Updated: Apr 4, 2019
The workplace isn't always the easiest place to live out our faith. Yvonne wondered what value there was in working for a difficult boss, but learned about God's compassion in the process.
Every morning I would pray, “Lord, get me out of here! I can't work for her anymore…”
As a child of God, I believe nothing just happens to me. I’ve learned that every situation HE has placed me in had a lesson to be learned, molding and shaping me into His likeness.
Many years ago, I worked for a woman who was a terrible manager of people. She would often belittle me publicly, and was equally unkind to those under her authority. Every morning I would pray, “Lord, get me out of here! I can't work for her anymore…”
The Lord didn’t respond the way I had hoped. Day after day, wiping tears away, I would walk into the lion’s den. Then, one morning when I dropped off some mail in her office, I noticed stale coffee in her cup from the day before.
I immediately heard the Lord say, "Go wash out her coffee cup."
“What?! Have You not been hearing me? Have You not seen how she treats people? Have You not heard me cry or seen my tears?”
As my mind screamed those questions, my heart longed to be obedient. I snatched up the cup. As I headed to the break room, I heard the Lord say, “And do it with a happy heart.”
“Seriously?! It’s not enough that I'm doing what You ask, but be glad at the same time? Lord, really...”
Washing that cup, my mind replayed what had just happened. My flesh wanted to justify why I was right in my negative feelings for her, but as my spirit surrendered to His will, I caught a glimpse of what He was trying to show me, and I began to smile.
He began a good work in me that day. The Lord began to show me things about my manager. He showed me that her issues towards others was because, she herself was in pain. This changed my perspective. Instead of running the opposite direction when I saw her, I purposefully approached her and genuinely asked how she was doing. Over time, she shared with me how she suffered a serious heart condition; how alone she was as her family was out of state. She told me how difficulty it was being a single woman looking for love in all the wrong places, with all the wrong men. She confessed that it all left her empty and used. Her job was her only identification.
Over time my heart grew compassionate towards her.
My daily prayer became, “Help me to be sensitive toward her and how to show her love, kindness, and mercy.”
I began to genuinely look forward to lightening her burden, to give her my best and exceed her expectations. I wish I could say that she changed. She did not. But I did!
I often look back on that chapter in my life and wonder: If the Lord had answered my prayer and removed me from that uncomfortable situation, I would not have learned this lesson of compassion toward someone who is unkind and hurting inside. I would have missed an opportunity to be more like Him. I would have missed the spiritual lesson of being obedient with a happy heart. I would have missed the joy of overcoming the obstacle. I was able to achieve victory over something I thought was impossible, but only by God’s help and guidance.
By the way, months later, the Lord promoted me to working for a wonderful boss. I'm convinced that passing the test of being obedient with a happy heart pays off with God’s blessings, whether by change of circumstance or internal contentment.
How about you? Are you learning a spiritual lesson where God has placed you?