The coronavirus situation has been difficult for many people. Close to 2 million total cases and over 100,000 deaths have been reported. The pandemic has been very trying for many families and individuals both in the US and abroad.
But many others have suffered a different kind of loss—a job loss. According to Fortune, the unemployment rate has likely jumped to 14.7%! Economists are already talking about Great Depression era-like job losses. But those are just numbers from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Behind each lost job is a person trying to make ends meet.
Unexpected Job Loss
In 2006, nationwide unemployment was more than a number to me. That year, I faced an unexpected job loss. I had relocated across the country to work with a company for about a year. We had just bought a house when I lost my job. It was one of the most challenging situations I’ve ever experienced. Months of preparation for the new role, a year of working in the position, and without much warning, I was out of work.
Many husbands, wives, singles, young people, and older people are facing a similar situation right now. Perhaps even you are. Whether you’ve been working for a company for 12 years or 12 months, suddenly the job you and your family depended on is gone. Your direct deposit has stopped, friendships were cut short, and the pains of regret set in. One month things are fine and the next month you’re at home collecting unemployment. Losing a job is hard.
Christians are not immune to hardship. Jesus said, “in the world you will have tribulation” (John 16:33).
Christians are not immune to hardship. Jesus said, “in the world you will have tribulation” (John 16:33). Trials and difficulties are part of the Christian life. After a job loss, you don’t have to deal with a theoretical trial—it’s a trial that stares at you every morning when you get up. When you lose a job, you can taste the trial. You may wonder if there was something you could have done to keep your job. You may worry about the future and how you will provide for your family. You may feel despondent, wondering just how to make it another day.
Five Ways to Grow Your Faith After a Job Loss
When I lost my job, these were a few things that helped me get through the trial. I didn’t do it perfectly, but it was enough so I can look back and admire God’s goodness during a difficult period.
1. Call out to God.
Losing my job was a heart-wrenching experience. And I let God know. I remember one Sunday shortly after my job loss going to the corner of the upstairs balcony in the church sanctuary. Nobody was there so it was the perfect place to pour out my concern to the Lord.
If you lost your job, call out to God. Psalm 50:15 tells us, “and call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me.” Deliverance may mean God will give you your job back. Or not. Sometimes he wants to get your attention and other times he wants to redirect your life. I’m convinced my job loss was the way God helped turn my attention back to him and ultimately was a means to change my career—a great thing. It is possible he’s doing the same thing in your life.
2. Restart or revamp your personal devotions.
If you lost your job, you likely have more time to yourself. That can be a blessing in disguise. Jobs are great, but they take a lot of time. A full-time job is 40 working hours per week. Add in the extra time you work, a lunch break, and commuting time and you’re easily spending 50–60+ of the most productive hours of your day on something related to your job. When you stop working, you just got back those 50–60 hours.
What better way to spend more time getting reconnected to the Lord? Jesus reminded us in Matthew 4:4, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.” That means we should connect to God’s Word on a daily basis as much as we need food. Life often gets in the way of time with God. Use the extra time in your day for a more intense devotional time of prayer and Bible reading. Take that daily walk and reconnect to God in a way you haven’t done in years. Your soul will be refreshed to do what you need to do later.
3. Talk to a Christian friend.
When I lost my job, my family moved back to our home state. I reconnected to family members and Christian friends from before our move. I remember one relationship which was so helpful in helping me get a better perspective through the experience. We had breakfast, talked, and always prayed after we met. It was so helpful after my job loss.
Even in quarantine, you can schedule a weekly FaceTime, phone call, or other appropriate meeting with a brother or sister in the Lord to talk about your situation.
If you lost your job, talk to a Christian friend. Even in quarantine, you can schedule a weekly FaceTime, phone call, or other appropriate meeting with a brother or sister in the Lord to talk about your situation. Perhaps there were things you could have done differently. The Scriptures tells us, “Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed” (James 5:16). Use those weekly conversations to unpack what’s going on in the middle of your trial. God seems to use those times to put things in order in your own mind—and the other person can pray for you at the same time.
4. Take one day at a time.
The emotional roller-coaster can be overwhelming when you lose your job. At times you may feel fine. And sometime regret sinks in as you think about things you could have done differently or said differently. Emotions can wreak havoc on anyone after a job loss, including a Christian.
When Jesus taught his disciples to pray, he told us to pray “give us this day our daily bread” (Matthew 6:11). Jesus didn’t want us overly worried about the week, the month, or the next 10 years. He wanted us to depend on God for our daily needs. In the same way, we should take one day at a time after a job loss. Every day gets a little bit easier. Keep praying, keep talking it out, and keep seeking God. And even in a job loss, it’s good to remember that this too shall pass.
5. Do something productive every day.
There is a time to relax and not think about work. But there really are only so many even edifying videos you can stream before you feel unproductive. It’s best to make progress every day on a long-term goal after a job loss. Finish a book, apply for unemployment, sell some things on E-bay, polish off the resume, and start applying. The economy will take off again and you want to be ready when that happens, not sulking. Whatever are good next steps, write them down and start working them one at a time. Solomon said, “In all toil there is profit, but mere talk tends only to poverty” (Proverbs 14:23). So do something productive every day.
After all, work is biblical. Going back to Genesis, God gave Adam something to do after he created him.
After all, work is biblical. Going back to Genesis, God gave Adam something to do after he created him. “The LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it” (Genesis 2:15). Work may have been more difficult for Adam after the Fall, but he was already working before sin entered the picture. People were created for work. In the same way, we should aim to be productive whether or not we are in quarantine. We should “work” whether or not we’re employed.
When I returned to my home state, it wasn’t long before I started looking for something new to do. I used the experience of my past position and applied for a similar contract position. It wasn’t employment, but I had the chance to get commission income. That position helped pull us through financially before I landed another full-time role. The point is that I aimed to make progress every week toward our income goals. If you’re out of a job, you can do something similar.
Take Heart: Jesus Has Overcome Our Sin-Cursed World
There was a verse earlier about Jesus’ assurance about Christians having tribulation. Here’s the complete verse with more context. Jesus said, “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). Yes, we will have trials—perhaps even a job loss. But Jesus wants his people to have peace during a job loss, a pandemic, and dejection. And he wants you to know he has already overcome the world—so trust him through the trial.