I have always known that the Lord works in mysterious ways His wonders to perform. I read a story of an elderly woman who loved the Lord more than anything in the world, and she lived her life to please him. At her funeral, the soloist selected a hymn that was appropriate for the occasion not knowing that the hymn was the woman's favorite. In the quietude and solemnity of the hour after the eulogy was said, the soloist got up and started to sing: His Eye is on the Sparrow. As she did so, a little brown sparrow flew into the sanctuary and fluttered about the whole time the song was being sung.
Throughout my life and career, I have known beyond a shadow of a doubt that His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.
I started working for the Federal Government as a GS-3 clerk stenographer at the Naval Ship Repair Facility in Guam. I took all the courses in high school that would prepare me to be a good stenographer. A year later, I applied for a higher level stenographic position at the Commander Naval Forces Marianas. Wonder of wonders I was selected for the position. I was thrilled for it would mean more money and prestige for me. I had to give my current employer a two-week notice so that he would start the ball rolling in getting a replacement for me. However, there was no need to get a replacement for I was given a promotion so I would not leave the Command. Needless to say, I was thrilled that my employer thought highly of me and wanted to keep me.
Shortly after that, I was reassigned to work as a clerk stenographer for the Executive Officer of the Command. This was the second highest position in the secretarial field there at the Base. This meant that I would fill in as secretary for the Commanding Officer, a number one position, in the event his secretary was sick or on vacation. I was doing the work and getting trained to qualify for this number one position should it ever be vacated. On numerous occasions, my former boss, a Naval officer, continued to give me his own typing work for he liked my work and knew that I would correct his spelling, etc.
Soon, the day came when the Commanding Officer's secretarial position was to be vacated. The Captain's secretary and her husband were moving to Hawaii. This was my chance to get this position. I was as high as a kite with excitement and anticipation. I knew I was qualified for the position because I had been doing the work all along. And then, there was the rule that promotion from within should be considered first. My coworkers knew that I would get the job, and they were happy for me.
However, I did not get the job. The girl who was selected was a mere GS-3 clerk working in one of the shops. The only reason she was selected, as many in the workplace suspected, was because she was the wife of a Naval officer. Needless to say, I was totally devastated. I cried for days. The realization that life is not always fair hit me like a ton of bricks. I didn't understand why God allowed something terrible to happen to me. But He, whose eye is on the sparrow, was watching over me all along. He knew the end from the beginning. He knew something I didn't know. He permitted something terrible to happen to direct my mind into a different channel and into something much, much better. At the time, the highest rate that one could get as a secretary was a GS-5. Had I gotten the position as the Commanding Officer's secretary, I would be stuck as a GS-5 forever.
Because of this traumatic incident, I started to think about getting into a totally different line of work--work in management. To get a management position, however, there was a regulation that you had to first pass the Federal Service Entrance Examination (FSEE). The FSEE was not an easy test to take. Some had to take the exam several times before passing. Many couldn't pass at all. My supervisor's boss was one of them. They finally had to waive this requirement in his case. I knew about this because my supervisor's boss told me so himself. I took the FSEE test and passed it the first time. I was so happy; I was walking on clouds.
Shortly after passing the FSEE test, I was selected for a management analyst position at the Naval Supply Depot. This was a career ladder position which meant that I would work for one year as a GS-5, another year as a GS-7, and another year as a GS-9, the highest level you could attain at that time. Later, this level was raised to a GS-11. I worked as a management analyst for one year before changing my field to data processing and computers after passing a programming aptitude test.
Looking back, the traumatic experience that devastated me beyond measure was a blessing in disguise. It opened the way for me to enter a better, more lucrative field. Indeed I can say that His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me. I can also say that He works in mysterious ways His wonders to perform.
After working for the Federal Government for 30 years, I had never gone through a reduction-in-force (RIF) or even experienced an imminent reduction-in-force situation until recently although I had known many people who went through RIF and were bumped into lower-rate positions. Of course, our top management at the time had not said that we would be in an imminent reduction-in-force situation, but many employees speculated that that's exactly what would happen. The Navy and Marine Corp decided to do business a different way than they've been doing for decades. They wanted to standardize everything and gain control of hardware and software. What needed to happen before this could be implemented was downsize its manpower.
I was up for retirement anyway, but since Federal employees in the computer specialist series that I was in recently had a sizable raise, I decided to stay on a couple of years. This would be to my advantage as my retirement annuity would be determined based on the last three highest pay I had. But now, they were offering $25,000 incentive for anyone who wanted to leave. Some were willing to take the money and run, but I had second thoughts for we still have a sizable mortgage, etc., etc.
We had a deadline to make a decision whether to terminate or stay on with the possibility of being RIF'ed later with no incentive or be moved to Charleston where our headquarters were located--that, or be moved elsewhere. At that point in my life moving would be a hassle. This was not an easy decision to make, but I needed to make a decision before the deadline.
As always, I asked the Lord to help me make the right decision. After much thought and prayer, I decided to take the incentive and go on retirement. I knew that no matter what happens in my life, the Lord would see me through because His eye in on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.