Tribulation in the Lab

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. Hebrews 11:1 ESV

At twenty-five years old, I had a stomach ulcer from the unbearable stress of my job.

I had found a laboratory who would hire an inexperienced college graduate with a B.S. in biology. The VA hospital needed a histology technician, and they would train me to do the job.

Histologists make slides from the tissue removed from the body during surgery, which pathologists review to make a diagnosis for the patient.

My lab consisted of my supervisor and one other histology lab tech—I was the youngest. Both women had been working in this lab for years. I came in excited to learn. But I didn’t realize that I would learn more than histology…

God was about to throw me into the middle of a spiritual battle.

My supervisor, a Jamaican woman fond of talking about curses and voodoo dolls, did not like me from day one. I believed her goal was to make my life and job miserable.

She began by criticizing my work clothes, the way I styled my hair, and wearing my contact lenses. She demanded I pulled back my hair and wear glasses. Good thing I wasn’t there to find a boyfriend… it would’ve never happened. Although she thought I flirted with all the doctors who came into our lab because I acknowledged their presence.

It got worse. She didn’t allow me to take some of my breaks and if she decided she wanted me back in the lab before lunch was over, she would stage a mysterious phone call from a family member, who hung up before I got to the phone…

My supervisor criticized my work in every way and at times compared it to that of a five-year-old. Equipment from my locker disappeared after she watched me stow it away for the night. She even called my house to see if I was sick after I had called off.

I cried to the Lord every single day. I was too demoralized by her to complain and fear and intimidation held me hostage.

Even though it seemed like discouragement and hopelessness were my constant companions, I sensed God’s presence.  He met with me each morning as I worshipped and poured out my heart to Him; He filled my soul. I grew in faith and dependence on my Savior.

However, the more I matured in my faith, the worse the harassment got.

So we can confidently say, “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?” Hebrews 13:6 ESV

After a year, I interviewed for a job on another floor of the hospital. They offered me the position, but I knew the Lord did not want me to take that job. As I turned it down, God gave me immediate peace.

Once I had endured that job for two years, the head lab manager gave me a significant pay raise and promotion because of my degree and two years on the job. My supervisor, who had no control over this, was furious. She increased the attacks, wanting to prove I was undeserving of this promotion.

I begged God to let me leave; He did.

If I had taken my eyes off Jesus and surrendered to the hopelessness of my circumstances, I would have missed out on a job I loved.

During those two years, the Lord surrounded me with praying friends and mentors who taught me how to pray against the spiritual darkness I faced. I had faith the Lord was with me.

After I quit, the Lord had an incredible job waiting for me in cancer research. They were looking for a histologist with two years of lab experience!

If I had taken my eyes off Jesus and surrendered to the hopelessness of my circumstances, I would have missed out on a job I loved.

No matter what situation you may find yourself in today, whether a bad relationship, a difficult job, or a health problem, don’t give up. Keep your eyes on Jesus and hold on to your faith.

 He has you in the palm of His hand. He will never leave you or forsake you.

In what way is the Lord teaching you to trust Him?

In what way is the Lord teaching you to trust Him?

16 thoughts on “Tribulation in the Lab

  1. Wow, Stephanie, it had to only be the Lord’s strength and growing your faith you were able to endure such harsh and cruel harassment on a job. I’ve had experiences when I waited and didn’t run ahead of God where He brought a better outcome than I imagined.

    1. I asked God for many years why I had to endure that treatment, it wasn’t until a few years ago I felt I had the answer. God is not cruel or insensitive, but He always has a plan. His way is best even when we don’t understand. Thanks, Karen.

    2. Carla

      Good for you! You held onto faith and and didn’t succumb to doubts or pressures. That’s spiritual maturity. Amen…

  2. Ben Cooper

    A message that hits home for many of us! Unfortunately, I’ve had some similar experiences, especially while going through my first cancer surgery and treatments. What was worse was one of my two bosses was a professing Christian. I had the wisdom to file and be approved for FMLA to protect my job. They both seemed determined to make the worst physical year of my like, the worse of my career. It’s tough to have to go into work personal pressures added to the demands of the job. I endured the trial and learned some things in the process.

  3. I’m sorry to hear you had to go through that all while fighting cancer…unbelievable. God has brought you far and I am happy you are on the other side of that season. May God continue to bless you with great health!

  4. Scott Harris

    God bless you Stephanie! Those brutal times provide the most growth. For me, the tribulation was from the church. I was persecuted because I was “too spiritual” and they eventually told me to find a new spiritual home. I experienced exponential growth during that time, and experienced rejection and being set free simultaneously. It was the place where I received understanding through perseverance; I wouldn’t trade that for anything.

  5. Wow, rejection is such a hard thing! I am glad to hear that you found healing for that. I once read a Bible study author write about suffering. Tribulation takes many forms in our lives. I know none of us like it but it either causes us to run to God or away. Our actions determine our commitment to Him.

  6. Cindy Brock

    I also can remember a job I had at a doctor’s office that I was treated badly, I wanted to quit so many times, but couldn’t find another job. I did learn some new things while working there, after eight months I got a call from a friend who wanted to know if I would like a job at her outpatient clinic. I took the job and found out that I needed the skills I had learned at the doctor’s office which prepared me for this new job. This new job was my dream job and my boss told me quite often that I was such an asset to the clinic! God’s plan

  7. Stress is most definitely a “killer” Ms. Stephanie; and sometimes it’s not a quiet one! I can commiserate with you as I think many of us can. We worked for someone rather than working with them. That was something God showed me at a young age (at my dad’s service station) and I tried to carry it with me wherever I went. As I moved up the career ladder (new jobs, promotions, leadership opportunities), I tried to always remember how terrible it felt to be an employee and how great it felt to be a team member. A lesson I carry from Christ is one that I’ve always tried to share with the team members I had the honor of working with. “I will never ask you to do something that I am not willing to do myself.” The Gospel of Jesus Christ proves this true my friend. Loved this post ma’am.

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