It has been 14 months since I walked into my house midweek, during the day, to find my husband putting flowers in a vase for me. He turned around, smiled uncertainly and I said, “You just lost your job, didn’t you?” and he said, “Yes.”
There were many phone calls and conversations with family and friends. Lots of time siting around the dinner table after we ate, talking and listening to each other. More time than was comfortable wrestling with the Lord, fighting emotions, plowing through attitudes, hours of sleep lost in silent tears and pleading to the Lord, “What is it you want to teach us and why can’t we learn it any faster?” and “We want to do Your will, but what is it?” Stresses as we went over the budget, cut things out, watched the money in our account dwindle.
There were sweet times too. So many of God’s secret love agents blessed us, and I hope were blessed in return.An elder at our door with an envelope of cash from someone we know but do not know, simply marked “Merry Christmas!” Gift cards to grocery stores with the envelopes typed to conceal the identities of the givers. Notes and cards saying “We’ve been there too. God is faithful. You WILL survive this,” on days that we doubted if we could or would. A dear time of blessing from one who has run his race so well, all he said straight from the heart of God to us. A desperate conversation with one, who, as I fumbled to explain what I barely understood and couldn’t articulate, simply said and meant it, “I get it” and he did.
There were conversations with others in our shoes, as we tried to encourage each other, as the weeks lengthened into months. The prayers prayed over us and for us on days when we simply did not have the strength or words to know what to ask for any more. There were answered prayers for others and the joy that comes from watching the Lord as He meets others’ needs and answers those prayers. There were times of great faith building and hope and resting in His arms and learning that Jehovah Jireh, the Lord who Provides, is not just a name of God in the Old Testament, but the truth for today and always.
And then there was this past Monday. After a week trying to decide if we should put the kids in public school and I should try to find a full-time job, a week of wondering if we were to give up everything we thought God wanted us to do, a week of figuring just how many more days our money would last and what else I could sell, there was Monday.
My husband received an offer of a job and accepted it. Not a job-to-help-out-til-you-can-get-a-real-job. A real job. A new career path. Some place to put all his office stuff that’s been hibernating in the attic and under our bench for 14 months. Someone that will sign a paycheck. Just in time.
What impeccable timing, that One, the Keeper of the Clock, the One who knows the end from the beginning. How He knew there must be less of us for there to be more of Him in us. And how, because He loves us so, knew we could never do it ourselves, He emptied us, chiseled away the stony hearts, burnt the chaff, smashed the idols within us to make more room for Him.
A dear friend, whose husband was unemployed for two years and just recently got a job, said, “We’ll never be the same.“ I didn’t understand what she meant at the time–Until now. We will never be the same. We are changed. God, in His love, changed us. Our hearts, our priorities, our faith. Some things are more important. Some things just aren’t important at all any more. We view God differently. We view the world differently. We view ourselves differently.
We have learned “give us this day our daily bread” by being forced to walk it.
We have learned “God is our provider” by living it.
Not because we wanted to learn it that way. Apparently we had to learn it that way. It’s much easier just to say it and think you believe it, but the living it–that’s hard and wonderful and frightening and exhilarating and humbling all at the same time.
So there is much gratitude in our house this week. Not a jump up and down and ra-ra gratitude, but a call and tell others with tears of joy kind of gratitude. A marveling in our hearts gratitude. A deep gratitude to all those who have faithfully walked with us and loved us so well on this rather rocky portion of the Jesus Way. Thanks be to the One who is not slow in keeping His promises. A thankfulness for the love of the Father so deep, that “I will not boast in anything, no gifts, no power, no wisdom; But I will boast in Jesus Christ…” It has all been Him. To Him be the power and glory forever and ever. Amen!