By Daniel Bramlett
I just heard the news about Georgia Pacific closing their operations here in Hope. My first reaction is “This affects my friends! What will we do? How will the other companies around GP respond?” Very quickly my heart turned around. Today is not a day for mourning and anxiety. Today is a day for waiting on the Lord.
I am so excited about all of the positive things that are happening in Hope right now. I see so many good things on so many different levels. I fully believe our God is to credit for all of this. I believe this goodness is in response to the many faithful prayers for our city that have been offered for years. God does not ignore the prayers of His people. Nor does He ignore their active obedience. The more we choose to walk with Him the more we will experience the supernatural results of His work.
This is demonstrated all throughout the Word. I think of the stories of Moses in the desert, Ruth and her would-be family, Esther and her people…the list goes on and on. When God’s people seek Him with their whole heart, no matter the difficult circumstances they find themselves in, He responds.
If this is true and if we agree that this shut down did not catch God off guard, we must agree our first and best response is to go to the Lord. What does that look like?
First, we speak honestly with Him. While 100 families will be affected by this shut down there are thousands more that will continue on. We must not become doomsday people because of this. As we speak honestly, we thank Him for the new jobs that have been created, the spirit of cooperation and unity we are experiencing all across our community and for the positive steps we’ve witnessed in business and education citywide. Second, we speak openly with Him. While there are thousands of unaffected families there are still 100 hurt. We all should come together and intercede for our city. It goes without saying that jobs are the backbone of our home place, but we know that our people are its heart. We must lift them and their families up. We must be willing to meet them where they are and love them. No one person or organization can do this. We carry this task as a city, together. Third, our primary responsibility is to seek God for the future of our city and its families. We do not know what He has planned for us, but we do know this. If we run ahead and try to fix this by ourselves we will most assuredly miss what He has in store. We must wait on the Lord to work for us!
I love the story of Gideon. He was a brave soul in a community full of scaredy cats. Another ‘company’ came in and demanded their goods; the goods they were producing for their livelihood. Gideon refused to give. When the story opens we find him making food for his family in secret. The Lord intervenes in Gideon’s community/country and uses him to raise an army to fight against this neighboring bully country. But the story gets far more interesting. God trims Gideon’s army of 32,000 down to 300! He puts Gideon and his family in a position to trust Him for the victory. The victory comes in the most unlikely ways and his family enjoys peace for the next generation. You want to know my favorite part of the story? Gideon is very nervous the night before the battle. God tells him to sneak down to the enemy camp and listen to what they were saying. He and his compadre get close enough to hear a conversation. This is what they hear, “God has given us into the hand of Gideon!” They heard those words come out of the mouths of their enemies!
GP is not our enemy. Joblessness is. We were created for work and we take joy in the work God gives us. Just like in the story of Gideon, God will more than provide for us…if we wait for Him. We can start to immediately run solutions through our heads of how we can make this work OR we can ask God what He wants us to do. The first option is a pretty good temporary solution with disastrous long term results. The second option requires all the faith in the world on the front end but its future is incredible. I’ll take option two. What will you do?