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1.27.2009

A Stronghold in Times of Trouble

Today has been one of those hard days that has made our hearts sad.  Due to the plummeting economy and the uncertainty of when it might turn around, our Church had to lay off 19 staff members today.  We are personally very, very grateful that Travis' job was not affected, but many of our friends were included in the lay-offs and are at home tonight with an uncertain future.  

This has been an agonizing few weeks for our leadership and for the Pastors in each department.  Nobody wanted this to happen, but when you work for a non-profit, the budget is dependent on giving.  With so many families also losing their jobs, giving is down and our leadership had to act pro-actively to keep us from going into debt when our fiscal year ends.  I can personally attest to the stress level the leadership has endured for the last few weeks, trying to decide what to do.  It is very difficult on all of them and they have spent much time in prayer, asking the Lord for wisdom and for grace in how they handle this...

I also know our church is not alone.  There are many, many churches all over the country, struggling to bear the burden of this economy.  These are not easy days and who knows how long they're going to last.  In our own city tonight, we've just learned that Target (headquartered here) has also announced lay-offs today, joining the ranks of all the other companies that are eliminating jobs.  It's so easy right now to look at our bleak economic future and panic, wondering how we're going to survive as a country with so many people out of work.  BUT, there is hope that is available for all of us beyond any false security money may offer.  Our God is still on His throne and He is still in control.  These are the days when you either believe that or you don't.  

Jesus told us in John 16:33, 

"I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace.  In this world, you will have trouble.  But take heart!  I have overcome the world."

We firmly believe that our future is secure with our Savior and our peace is only because of the freedom He bought for us with His blood.  These words are more than just words, they are life to us.  Will we have troubles still?  YES!  He told us we would and so we should expect it.  But He doesn't leave us with bleak news and no hope. He reminds us that He holds the future in His hands and He will overcome this world one day and "right every wrong."  Travis is currently teaching in Junior High on the end times and the promises we have to look forward to as believers in Christ.  One day time will be up and He will be back for His church.  I have to say, it's been a good reminder for me and a good dose of perspective.  This world is ultimately not our home and our hope is not anchored here.  We trust and believe in the life we have eternally with Christ.  

But tonight, our hearts are heavy for our staff friends.  We are praying for peace to wash over their anxiety and for God to meet their needs in radical ways.  We are hopeful for the future and we are trusting the Lord with every detail.  It's no accident that my memory verses for this week speak directly to this subject of trust in the midst of trouble.  Our God is good all the time, even when the times aren't good.

"The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble.  Those who know your name will trust in you, for you Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you.  Sing praises to the Lord, enthroned in Zion; proclaim among the nations what he has done.  For he who avenges blood remembers; he does not ignore the cry of the afflicted."  
Psalm 9:9-12

7 comments:

petrii said...

Oh Stephanie,
I'm so sorry to hear this. I know that your heart is so broken over this. I will be praying for God's wisdom to come in and help those affected, so they will know which direction to go.

Praying for you friend,
Dawn

The Allens said...

Thank you very much for sharing that. I am sorry for the people involved, but your faith will be an inspiration to them.

AmandaHoyt said...

I'm so sorry to hear that the layoffs are affecting your friends. These times are definitely uncertain and it seems that there is chaos all around us. I am trusting God's faithfulness for our family and others as we face these times.
Thank you for the reminders and the verses.
Hugs and prayers,
Amanda

sheltonfamily said...

So sad... those poor people. I am so glad you and Travis can continue to do ministry at Grace. Texas Instruments in Dallas just laid off like 3,000 employees and it seems like some of our people work for them. I know God will use Grace even in these hard times.

Rebecca Jo said...

Such a hard time... our church is struggling as well right now - its affecting everyone. But your words hold so much truth! We'll pray for financial blessings on the ones who lost their jobs & peace that God IS the one in control!

Rebecca said...

I have prayed for these staff members and your church and will continue to.
rebecca

Texie said...

Stephanie and Travis, I am very sad that you have experienced such heartache at your church. It's so hard to find the right words when someone, with a family especially, has lost thier job. I will pray for all those who are affected. I know that God has a plan for everyone but times a really hard for so many right now. I'm also so thankful that Travis is still on staff. How about Ben's parents? Are they ok right now? I'm in ABQ and both Dom and Addie are calling me. Love you Both. Mom