At the time I decided to go to seminary, I was working as an engineering manager at a high tech company. I asked for and received a leave of absence to pursue my studies, with the understanding that when I graduated, my job would be waiting for me.
As I approached graduation, the company and I agreed on the date of my return to work. But when I walked in the door that day, it quickly became apparent they had no idea what to do with me.
My expectation, which I soon realized was unrealistic, was that I would step back into my old job, or one very like it. The company, on the other hand, had moved on, and seemed to have made no provision for my return. Now, they were scrambling to find a place for me.
The result was that I found myself relegated to a job I hated!
Doing that job, I quickly began to feel overlooked and unappreciated, and I dreaded going to work every day. It was very difficult for me to keep a positive attitude.
But what really helped me to be an overcomer in that most difficult time of my career was Isaiah’s picture of Jesus as He turned toward Jerusalem and the cross:
Isaiah 50:7 (NKJV) For the Lord GOD will help Me; therefore I will not be disgraced; therefore I have set My face like a flint, and I know that I will not be ashamed.
“I have set my face like a flint.” That’s the example Jesus set as He faced the most difficult circumstance anyone has ever had to endure. And that’s what I felt I needed to do to make it through my own difficult times that threatened to keep me mired in hopelessness and depression.
I can’t tell you how many times a day I repeated that verse to myself! I prayed it, I confessed it, I stood on it.
I came to believe, on the basis of Romans 8:28-29, that I wasn’t where I was by accident. God not only knew about my situation, but had brought me to that place for a purpose. So, instead of allowing myself to be beat down by a circumstance I hated but couldn’t control, I “set my face like a flint” to glorify God through that job for as long as He kept me there.
After a year doing that uncongenial work, God opened up an entirely unexpected opportunity with another company that moved me clear across the country and turned my life in a totally new direction. I literally wouldn’t be where I am today had it not been for that difficult time in my life.
And I will always believe that it was the inspiration of Isaiah’s picture of the Lord setting His face like a flint that that brought me through.