When I think back on the season where I worked in a Pawn Shop, I remember my time there with fondness. I remember the steep learning curve, beginning to try to think about reading people and not believing everything I heard. I remember marveling at all the important things that I learned that were not part of the curriculum of the Masters degree I’d just completed. It is easy to look back and smile — the season is over.

At the time, however, rainbows and daisies were harder to come by.


There were also those days. You know the ones. The days where you look at the clock and think your life is never going to change. The days where you feel a little bit like Joseph asking the Lord How did I get here? Why? I thought Your plans for me were different from this.

Mopping the floor of the store room in the back of the shop, I’d occasionally find myself fighting back tears. Magna cum Laude. Super GPA. Finished my undergrad a year early. So much promise. Now I’m cleaning chainsaws.

{Amazing how forgetting what’s passed to press on sometimes requires letting go of past achievements and successes too.}

After I’d been there a few months, when I was still learning the ropes, my boss called me into his office for a chat. He was disappointed with my performance. With my education, people skills and ability to speak Spanish, he expected me to bring some momentum to things. My performance was a disappointment.

A few moments later, I was in the bathroom weeping. What sort of failure was I — I couldn’t hack it at the Pawn Shop? Suddenly a question arose in my heart, and I directed it toward the Lord:

“Lord, what do you say about me? How do you feel about my time here?”

And I heard the Lord say He was pleased with me. In my heart, I heard well done.

That was all I needed to hear. I dried my tears and tidied my face in the mirror, and I walked out of the bathroom a different person from the one who walked in. I still had several months ahead of me in the furnace, but this was the beginning of a new season. Living in a way that would please God, even if it didn’t please others, became a part of my life on a whole new level. This somehow forged something in my character that I didn’t find in the classroom, or at the sandwich shop, in Media Relations or at a Bible study.

Though it was one of the most challenging seasons of my life, today I can look back and smile. Sometimes when you’re in the furnace, or the valley of postponement, hope isn’t easy to come by. But you can probably remember a time in your life where you were just ready for that season to end. And you can probably remember another time, when looking back on that season, you wish you’d given life a little more thought, made some decisions differently and treasured the good that was waiting to be found.

Every season will come and go. Some beautiful lyrics from Hillsong’s popular The Desert Song put it well. {These are two of my favourites:}

All of my life, in every season, You are still God I have a reason to sing. I have a reason to worship.


I know I’m filled to be emptied again. The seed I’ve received I will sow.

If you’re in the middle of the battle today, be encouraged. One thing we can count on is change. You’ll be out of the furnace when the timing is right. How you handle your time in the fire will determine what you bring out with you when the doors open.