God has delivered me. There is simply no other, better way to say it. I’ve been thinking about this post for a week now, trying to come up with a more eloquent opening. Perhaps grandiloquence is not the order of the day, not when the simple truth will do. God has pulled me out of a dark well and set me on my feet again. That’s all there is to it.
In my second post on this blog, I wrote about the stormy emotions of resigning from my job with nothing new in sight. I was looking to the story of Joseph for solace, seeing in that tale the way God lays down plans that we can’t understand. It’s a tough lesson to hold onto when you’re in a bad patch, down the well like Joseph was. All the same, the story is there for a reason, and now, I think, so is mine.
Not long after I wrote that piece, I started applying for new jobs. I scoured help wanted ads, filled out applications, and endlessly reworked my cover letters. I tweaked my resumé time and again, trying to polish my image to just the right shine. I stopped keeping count after a while, but figure I sent out around two dozen applications in a three-month period. And what did I hear as a result? Nothing. Even on the jobs where I was perfectly qualified, there was only a silence so resounding it echoed.
If you’ve ever been in that situation, you know how I felt. I started second-guessing myself, obsessing about every word and every comma in my letters. How could I be so unappealing as to not even get an interview, a phone call, a generic e-mail even? Of course, I was looking at it the wrong way. In the absence of voices from potential employers, I had taken to listening to myself, and you shouldn’t need me to tell you whose voice I should have been seeking. In this case, the words came out of Psalms: Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.
If God really was sending me somewhere new, then I had to be patient and wait for the path to become clear. I returned to my resumé and portfolio with a new vigor, and a new lightness. Instead of working at it to secure the interview, I altered and improved so that when the interview came, I would be ready. I was putting my hope in the Lord with a fullness I can seldom remember. When the time was right for Him to pull me from that oppressive well, I wanted to be ready. Looking back, I have to wonder if that attitude change wasn’t just what He was waiting for, because at the very end of June, I was saved.
Just like when I met the girl who would be my wife, just like when I got my first teaching job, and just like when I learned I would be a dad, the news came from a direction I wasn’t looking. It was a Wednesday, and I got a call to schedule a Friday interview for a position as a middle school librarian. On paper, I’m only mildly qualified for this gig, with half a masters program to go and no library experience. Oh yeah, and no middle school experience either. All the same, it was an interview for a job I hadn’t hoped to get for at least another year or two. I prepped and prayed like a mad man, helped in large part by my wife, who just happens to be a middle school librarian. To quote Obi-Wan Kenobi: in my experience, there’s no such thing as luck.
I don’t have to tell you how it went, do I? I will mention a few things, though, because they still blow my mind. I beat out two fully certified librarians AND someone already in the district. Plus, after telling me I would have to wait a week to find out if I got the job, the principal called me four hours later. Apparently, I was the consensus pick.
Now, I’m not putting myself on the same level as a Patriarch of Israel, but as look at the story of Joseph again, I see something of myself. Or, at least what I hope to become. Joseph became the ruler of all Egypt, second only to Pharaoh, because he said “I cannot do it … but God will give Pharaoh the answer he desires.” Joseph didn’t act on his own plan, but worked faithfully at the job God had given him to do. Maybe one day, God willing, people will be able to say the same about me.