“Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you.” (1 Peter 4:12, NIV)
Anxiety is something that many of us deal with in our daily lives. Recent circumstances in our world have made anxious thoughts commonplace. How can we overcome anxious thoughts? How do we not allow anxious thoughts to permeate every aspect of our lives, including our jobs?
When I say 2020 and 2021 were challenging years for me, this is most certainly not hyperbole. In February of 2020, I lost my husband quite unexpectedly. With that loss came many changes. Not only did I lose my husband, but I also lost my home, my church family, my entire life that I had come to know.
Anxiety was never something I had dealt with before, but it came as crashing waves in the months following. Worry was my closest companion, and I allowed it to make all my decisions for me. I was getting up, going to work, and coming home. I couldn’t live like that anymore. So, I reached out to a coworker who gave me a book: The Red Sea Rules: Ten God-Given Strategies for Difficult Times by Robert J. Morgan. How on earth was a book supposed to help me? But, as I read rule #1, I realized exactly why she gave this book to me. Red Sea Rule #1: Realize that God means for you to be where you are.
The premise of this rule is based on the story in Exodus 14 where God tells Moses and the people of Exodus where to camp. God told them to camp by the sea. Why on earth would He ask them to camp in such an impossible place? The answer – God had a plan, and His plan was for them to be right where they were, so he could part that Red Sea and allow them to pass through while entrapping Pharaoh’s men.
As A.W. Tozer said, “To the child of God, there is no such thing as an accident. He travels an appointed way… Accidents may indeed appear to befall him, and misfortune stalk his way; but these evils will be so in appearance only and will seem evils only because we cannot read the secret script of God’s hidden providence.”
When you find yourself in a difficult place in life and in work, remember God has either placed you there or allowed you to be there for reasons not seen. As Morgan states in The Red Sea Rules, “You are there by His appointment, in His keeping, under his training, and for His time. He will turn your difficulties into deliverances and problems into praise.” Just keep your eyes on the one who parts the waves.
Tina is the Director of Library Services at Ohio Christian University in Circleville, OH. She has been an ACL member for 3 years.