In August 1998, I finally developed the courage to answer the pull that God had placed on me years ago. The urge to enter Christian ministry had always been in my life. It started with a constant attraction to scripture and faith in my youth. Next came a gentle pull toward involvement in the church as an early adult. This evolved into a constant tug of war when I reached manhood. Finally, my deep yearning became a warm attraction that just seemed so natural, perfect, and just right. It was time. At the age of 40, I was ready, willing, and able to do what God wanted me to do.

Six weeks later I lost my job through a corporate downsizing effort. It was not a surprise. The slumping oil market had killed profits at the major conglomerate where I worked. The price of oil had gone from $20 per barrel when I joined the firm to less than $12 per barrel. I had seen the layoff coming for several months from my position that dealt with projects, costs, and budgets. Job prospects did not particularly worry me. Our faith was strong, our finances were solid, my skills were very good, and the job market for my background was very, very hot. Getting a job would be the least of my worries.

On the day of my layoff announcement, I arose at five A. M. to read my scripture and meditate before starting my day. The Old Testament assignment was from Job 37 to 41. I read those chapters and listened closely as God took Job to task about his attitude. The Lord told Job so many things, but the main message I received was that everything that happened to Job was God’s plans and His business alone. Job’s innocence or guilt had no bearing. God told Job repeatedly to gird up his loins like a man. It seemed to me that He said, “Job, I planned it; I caused it; I ordained it all. You would not understand any of it if I tried to explain it to you. I am the Lord who made everything that ever was and owe you no explanations or apologies. Now, you deal with it!”

This scriptural backdrop prepared me for what would come next. I left the house feeling strong and arrived at the office at seven A. M. My boss called me at 7:30 for a surprise private meeting in the conference room. He announced the company was laying off 2,000 people the following week because of flat profits. I knew it was coming. I had seen it for months, but I kept asking him what I had done. His reply was that my performance had been stellar. My skills were impeccable. He assured me that nothing I had done caused them to make this decision. I left his office and remembered the scriptures from the book of Job saying, “Gird up your loins like a man”. Silently, I reminded myself that it was time to deal with it.

The walk from my boss’ office to my desk was a short one. Normally, it would not provide much time for thought. However, on this day, my mind raced back to my morning meditation “Job lost his wealth and then he lost his health” I said repeatedly. In reflection now, I know the Holy Spirit spoke this into me. I had just received my confirmation that my major source of wealth would soon be gone.

At the instant I reached my desk and settled into my chair, a wild and inexplicable thought cemented itself in my mind. I would also lose my health. I must be ill is what firmly entered my thoughts. It sounds crazy. No, it was simply insane. I had no symptoms of any illness. I experienced no pain or any discomfort of any kind. My thoughts were not logical in this vein, but I could not shake this line of thinking. As I picked up the telephone to call my wife Linda, I knew that my doctor would be the next call.

Our talk was short. My wife and I had discussed how we would handle this event. However, she was unprepared for the announcement of my pending illness and the need to go to the doctor. She voiced concern and support for me throughout our conversation, but she and I both almost laughed when I softly insisted that I was going in for a complete physical as soon as possible. After our talk ended, I made that call to the doctor. My appointment was made for less than a week away. I am so thankful I made the call.

My doctor and I discussed Christ during previous visits to his office. He and I both laughed as I recounted my story to him and his physician’s assistant. After our laughter stopped, he and his assistant did a full physical. They found not one thing wrong that was new. The only thing he could find was that I was over weight as usual. We continued to make light of my story, but my mind was made up. I refused to let it go. Thank God, that He would not allow me to let it go.
My doctor consented to do tests that are more extensive after my persistence continued. He told me that the insurance company probably would not pay for the tests since additional procedures were not warranted. I assured him that I would pay for the tests if the company did not pay the claims. One week later on my employment was terminated. Like Job and his former employees, I was on the street. Two days later, my doctor did a colon scope and saw a cancerous mass inside me. There were no symptoms. I had no discomfort or pain. It was not a classic cancer diagnosis. My doctor sat on the chair in the exam room and said to me several times “How did you know?” I could only reply “You are a man of faith. How do you think I knew.” Like Job, God had removed his hedge and my battlefront expanded from financial to health.

During the last seven years, I have had a great deal of time to examine myself and to speak to God about who I am, where He wants me to go from here, and what I can do better. I would never have volunteered for my ordeal; however, I would not have missed the special times alone with the Lord this situation provided. Away from the hustle and bustle of my always-busy schedule, I could hear him speak to me even more. Without the constant competition of the corporate world, God showed me more about His love for me.

I now seek a more spiritual path and I believe the church must learn to be even more spiritual in all of its work and interactions. Collectively and individually, we must begin to be more like what God wants.

According to Jesus, these two rules summarize all of God’s Ten Commandments. We in the church must measure all of our actions and thoughts by this scale. Does it show love for God? How will it affect my fellow man? This line of thought must rule our daily lives. I urge all in the church to stop and meditate about our actions. We must ask ourselves if our deeds demonstrate love for God and for others. I believe the inability to follow these two commandments is the greatest challenge facing the church today.

I am not certain where He will lead me. I do believe the abilities God has given to me will become an important part of what I am here to complete. I am a writer, a speaker, an achiever, and a person that gets many things done at one time. I truly want to help people find their way in life.

God Bless! Take Care and Be Safe.

Dwight Fryer