On a rainy Seattle Tuesday in November of 2015, the CEO of the web firm where I was working called everyone into the common area. The meeting wasn’t long; in fact, it was about a single sentence long:
“There is no money left. You all have 15 minutes to leave!”
To be honest, the news caught me 50% off guard and 50% “‘yeah, that makes.”‘ Nevertheless, an exhaustive and intense search for work began. Of course this season was also made a little more complicated by the fact that I had proposed only two months before and had to tell my fiancé that my attention would need to be on finding a new job. Was I worried? A little bit, but I had just earned my MBA and was pretty confident that this would be a quick transition to something better.
Over the next few months, I applied for 253 jobs.
My everyday rhythm became predictable: fill out applications, update and re-update my LinkedIn profile, head to the next networking opportunity. My coworkers were my competitors, all of us sitting in the same coffee shops filling out identical applications.
In a time where I had expected to be excitedly preparing for marriage, I now lived each day under a darkening cloud of depression, one that consequently made me feel insecure, stressed out and entirely lost.
In the days where I felt the most unimportant, God taught me the importance of His Word. While I was busy looking for the world to tell me what my next step would be, God revealed the holiness of seeking wise counsel and waiting well. Slowly, ever so slowly, He was reminding me that what He accomplished for me was much more important than anything I would ever accomplish for myself.
You younger men, likewise, be subject to your elders; and all of you, clothes yourselves with humility toward one another, for God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble. Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety upon Him, because He cares for you. Be of sober spirit, be on alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world. After you have suffered for a while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you.
1 Peter 5:5-10
This passage of scripture became a harbor that I continued to come back during this season. I believe there are five key takeaways from this passage that I pray guide all of us in the midst of struggle:
- Seek out wisdom from older men.
- Humble one’s self before God.
- Cast stress and anxiety upon Jesus.
- Be alert to and resist those sinful patterns that one may look to for “comfort.”
- Know that God is sovereign over all and He will, indeed, “confirm, strengthen and establish.”
I’m not sure what Peter had in mind when he addressed ‘younger men,’ but at 26 then and 31 now, I still feel as though he is addressing me. I am someone who continues to get it wrong, needs wise counsel, and tends to lean into pride and find the ‘that won’t work’ before I choose Jesus.
Aren’t we all?
If you are in a season of waiting, especially one of searching for work, opportunity or accomplishment, I want to encourage you that it was in that kind of pain that God taught me what it was to be a man who was committed to the character He was developing in me; one who would refuse the numbing comforts that the world was offering. God will always meet us where we are, and so in your time of challenge, let me ask you this:
What is challenging your commitment to fight for your character today? What struggles are you facing that tend to turn you to seek out distractions instead of facing them head-on with the Word of God in your heart and your FIGHT CLUB at your side?
I urge you, brothers, to fervently remind yourself, through reading the Word and the quality of your community, of who God says you are. As you remember your sonship, I pray you would also remember your holy lineage and the standing to which God is calling you no matter the circumstances. Our dedication to fighting for our character in times of trouble can be our most outstanding example to the world of an ever-present God.
Lord, I pray that you will remind each one of us of our value. We are your sons, and like a good father, you call us to what is good and pure and holy. Bring your Word to life in our hearts and minds, and help us to bury it deep in our souls so that when the winds blow, we stand strong, equipped by you to face whatever comes our way.
Joe + the Fight Club Team