Losing a job is rarely seen as a good thing, especially since financial pressures can cause tremendous tensions in a marriage and family. When someone loses a job, he or she may have a tendency to blame people or circumstances or despise God, but God promises to provide for all our needs through the riches of Christ. (See Philippians 4:19.)
By seriously asking the question “Why did God let this happen?” we can begin to discern how God can bring good out of the situation.
When a husband loses his job, God may want to teach him to:
- Learn to rely on the Lord for provision rather than on an employer.
Scripture affirms that it is God “… that giveth thee power to get wealth” (Deuteronomy 8:18), not an earthly employer. When God removes an earthly source of income, He is affirming our need to totally depend upon Him.
- Experience the fellowship of receiving “daily bread” rather than monthly paychecks.
The Lord taught us to pray, “Give us this day our daily bread” (Matthew 6:11), not “give us this month our monthly paycheck.” Nevertheless, we have a natural tendency to desire independence and to store up reserves so that we do not need to live from God’s hand to our mouth. God knows that we are closest to Him when we are aware of our daily dependence upon Him. When a person lacks regular employment, he is usually more willing to turn to God to meet his needs.
- Catch up on home repairs.
Most wives know of many household repairs and projects that have needed a husband’s attention for a long time. If a husband is out of work, he can make completions of these tasks a priority. Some of these projects will require money that he may not have. However, that can motivate him to learn how to get the best buy.
- Develop frugality and resourcefulness.
The absence of monthly paychecks is a great motivation to be careful in the way we spend money and to look for ways to be frugal and resourceful. Many services that were formerly regarded as conveniences, such as lawn mowing, car washing, maid service, house painting, and plumbing, can no longer be afforded. These needs present opportunities to work together as a family. Needs that require professional assistance can become opportunities to ask wise questions of professionals and to research ways to do home repairs and maintenance without hiring others to do them.
- Spend more time with your children.
In one well-to-do neighborhood, a father was injured and consequently was unable to work. While he was recuperating at home, he began spending time with his son. Soon, all the children in the neighborhood were envious because this boy had something they did not have: the time and attention of his father.
Many individuals have given testimonies of growing up without much money and cherishing memories of family outings that were free or cost very little. The absence of regular employment provides an ideal opportunity to make special family memories.
- Increase your understanding of your wife and her responsibilities.
When a man leaves home in the morning and is gone through the day, he cannot observe the unexpected interruptions and pressures that a wife may face. When he is home with the family, he can learn to appreciate the load his wife carries and can help her eliminate little hindrances that make her job more difficult.
- Detect character weaknesses in your life.
Evaluate why you lost your job. Did deficiencies in your character cause your boss to form a negative opinion of you or question your value to the company? Being without a job provides an opportunity to concentrate on building character and to demonstrate it first of all in your own family.
- Learn humility and accept assistance from others.
During a time of need, it is not easy to accept gifts from others. A spirit of humility is required to receive their help. This humility opens the door for more of God’s grace. (See James 4:6.)
- Consider the possibility of starting a home business.
The possibilities for establishing businesses that will meet practical needs are unlimited. If you have a mind to work and a love for people, you may be able to initiate a home business. Concentrate on projects that could result in immediate income, and expand as they prove themselves worthy.
One man went to managers of office buildings and worked out a contract to wash the buildings’ windows twice a year. He now has more business than he can handle and is making $80,000 to $100,000 a year.
- Consider the option of relocating.
The loss of your job can encourage you to determine if you are in the right location. Does God want you to move closer to relatives or to live in an environment that would be better suited for raising your children?
- Consider whether you have been faithful to tithe.
God promises to open the windows of heaven and pour out a blessing to those who honor Him with the firstfruits of all their increase. However, if proper tithes and offerings are not given, the devourer snatches away resources. If you have failed to tithe, the loss of a job is a powerful motivation to start tithing with any new income that the Lord provides for you. (See Malachi 3:10–11.)
- Teach your children to look to the Lord.
By their seeing how insecure “job security” is, sons and daughters are forced to realize that we cannot put our trust in companies or uncertain riches, but only in the living God, Who alone is able to meet our needs.
- Draw the family together to fast and pray for specific needs.
God promises that if we fast and pray secretly, He will reward us openly. With the loss of a job, a family has many new opportunities to bring specific needs to the Lord and to trust Him. Through times of fasting and prayer, a family can experience a new closeness with the Lord and with each other.
- Develop compassion for others who have lost their jobs.
Only those who go through the loss of a job can fully understand the pressures and anxieties that occur as a result. As God gives insight and understanding in your situation, you can give comfort to others who have lost their jobs.
- Concentrate on being a spiritual leader in your home.
The most difficult place to live the Christian life is in your own home. Now you can devote more time to carrying out the functions of a spiritual leader, such as reading and memorizing Scripture, asking family members for specific prayer requests, praying, reading biographies of the heroes of the faith with the family, and helping family members study the Scriptures for themselves.
- Cleanse your home of anything that should not be in it.
Evil items are so easily brought into the house. Now that you have more time, carefully evaluate all the things in your home and remove any that have a destructive or negative influence on the family’s spiritual life.
- Clear your home of clutter and sell unneeded items in garage sales.
Now is also the perfect time to clean closets, drawers, the basement, garage, and other places, removing all items that you are not using, and selling as many as possible. Needed items can be put in order.
- Learn to enjoy what God has given.
It is easy to become dissatisfied with the things we have and to look forward to buying bigger and better items that we may not really need. Without a steady income, you can learn to appreciate what you do have and learn to take better care of your possessions so you can enjoy them longer.
- Learn how to suffer need.
Paul explained that he learned how to abound and how to suffer need. When you had a regular income, you abounded. Now, you are learning the disciplines of suffering need. This includes learning to go without and experiencing what Paul talked about when he said, “I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ” (Philippians 3:8).
- Expose the foolishness of buying unnecessary items.
When you have ample funds, it is tempting to spend extra money on status symbols such as certain brand names of clothing or other items that demonstrate that you are part of the “in” group. With this practice, there is additional pressure to compromise standards so as not to be rejected by those we are trying to imitate. With limited funds, the concern is not for vain prestige, but for daily provisions.
Why did God allow you to lose your job? Perhaps He wanted to bless you with unique opportunities to learn to trust Him more fully, to seek Him more diligently, and to love Him more intimately. Ask God to show you the benefits of your suffering … and He will! Our merciful heavenly Father promises to work all things together for our good, as He conforms us to the image of His Son. (See Romans 8:28–30.)
This material is adapted from A Comprehensive Course in Effective Counseling, Booklet Five, pages 11–14.