A Broken Man and a Broken Bow

    February 21, 2020
    In the last six years I have had six jobs.
    Though I’d hoped each time that the newest job was “the one,” none of them ending up working out, and all of them left me feeling rejected, disappointed, and more than a little beaten down. Tired and frustrated of job hunting, I decided several months ago that I would try one more time for something better, a real career. I remember a prayer I said, a bit of a desperate one. “Lord, if it’s possible, could you just have someone call and offer me a job? No applications, no interviews, just a job.”
    A few days later I got a call from someone who had seen my résumé online and who asked if I wanted to start work as an apprentice electrician. A short time later, I did. My prayers were answered!
    But within a week or two of starting my new career, I noticed that my hands hurt and my fingertips were numb. I saw a doctor, asked my work for time to rest and exercise my hands, and received priesthood blessings. Still, my hands were numb and hurt more each day.
    I had a feeling that I needed to find a different job—that my hands couldn’t handle this work.
    That thought, that realization, may be one of the most painful experiences in my life. I couldn’t job-hunt again. I was blessed enough to get this one. In both my body and mind, I felt like a car bellowing smoke, just hoping I would arrive at my destination before I broke down completely. I had to find a new job, but I couldn’t. I knew I couldn’t.
    In the scriptures, we read of a family that was in the midst of failure: Lehi’s family. Nephi, the reliable provider, broke his bow after his brother’s bows lost their spring, and his whole family began to starve. Even the great prophet Lehi began to murmur against God. I wonder how Nephi felt.
    I know how I felt. And it wasn’t a bow that was broken; it was me. Those years of failure left me a broken man, but they also gave me a broken heart. So I took my broken heart, and I begged for help. I begged for help from God. I begged for help from my family.
    The Lord and my family heard me. My brother-in-law discussed with me potential ways I could try to fix my ruined résumé. He and my sister looked at my education and experience, my abilities and personality, and they tried to help me find a career I could thrive in.
    We chose a career path, and I was introduced to contacts who knew the type of work I was looking for and were willing to advise me as I searched.
    I applied for jobs in my new career path, and occasionally I even got an interview. The people I interviewed with let me know how slight my chances were for getting hired.
    One day my wife prayed for me. She had prayed many days for me, but this day she cried and wrestled with God with all her energy. She knew how depressed I had become, how worn out and weary. She asked God that He give to me a win, any win at all, and that I could have a measure of hope.
    A few hours later I received a call from someone offering me a better job than I could have hoped for. It was just in time. A few days before I started my new job, a tendon on my weak hand burst and snapped entirely. But it was okay, because I had found a new hope, and my broken tendon did not break me.
    “[My] years of failure left me a broken man, but they also gave me a broken heart. So I took my broken heart, and . . . I begged for help from God.”
    I’ve had my job for a few wonderful months now, and I have a good feeling about it! But it could be possible that this trial isn’t over—Nephi’s trials certainly weren’t over after the Lord blessed him to find food. Six jobs in six years could instead become six years with no job at all. But no matter what happens, there is one blessing that can always be available to me: God’s love. Paul wrote that no “tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword” could separate us from God’s love (Romans 8:35). I would add to the list “neither unemployment, poverty, nor debt.” God’s love, through the comfort of the Holy Ghost, is always available to us as we seek Him. Even if more of my body breaks, even if I lose more jobs, even if all things go wrong, I can choose to follow my God and trust in His love for me.
    Even though Nephi broke his fine steel bow, he trusted in God, made another bow out of wood, and fashioned an arrow out of a straight stick. If this experience has taught me anything, it’s that as we seek self-reliance—whether a better job, more education, or better habits with our money—we must take what we have, even when it doesn’t seem enough. Then we must do as Nephi did: be humble, trust God, and ask Him where we should go to provide.
    I know that God knows our struggles. He loves us. If we go to Him, He will show us where we need to hunt and what we need to do. He will send us the help we need.

    Benjamin Taylor

    Ben Taylor is a student of science, a fan of fantasy, a patron of pastries, and a friend of food. He and his wife, Beccah, live in Provo, Utah.


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