When a friendship sours, what is God up to? Adapted with reflections from this article: https://beliefsoftheheart.com/2021/05/19/bullied-by-a-boss/, by Sam Williamson, and very special thanks to Keith Medley for his FANTASTIC 27 string guitar background song, Ancestors. You can find more of Keith's music at: http://www.keithmedleymusic.com/
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Welcome to Beliefs of the Heart, weekly reflection. I'm Sam Williamson. And today we are discussing Bullied by a Boss.:
30 years ago, I worked for a struggling software company. Our architecture Is outdated and sales revenue had plummeted investments in new architecture, meant expenses skyrocketed, and we were hemorrhaging money with no doctor in sight. And then our president had a heart attack. Our parent company asked me if I would consider becoming president. I was flattered by the great offer and impressed with their great wisdom. But when I prayed, I sensed God say no, his word felt clear and strong. I declined. Instead. I suggested a new vice-president that I had recently hired and who had become a friend, our parent company agreed, and my friend became our new president. The next day, my president friend began to attack me in the following weeks. He reduced my pay, took away my office demoted me and publicly belittled me, my friends , Blitzkrieg assaults, stunned, paralyzed, and bewildered me each new day, brought new disappointments everywhere. I turned. I saw ambush and humiliation, all of this from a friend who had never been considered for the job until I recommended him. And God seemed to absent, at least silent. I felt abandoned by God to a betraying friend who appeared intent on my professional destruction. I had voluntarily obeyed God by declining a promotion. As a result, I was demoted, humiliated, discouraged, and scared. What kind of God would do this to somebody who tried to obey him? I lost hope. I don't want to see more spiritual than I am. And any appearance of my spirituality is an apparition. But the biggest blow to me was God's seeming absence, no words of encouragement, no sense of his presence. My faith was shaken. If I'd been fired because of a huge failure, I wouldn't have liked it, but I could have accepted it. But I had been demoted because I obediently chose not to be promoted. And then God abandoned me. I felt alone in the fire. I prayed, prayed some more. And I finally lost hope. Our beliefs shape how we feel. Two years later after my friend was promoted to president and I was reduced to whipping boy, he was fired. Then two friends and I bought the company. I went from laughingstock to ownership stock in a New York minute. If I had known what would happen two years earlier, those 24 stormy months would have felt like a spring drizzle. If I had had a glimpse of God's plan, the deep darkness would have felt like a shadow, but I hadn't had a clue how things would turn out. Our beliefs about God determine our experience of life. When Jesus addresses anxiety, he says, look at the birds of the air. They neither sow nor reap that is birds. That is, they can't farm, but Jesus continues. And yet your heavenly father feeds them. Jesus treats our anxious feelings by prescribing a belief about God, that God himself thinks you are valuable. Matthew six 26. Our cure for bad feelings is found in good beliefs. Our beliefs also drive what we do. The great theologian St . Henry Ford once said, "one man thinks he can. One man thinks he can't. And they're both right." Ford claims that are doing is driven by our beliefs. And he's right. The belief that we can or can't determines if we do or don't, we fail to take risks because we believe our risks will fail. We fear honesty with friends because we think they will confirm our fears. We ignore concerns about church because we're sure our concerns will be ignored. We remain trapped in ruts because we're certain our ruts haven't snared us. Our problems are not bad circumstances. Our problems are what we do in response and our response. What we do or don't is always determined by what we believe. What do we believe in? It's easy to trust God when the Sun shine's, our lattes are foamy or the wifi signal is strong. It's even easy to trust God when we are undervalued and demeaned. As long as God tells us in advance, that he will promote us in two years. So what is our faith in? Is it in the particular plans of promotion or is it just in God? Because not every two year demotion is followed by stock ownership. Sometimes it is followed by a pink slip. God has a pattern resurrection, but we never know what form that resurrection will take. If our belief is in a particular resurrection shape or timing, our faith is no longer in God. It's in that specific form and timing. My obedience to God was weak at best. And my quote, belief end quote was that God would bless me because of my obedience. And when it didn't happen with the form that I expected, my beliefs crumbled, I had believed in the blessing and not in the blessor. What does God want? Oswald chambers says "the test is to believe God knows what he is after." If we knew everything that God will do tomorrow, we'd be happy today, but we don't know. And we aren't happy because our hopes are based on our fabricated outcomes someday though, we'll look back at our lives and we'll say, God knew exactly what he was after. I wouldn't want any other life. God doesn't reveal all he will do. Instead. He reveals himself, which is all our hearts really need.Speaker 2:
I wrote this article in a kind of personal response to what God was speaking to me in scripture, just a normal scripture time. I'm reading the gospel of Luke and I get to the place where there's a storm. You know, Jesus gets in the boat. He says, let's go across the other side. So they set out and he falls asleep and a storm comes, they, the disciples say to him, master, master we're perishing, Jesus wakes up, comes the storm. And then he says to them, where is your faith? And it just triggered in my mind, where is my faith? Not just do I have faith in how great is my faith is as small as a mustard seed as it as big as a mountain, but where is it? And so, as I thought about that more and more, I realized that it's a question I hadn't asked. I needed to, I needed some way to articulate it. So this article and so, so what I really did was I went back and I thought of a story where it felt like my faith was lost, at least damaged or weakened. And I, and so I remembered the story where a , um , colleague had sort of betrayed me, you know, I get them to be promoted, to be president. And then when he starts to berate me, I lose my faith. And I realized that is an example of where my faith was wrong. Where is my faith? My faith was in, in a certain sense, really in my doing, if I do the right thing, if I obey God and God will bless me. And I realized, as I thought about it more, I also realized it. Wasn't just, if I do the right thing, they'll bless me. It was also, I had a picture in my mind of how life would be. If I had known God was going to promote me to an owner, I would have survived those two years. Just fine. Because in that case, my faith wasn't in my action. My faith was in my picture of the future. And I feel like when God's asking me, where is your faith? He's really saying, are you just willing to entrust your entire life to me , to go out into the storm, not knowing what I will do, because sometimes you get promoted and sometimes you get a pink slip. Are you willing just to trust me? And that's what created this article. It was a personal application of reading scripture and taking the question. Now, one of the things I do in my scripture, but meditation time is I will take questions that I see in scripture that somebody asked or God asks and address them as solar to me. So in this case, Jesus says, where's your faith. So I taking this question into my own heart saying, where's my faith. And then you get the article. It was amazing to me, how many people responded. I got dozens of email from who had been betrayed at work, and this was just an encouragement. God, God can restore me, even though he may not. I can now have a faith in a God that can restore me. And therefore, if he doesn't restore me, he has something that I need more.Speaker 1:
That's the background of this particular article. Thanks for listening. Please join us by following this podcast or liking it, visit our website, beliefs of the heart.com for more articles, books , videos, podcasts, and courses, all designed to foster, intimate theology, deepening a real relationship with the real God who is there. See you next week.