As the US economy continues to hobble along, it is clear a major issue is that of job security. In the past few months there have been a spate of layoffs among several church agencies in our area. These layoffs have frequently been carried out in the name of developing “more effective program.” And I would agree there is some truth to these claims and wishes.
However it does not minimize the pain felt by individuals who have been sidelined in the process or, put differently, not included in the new vision for the agency. At times such as this I am reminded of well-known church administered who was released from service after three decades of service because he was deemed “irrelevant” to the institutions future. The shock of the moment left this dedicated servant paralyzed. However he recovered and found a way to envision a new place to engage in God’s ministry with the poor. In the latter part of his life, his wife passed away leaving him yet again spiraling downward. It was during this time of deep trial that he found the wisdom to pen for himself, “Do you have the AUDACITY to believe the best is yet to come?” Anyone who has lost meaningful employment or a loved one will understand the ridiculous polarity of this question to the context they face. And yet I wonder if this is a question we should be asking in times of both deep pain and enormous joy. – JM