“Wait on the LORD, be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thy heart: wait, I say, on the LORD.” – Psalm 27:14
One of the most challenging aspects of living the Christian life is the occasional need to wait on God’s timing. The wait may seem long, even excruciatingly long, and it may well be that what we would consider to be an urgent matter, is one where God calls us to simply rest in Him, in full confidence that He will take care of every detail.
On the morning of November 14 last year, I received a phone call from the CEO of Spartan Safe. He informed me that due to a combination of challenging circumstances, the company had been forced into bankruptcy and all 17 showrooms would be closed immediately. This resulted in the layoff of every employee without notice.
By God’s good grace, my showroom – where I had served as general manager for four years – was in the midst of a very successful run. My sales goals for gun safes and firearms were generally achieved by mid-month and I loved my work, a daily endeavor that I considered to be an important aspect of community service. However, the shutdown included my showroom as well.
I remained calm in the immediate aftermath, realizing this unexpected event provided an opportunity to completely refocus my life’s direction into something of deeper meaning. However, I also wanted to continue working. After a week of contemplation, I started job hunting, but my prayer was that the Lord would lead me to something that would make a difference in people’s lives, especially in some aspect of ministry.
As weeks went by, I began to realize that this time of testing could very well stretch into months. I continued to submit my resume to various job opportunities, but my daily search took very little time. In addition to my own job loss, Dee and I had decided to close our business just two weeks prior to my layoff. Boredom settled in, affecting both of us, and we had our dark days.
Dee and I began to focus more on the development of our spiritual lives. We began attending World Outreach Church in Murfreesboro and soon joined a small group. These steps had a profound impact on our lives and we now see the world and our place in it from a whole new perspective.
Months continued to roll along. My many years of genealogical research led me into the challenging project of writing a book, a historical novel about a branch of my family that takes place in the mid 1800s. The book has been completed and is currently in final editing. Oddly, I was not offered an advance from a major publisher (Ha!), so the job search continued.
I discovered an opportunity to apply for the position of volunteer chaplain with the Murfreesboro Police Department. I sent my resume and had a follow-up interview. Then one of the detectives initiated a very intensive background check into nearly every aspect of my life. This investigation took weeks to complete and actually was more in-depth than when I had to submit to a check conducted by ATF in order to sell firearms. This was now July and the search for employment continued.
On July 13, I did a personal study of I Chronicles 3:9-10, otherwise known as the prayer of Jabez. I decided to voice this prayer to the Lord in sincerity:
And Jabez called on the God of Israel, saying, “Oh that thou wouldest bless me indeed, and enlarge my coast, and that thine hand might be with me, and that thou wouldest keep me from evil, that it may not grieve me!” And God granted him that which he requested.
One week later, Thursday, July 20, Dee and I attended our weekly small group study. At the end of our time together, one of the women said, “We need to pray over Jeff.” This was done and it was similar to an ordination service! All of us departed for home confident that prayer would soon be answered after eight months of patiently awaiting God’s timing.
It was the following day that I had an initial contact with Dr. Milton Nettles at Lighthouse Christian School, south of Nashville. He then referred me to Mr. Robert Tyler, the principal of the elementary school and in a stunningly fast sequence of events that took little more than twenty-four hours, I was offered the positions of teacher of English and Language Arts for grades 4, 5 and 6, and elementary chess instructor.
Lighthouse Christian School is a multi-cultural school and I am blessed to have nearly eighty students, many of whom come from all over the world. And to think that I have the opportunity to teach English, Language Arts, and Literature – subjects that I love. I tell you with the certainty of absolute faith and trust in God – only He could have arranged all of this in such dramatic fashion!
In addition, I was offered the position as chaplain at the Murfreesboro Police Department. I will be ‘on call’ at various times, ready to assist the officers working with members of the community during those difficult and horrific moments such as death notices and offering spiritual counsel to those who are interested. I’ll also get to know the officers and staff, just being available to talk as they might desire.
I am amazed and thoroughly blessed to have the opportunity to teach children, coach young chess players, and conduct the role of chaplain (one of twelve) for the MPD. Yes, my coast was enlarged. Yes, I have the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of people. Yes, by His grace I will serve Him as long as He grants me health and long life.
God’s timing: trust Him for it and watch Him work. It is astounding!
© Jeffery J. Michaels / Plain English Publications 2023
(Quotations allowed with attribution to this blog)