by Jeff Montgomery
About two weeks ago, I and my fellow employees found out that the owners of our company had decided to sell the company to a large corporation. Stunned silence filled the air when this was announced.
Our company is considered small, and the corporate culture that had been built up over the 12 years since it's founding was one of a decidedly familial nature. Most everybody knew everybody else, we all see the CEO often, and the organizational structure is very flat. We don't have layers of supervisors, team leads, managers, Assistant VP's (vice presidents), VP's, Senior VP's, and Executive VP's.
For those that had been around awhile, this announcement was fairly shocking. Many of them started with the company right out of college and hadn't really held a corporate job before, so in many ways this felt like home. And now home was changing.
I've been with the company for just two years, so I have a little less emotional baggage than some others. Plus, this is the third or fourth time I've been through an acquisition like this. But many people are still recovering.
The reality, however, is that this kind of change is inevitable. The business world is ever changing, mergers happen often, and we have to surf the wave of change in order to keep our sanity. The good news for us Christians in the marketplace is that we have recourse to the greatest power in the universe to help us through these times of change.
And thank goodness for that. Change is never easy. Whenever something like a merger is announced, our first reaction is: "Will I get laid off?". It would be easy to fall into despair and worry over what may or may not happen. And the reality is that sometimes we do lose our jobs in these situations.
But we can survive by remembering a few key facts that God teaches us.
First - that He is in control.
The universe isn't a swirling mess of activity with no organization or logic. God is running everything, even down to the last molecule. When your company is sold, or some other big workplace changes occur, God is there in the midst of it. We will probably never know the "why's" of God's reasoning, but we can be assured that there is some plan at work. And that we play some role in that plan.
At all times we're called to do God's work in this world. In the midst of major workplace changes our role is to be builders - to carry out our work in a way that builds up rather than tears down. This means being supportive of coworkers. It means helping out where we can, even if it is not in our immediate realm of responsibility. It means being as supportive as possible of the changes that are occurring, unless those changes are in some way unethical or unjust.
The second thing to remember is that God is always walking with us. Jesus tells us in the Bible that He will be with us until the end of time. That doesn't mean He's hovering around somewhere above the fray. It means that the Holy Spirit is with us down here in the muck of whatever we're involved in. He's here to guide us through those situations.
The fact that God is with us in everything doesn't mean that we'll be free of stress, or even major changes in our lives due to what is happening at work. It does mean that He will guide us through every circumstance if we put our complete trust in Him. If we don't, we're dragged down into worry, fear, and at its worse, despair. This is not what God wants. He wants us to trust Him, and to let Him guide us through the minefield.
Is this easy? Not really. When our security is threatened it's very difficult to let go and give all the worry and stress to God. But through prayer we can learn to let go, and learn what it means to truly trust in God.
A third fact to keep in mind is that the changes we're experiencing may be a part of God's plan. Now, it's unlikely that He engineered an entire corporate merger just to get us to make a change. He's probably using it to accomplish many things. Still, it's quite possible that God is using the change to blast us out of our comfort zone and on to the next stage of our journey.
It's very easy to become complacent. Most of us like most things to stay the same most of the time. Very few people thrive on an environment of constant change. However, that can also keep us from growing. While a certain amount of stability is good, staying in the same place for too long is not good, either. Have we been stuck in a vocational rut? Perhaps God is using certain workplace changes to move us to a new place.
In a way, this goes back to the trust issue. If we consider that God may be using the change to move us along our spiritual path, then we must trust that He knows where He's taking us. We may not see it, and we may have to go through some difficulty to get there, but God may be leading us to a better place.
Alternatively, God's plan may be that we learn to be a better Christian through dealing with the change. God is always working to sanctify us and teach us so that we can constantly improve our understanding of Him and increase our love of Him. Sometimes the events in our lives occur to teach us a lesson, or to show us God's mercy at work either in our own lives or the lives of others. Perhaps we need to learn to be more compassionate. Major workplace change is a great avenue through which to learn that, as there are opportunities to show God's love to coworkers.
No matter how it comes to us, change will be there in our lives at work and at home. It can be an occasion of great grace, in which we grow closer to God and stronger in faith. Or it can be an occasion to give in to worry and despair. If we stay close to God throughout, He'll bless us with the grace we need to make it through.
E-mail this article to a friend