January 19, 2012

Encouragement

Monday we received word that a brother and sister in Christ, who have been facing a difficult financial situation, would have to leave their home of twenty, and more, years.

Our friends know this is the Lord's will.  And they know that the best place to be is in His will.  Even if it isn't where you would have chosen to be.  They have a beautiful spirit about the whole situation.  Which is testimony to the goodness of the Lord.  Anyone who does not walk with God, would be panicking and sick right about now.

We faced a difficult situation ten years ago, just 6 weeks after we sunk all our savings into the down payment on this house.  And just 4 weeks after our fourth child was born.  And just 3 weeks after we bought our Suburban.  (We no longer had enough seat belts in the family Cherokee to strap all the car seats in.)  Allen was laid off.  We had friends in similar fields who had been out of work for months and even up to a year already.  Following the economic downturn the resulted from the 9/11 disaster, it didn't look hopeful that anyone in Allen's line of work might find a job any time soon.

But instead of being a time of discouragement, it was an amazing time of seeing the Lord work.  I'll talk more about that at another time, because this story isn't about us.  In the years that have passed, we have seen many friends in tight financial corners.  And while we are sympathetic and empathetic to their situation, what I really like to convey is how we need to face these times with an attitude of excitement and anticipation.  The Lord brings about these times to grow us, change us and bring opportunities we might never see otherwise.

In our case, it was to bring Allen to a job he NEVER would have taken, if it wasn't the only job available in those days.  A job that he has loved every minute of.  A job that has allowed him many wonderful opportunities.  A job that has grown his area of expertise.  And a job that has stretched him personally and spiritually time and again.

So, while I don't know what God is going to do in our friends' lives, I know it will be exciting and wonderful and fabulous!  And I tried to convey that.

Because really, the ladies who told me how sorry they were or cried for us, didn't help us or encourage us when Allen was out of work.  It was the lady who said she learned to love peanut butter and jelly when her husband was laid off for nearly a year.  That sister encouraged me.  And I want to be an encourage-r and up-lifter to my sisters.

So, after I said what I thought I could say, I shared the news with my family at dinner.  We prayed for this family and talked about ways we could encourage them.  And when I had my prayer time before going to sleep that night, I asked the Lord to show me how to hold their arms up.

And the Lord is so good!  The very next morning He gave me this wonderful example which was an answer to two prayers.

But first you must have a little background.

We have a special friend.  And he lives in a town in South Carolina that is the unemployment capital of the United States.  This city has the highest unemployment rate of the entire country.  More than three years ago, Charles was part of a huge reduction in work force.  His beloved wife was dying at the time.  You might imagine then the expense of medical care and the impact of losing his income and medical coverage at the same time would have on this family.  Oh, and they were raising their grand daughter, who is a year older than Brianna.  Despite excellent credentials, this hard working dedicated man has had not one job offer.  In that time, he has lost his wife and become care taker to a grandson, the younger brother of the grand daughter who was already living with them.

Because of the special needs of these children, our friend did not feel it would be in their best interests to relocate in order to find work.  And in their town he was running out of places to even apply.  He took up volunteering for Habitat for Humanity, as well as a women's shelter in their area and working with the boy scouts.  He has been grateful, that because he is not employed, he was at home each day when the grand children got home from school so he could be the anchor in their lives they desperately needed and wouldn't otherwise have.

We have felt helpless.  So we prayed.  And even though he did not have a job offer for three years, we have received many encouraging answers to our intercession, not the least being the success of these two children who were previously on the road to being statistics.

And then Tuesday morning the Lord sent us such a wonderful blessing and answer to prayer.  No, our friend didn't have a job.  But the Lord gave him something even better.  Something he never would have sought out otherwise.  Something he could not have done had he been employed.

An opportunity came up for Charles to open a restaurant.  Something none of us would have expected, probably least of all Mr. H.  But there you have it.  Not only does he have something to fill his time, and a way to make his livelihood, it is doing something he will enjoy, and something that his whole family can be a part of.

I spent all day Tuesday shaking my head at how perfect the Lord's timing is.  Just when I needed a way to encourage someone else through a trial, He brings this report we have waited more than three years for.  I mean really, the very morning after I prayed for it!  How amazing is our God?!

God works in ways that we least expect to provide answers to our prayers.  And He works in ways that seem strange to bring us to a place we wouldn't go otherwise.  And it is only by being steadfast through times which may seem like a trial that we can find out exactly where that place or what those answers may be.

For all those out there who are facing trials, and if your emails are any indication there are lots of you,  take comfort in knowing the Lord is using this to mold you, to grow you, to do something wonderful that He will show you when it is His perfect timing.

And until then, I will keep the prayers coming.

Kat

1 comment :

  1. So often our prayers don't get answered the way we want. When that's the case, it can be so disappointing that it can literally knock you to to your knees in tears. It's especially hard when you asked God for something undeniably good—someone's healing, a job, or mending an important relationship. You can't understand why God didn't answer the way you wanted.

    You see other people getting their prayers answered and you ask, "Why not me?" Then, we sometimes second guess ourselves, wondering if maybe there is some sin in your life that is keeping God from intervening.

    Choosing God's will over our own is so hard when we want something passionately. We can submit to God's will instead of our own solely because God is absolutely trustworthy. We have faith that His love is pure. God has our best interest at heart, and He always does what is most beneficial for us, no matter how it appears at the time.

    Blessings~
    Laura

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