When I was about 19 or 20, a new consultant was appointed to the office where I worked. Let’s call him Tom. I was terrified of him. He thought I was completely incompetent. I don’t know if I was to start with, but once I was afraid, I really started making mistakes.
One morning I was running late. Tom had instituted a rigid attendance policy, but around the same time, God had also been speaking to me about my driving. I was really moving down the road when I felt like God said, “Who are you more afraid of?” I wanted to scream out, “Tom!!” . . . but I chose not to. I chose God. So I deliberately slowed the car.
As it happened, I signed in at precisely 9 a.m. that day, avoiding a confrontation. But that seemingly small moment of conquering fear set a foundation that has helped me all my life. I have been in far more dangerous situations since then, but I have never felt as intimidated as I did by Tom.
I am so grateful for all that God taught me while Tom was there, even though at one point I wondered if I should look for a different job. (That is often God’s will in that kind of situation.) The complicating factor was that my mentor also worked there. Changing jobs would mean a lot less input from her.
So deciding what to do about Tom became the reason I first experienced receiving specific guidance from God. My mentor encouraged me to ask God the question and then read the bible until I had an answer. On a Saturday morning I asked, “Should I look for a different job?” Then I started reading Proverbs.
In Proverbs 21:1, I came to ”The king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the Lord, He turns it wherever He wills.” At first I passed by and kept reading, but there seemed to be something there. I went back and thought about it and prayed about it. Eventually I decided that I would choose to stay where I could grow spiritually and trust God to take care of Tom.
Not long after that I was transferred to a different department. All of a sudden I was the star. Shortly after that Tom was gone.
I realize now that Tom was quite young and probably in his first consulting position. He may have become a completely different person after I knew him.
But I am glad he was there. I am glad I stayed. In future years, when I faced a decision between fear and doing what I felt God asking, I had a foundation to lean on. I also learned a lot by staying near that mentor. In fact, years later, when I was teaching African villagers, I would sometimes use the diagrams she taught me during those months. It was incredibly worth it.
“I, even I, am he who comforts you. Who are you that you fear mere mortals, human beings who are but grass.” Isaiah 51:12