I got the news just after midnight last night.  A business partnership / relationship of almost 20 years had been broken.  I don’t know where to look for the blame.  The economy and greed certainly contributed.  The trust was broken between two friends and would not be mended.

I am a third party and have watched this take place in over the past two months.  It is like watching a car accident in slow motion.  Witnessing the pain and destruction while able to do nothing but watch.  The partnership will not be mended but the lives will.  There are many people involved and the truth will be hard to sort out in the conversations of the coming days.

“Terminated”, “Fired”, “Layoff”!  These seem to be the end of the world when you first hear the words.  I heard them 28 years ago.  I remember the moment just like it was this morning.  I was numb.  I had a one-year-old son.  We had just moved to a new town and I was beginning a new position at a company that looked very promising to me.  I quickly found out the company was in trouble.  I had no choice but to make the best of my new job.  That was the way I was raised and my faith challenged me to give my best.  Then it happened.  “Terminated” was the word my boss used.  I was silent during the meeting.  So silent that my boss asked me if I was OK.  I remember being at peace once the shock of being terminated was over.  My mind began to drift into the possibilities of what I would do next while he was laying out the details of my termination.  Somehow I felt relieved.  Somehow I felt peace.  I now regard those days as some of my most exciting days in the marketplace because I was directed to significant work.  Before I only had a job.  I had always known God would mark my steps and I would see His path clearly in the days ahead.  The path has been very clear for the past 30 years.  Being terminated in my opinion is the “right of passage” in the marketplace.  I feel it should experienced by everyone.

As I tossed and turned all last night, God brought scripture after scripture to my mind that has comforted me and pointed to hope, wisdom and understanding.  My prayer is that my friends will find comfort in the same words.

Proverbs 3: 5-6

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;

in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.

John 8: 31-32

So Jesus said to the Jews who believed in him, “If you are faithful to what I have said, you are truly my disciples. And you will know the truth and the truth will set you free!”

Matthew 5:2-12, 6:25-34

He began his teaching by saying to them, “How happy are those who know their need for God, for the kingdom of Heaven is theirs! “How happy are those who know what sorrow means for they will be given courage and comfort! “Happy are those who claim nothing, for the whole earth will belong to them! “Happy are those who are hungry and thirsty for goodness, for they will be fully satisfied! “Happy are the merciful, for they will have mercy shown to them! “Happy are the utterly sincere, for they will see God! “Happy are those who make peace, for they will be sons of God! “Happy are those who have suffered persecution for the cause of goodness, for the kingdom of Heaven is theirs! “And what happiness will be yours when people blame you and ill-treat you and say all kinds of slanderous things against you for my sake! Be glad then, yes; be tremendously glad – for your reward in Heaven is magnificent. They persecuted the prophets before your time in exactly the same way.

5:13 – “You are the earth’s salt. But if the salt should become tasteless, what can make it salt again? It is completely useless and can only be thrown out of doors and stamped under foot.”

5:14-15 – “You are the world’s light – it is impossible to hide a town built on the top of a hill. Men do not light a lamp and put it under a bucket. They put it on a lamp-stand and it gives light for everybody in the house.

5:16 – “Let your light shine like that in the sight of men. Let them see the good things you do and praise your Father in Heaven.”

6:25-30 – “That is why I say to you, don’t worry about living – wondering what you are going to eat or drink, or what you are going to wear. Surely life is more important than food, and the body more important than the clothes you wear. Look at the birds in the sky. They never sow nor reap nor store away in barns, and yet your Heavenly Father feeds them. Aren’t you much more valuable to him than they are? Can any of you, however much he worries, make himself an inch taller? And why do you worry about clothes? Consider how the wild flowers grow. They neither work nor weave, but I tell you that even Solomon in all his glory was never arrayed like one of these! Now if God so clothes the flowers of the field, which are alive today and burnt in the stove tomorrow, is he not much more likely to clothe you, you ‘little-faiths’?

6:31-33 – “So don’t worry and don’t keep saying, ‘What shall we eat, what shall we drink or what shall we wear?! That is what pagans are always looking for; your Heavenly Father knows that you need them all. Set your heart on the kingdom and his goodness, and all these things will come to you as a matter of course.

6:34 – “Don’t worry at all then about tomorrow. Tomorrow can take care of itself! One day’s trouble is enough for one day.”

Philippians 4:8

If you believe in goodness and if you value the approval of God, fix your minds on the things, which are holy and right and pure and beautiful and good. Model your conduct on what you have learned from me, on what I have told you and shown you, and you will find the God of peace will be with you.

James 1:2-8

When all kinds of trials and temptations crowd into your lives my brothers, don’t resent them as intruders, but welcome them as friends! Realize that they come to test your faith and to produce in you the quality of endurance. But let the process go on until that endurance is fully developed, and you will find you have become men of mature character with the right sort of independence. And if, in the process, any of you does not know how to meet any particular problem he has only to ask God – who gives generously to all men without making them feel foolish or guilty – and he may be quite sure that the necessary wisdom will be given him. But he must ask in sincere faith without secret doubts as to whether he really wants God’s help or not. The man who trusts God, but with inward reservations, is like a wave of the sea, carried forward by the wind one moment and driven back the next. That sort of man cannot hope to receive anything from God, and the life of a man of divided loyalty will reveal instability at every turn.

1:12 – The man who patiently endures the temptations and trials that come to him is the truly happy man. For once his testing is complete he will receive the crown of life, which the Lord has promised to all who love him.