This entrepreneur’s lesson, Day 5
Today’s reading is drawn from Lamentations 3:22-23.
On my 44th birthday, I received the phone call every entrepreneur dreads. The voice on the other end of the line was a very familiar one. The man had, for 13 years, been one of my closest friends. “Robert,” he began, “we have to call the note on your business loan. I know what this means, and I’m sorry. I’m your friend, but I’m also a man under authority. I have to do what I have to do.”
I hung up the phone and sat there stunned. My five-year-old dream had come to an end. I walked into my business partner’s office, closed the door behind me, and gave him the awful news. Our eyes welled up with tears as we began to realize the impact of what had just happened.
A few minutes later, our whole staff was together, not having any idea what they were about to hear. My business partner and I had done our best to protect them from the rough seas our little enterprise had encountered, but now we had to tell them they were out of work and should start looking for other jobs.
I went back to my office and called my wife, Bobbie. When I heard her voice, I broke down, sobbing uncontrollably. Once I gathered my composure, I told her what had happened. “We’ve lost everything, Honey,” I said. “I can’t believe it.”
Over the next few days I made dozens of phone calls. One of the first was to a man to whom our business owed tens of thousands of dollars. The purpose of my call was to tell him that I was closing the doors to my business and he was never going to see his money. After I broke the bad news, there was a moment of silence. I braced myself.
“I know you’ve done your best, Robert,” Patrick began. “God has been faithful to both of us in the past, and he’ll be faithful in the future. He will provide.”
I was overwhelmed by Patrick’s response. I thanked him for his understanding and promised that if there was anything I could ever do to make this up to him, I would. He thanked me, offered a short prayer over the phone, and we said good-bye. I’ll never forget this man’s wise words.
Jeremiah couldn’t have said it better. In fact, Jeremiah did say the same thing. “[God] has driven me away and made me walk in darkness . . . he has weighed me down with chains . . . he has barred my way with blocks of stone . . . Yet this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: Because of the Lord’s great love, we are not consumed . . . Great is [God’s] faithfulness.”
This was true for Jeremiah in his distress. It was true for me when our business folded. And it’s true for you today. No unexpected phone call will ever take it away.