Contentment in the Storm

by Mark Klages , Christian Examiner Contributor |

Just recently, my company announced they would be separating my division into its own, stand-alone company. Naturally, conversation turned to the reasons for this spin-off and how it will impact both our business and our employees, with many folks concerned for their futures. Most employees I spoke with admitted their first emotion was one of fear – fear that when we are eventually bought by another large company, our jobs will then be redundant and we will be forced to compete once again for our livelihoods.

Greek philosopher Heraclitus is credited with the oft-quoted phrase, "change is the only constant in life." The third chapter of Ecclesiastes is equally as clear on change, but in the scriptures, the focus is on God's directing said change:

"There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace." (Ecc 3:1-8, NIV)

And because we humans like things in threes, the Byrds popularized Ecclesiastes in the mid-60's with the classic, "Turn! Turn! Turn!" Original Byrds vocalists Roger McGuinn, Gene Clark, David Crosby (of Crosby, Stills and Nash fame) and Chris Hillman harmonized with a wisdom absent from most of today's popular music:

"To everything – turn, turn, turn
There is a season – turn, turn, turn
And a time to every purpose under heaven."

But what does all of this teach us about being content, specifically in times of turmoil and uncertainty at work? Are the scriptures and the lyrical scribes of yesteryear advising us to always be prepared to jump to the next best thing or, to remain steady and ride out the wave? Are we to be the first off the ship when the signs point to troubled waters, or do we man the rails and keep the ship afloat while everyone else finds safer passage?

Christian, if I'm honest with you, I don't have the answer – for you. I have the answer for me because I trust my God to do right by me, not because I deserve His blessing, but because He is righteous and gives grace and mercy in spite of me. Jesus reminds us that in the midst of turmoil, our correct focus is on Him. When the storm blows around us, when the ground we walk on turns out to be the churning sea, the only place for our eyes is on Jesus (Matt 14:22-33).

So, no matter your circumstance, no matter whether you are in the boat or walking the sea, no matter whether you stayed to man the rails or jumped at the first port for safer passage, trust our loving Father in Heaven and His plan for your life. Whether that means you take a leap of faith and finally accept that job offer you've been considering, or stick with me and take on whatever needs done to navigate the transition, do so with the confidence and contentment that comes with knowing our lives are in the hands of the one true God – the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob – the only living God – and that He knows what He is doing.  Semper Fidelis, fellow Christian. Semper Contentus.

– Mark Klages is an influential contributor, a former US Marine and a lifelong teacher who focuses on applying a Christian worldview to everyday events. Mark blogs at https://maklagesl3.wixsite.com/website under the title "God Provides where Hate Divides," with a heart to heal social, political, relational, and intellectual wounds through God's divine love and grace. Mark can also be found on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/mark-klages-04b42511/.