I arrived to work like it was any other Monday – a little sluggish, but ready to take on the week. It was the 17th of October and the boss had just returned from his annual hunting trip. I was ready to receive some exciting news.
But, instead, I walked in the door to find Jennifer, our company’s secretary, gone. John, my boss, was sitting with Kristine, the office manager, and their faces didn’t resemble the faces of excitement–which, I had expected. John had an envelope in his hand. There was an empty chair. As I approached I tried to pretend that I hadn’t seen the envelope. It was as if I didn’t see it then I wouldn’t hear what he’s about to say.
“Justin, I’ve decided to fold the company.”
I swear my heart dropped an inch in my chest. He continued to chatter about his reasons for folding, but all I could do was notice that he not once looked me in the eye. I began thinking of the lack of Christmas I was going to have to offer my children. The crumbling of the dream of the new(er) car my wife and I had been desiring. All the dreams and fond memories began to burn in my mind, and, still he can’t look me in the eye.
My attention came into focus just in time to hear him say he had my last check in his hand. I accepted the envelope, thanked him for the opportunity, and started for the door. I turned around to notice the office manager, who was now the only one left employed, begin to chatter with John about the remaining items to ship. I pushed the door open, climbed in my truck and stared at that envelope. Again, thinking about avoiding it. I returned home, just thirty minutes after leaving, walked into the kitchen to meet my wife who was nearly prepared to go to work herself, and without muttering one word she could tell what happened.
The truth is, we were expecting this day. Not this soon. But, still, it was in the timeline. We opened the letter, noticed the last check, read the reasons, and then she offered to pray. Pray for us. For me. For John. It was amazing.
The next day I got out early. I had some errands that could have waited till later, but I wanted-no, needed-the early sunlight. My wife decided to join me suggesting that a good car ride was an order. She offered to drive so I could stare at the changing color of the leaves. The radio was playing K-LOVE. My wife has been very interested in that program since her salvation not even a year ago. Unfortunately, I missed the earlier portion of this caller’s story, but caught the very last part when she mentioned how Isaiah 41:13 spoke to her. I grabbed my iPhone and opened the YouVersion bible app. I smiled as I read it, then read it aloud:
“For I, the Lord your God, will hold your right hand, Saying to you, ‘Fear not, I will help you.’”
Fear not. He will help me. I was immediately comforted. But, as if that wasn’t enough, I was again reassured later that day when picking my children up from school. Again, on K-LOVE, I caught a new song. Well, turns out it’s not that new, it’s just new to me. It’s by Tenth Avenue North. And the song is called, “By Your Side.”
“Why are you striving these days
Why are you trying to earn grace
Why are you crying
Let me lift up your face
Just don’t turn away
Why are you looking for love
Why are you still searching as if I’m not enough
To where will you go child
Tell me where will you run
To where will you run
And I’ll be by your side
Wherever you fall
In the dead of night
Whenever you call
And please don’t fight
These hands that are holding you
My hands are holding you
Look at these hands and my side
They swallowed the grave on that night
When I drank the world’s sin
So I could carry you in
And give you life
I want to give you life
Cause I, I love you
I want you to know
That I, I love you
I’ll never let you go”
I cried tears of joy as I heard that song. Thank you, Father, for holding me.