On the morning that I received my notification, the first person that I talked to was Nikki. (Later she told me that she too had sensed that my job would be lost after I initially told her about the teleconference.) Although there were many questions flowing through my mind I wanted to assure Nikki that I was in a good place and we would be okay. You see, I believe what is recorded in Psalm 37:25 which states “I was young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread.” While this verse did not provide a lot of comfort at the time that I processed the news of my termination, in the back of my mind, somewhere deep down inside, I knew it to be true. Immediately following the teleconference of the reorganization, I started preparing to be laid off even though I was praying that it would not happen. Now I want to confess something to you so that you can truly appreciate how God can handle our situation without our help. I was not happy at my job but I was staying there because I had been there for so long. The grass might have been greener on the other side but I was not willing at my age to jump the fence to find out because in this I did not feel led that I was supposed to. I was stuck until they decided to “unstick” me! I want you to see this, I was no longer wanted at a job where I was no longer happy and no longer wanted but was offended and hurt when they no longer wanted me!!! Sounds ridiculous doesn’t it? We sometimes stay in miserable situations because we do not necessarily trust God to bring us to a different place, even though we are praying that He does. Sometimes, like in my situation, it is best to stay and allow God to work it out even though we do not understand how He is going to do it. At the time that I was laid off, I had been in the work force for 37 years with only 2 months of being unemployed and that happened in 1989 when I was discharged from the Air Force after serving eight years. In that case it was my decision. From the time that I was sixteen, I always had a job because someone always wanted me so this termination was a new experience for me.