A good friend and brother in Christ, has been under an enormous struggle the last few years. The company he was a big part of was bought out and he lost his position to their management team. My brother, Allen, retrained his skills to cope with a higher demand in technical ability, did some network consulting and other odd jobs but just could not find a new position that would provide for his family. Soon after, his wife took sick, had surgeries and eventually they lost her income too. One by one, each piece of assistance fell away from them as their benefits ran dry. This was a classic example of someone doing everything they could and getting no where.
With all of this the family stayed together, remained faithful and never faltered in their service to our fellowship of believers in Tacoma. From the outside looking in, it would be hard to know that this was a family on the verge of being just another statistic. Yes, they questioned and yes, they had doubts, but always you would hear them say "God’s will is being done". Allen could be found each Sunday leading the young adults in Bible Study and preparing the afternoon meal for our teachers. Allen’s wife was constantly serving as treasurer and supplier. Both of them opened their home for our High School Girls’ Fellowship.
On those occasions where I felt the need to comfort my brother, I often felt inadequately prepared to do so. I could only reinforce the need for faith and to continue to seek help from God. During one conversation I asked him to consider the good example he was showing to the rest of the Church. I wanted to convey to him the idea that it is our response to adversity that defines us more than the adversity itself.
Our fellowship supported them in prayer constantly. Each week as we gathered for prayer, his family was raised in intersession to our Lord. We gave them what encouragement we could to help them keep hold of their faith. From time to time our fellowship provided for their physical needs as well. In the end we recognized that there was a gap between what they needed and what we could provide and this gap could only be filled by God.
I knew a testing so powerful must have a great purpose behind it, but seeing disappointments one after the next was not easy to bear. To witness people working so hard and so honestly searching for God’s grace with no answer challenged more than one faith. If they were destroyed by the events around them, would that mean God failed? I fought against doubt daily when praying for them. From a distance I and many others were looking at this family as not just a test of them, but a test of our commitment to God.
As I observed my brother in the last year I wondered about his choices to pursue IT and his goals for it. I even tried to discourage him from this because I honestly thought this was not for him. Once again God knew a lot more about things than I did. Just as Allen completed the certifications required for an IT professional a door opened. Someone was looking for a person with a strong background in security, good management skills with a background in business and could edify the new IT vision for the department. It was a position where all of Allen’s skills were needed. I saw Allen transformed as he pursued this job. He moved with confidence and assurance through that opened door as if he knew this was it! Yesterday Allen was offered a position with them.
I love seeing the “Hand of God” at work. As we pray, we also need to keep looking and remain aware of what is going on around us. Very often when God has reached his time to move he does so quickly and decisively. The phone call from an unexpected source or an opened door that previously seemed locked for all time, are examples of the wonder of God being made real to us. I have experienced many times seeing the direct involvement of God in a situation and the experience is extraordinary to say the least. More often than not God’s assistance goes unnoticed by his preoccupied children. I wonder how it must be to do so much and be observed so little.
There is a responsibility to those that are tested by God. Those who have suffered and have been tried must share their story with others. I believe that the testimony of how God has changed lives is the best form of witness. To those that are searching for answers and truth, there can be no better message than “This is how God helped me.” Someday my brother will tell his story in his words. I look forward to that. Until then, I wanted to exclaim “My God Lives!” from the mountain top and offer these words of praise and thanks to the Lord.