Unemployment. It’s the worst.
Currently, I am unemployed. Actually, that is not quite true. I work part-time at a retail department store, but I don’t consider that a “real job.” Don’t get me wrong. Many of my co-workers have graduated from a university with a degree in fashion merchandising, and they hope to have long careers in retail. For me, that is not the case. I graduated with my bachelor and master degree in social work and public administration. So, it’s not exactly compatible with retail. Each day that goes by where I sell clothes, I feel like my brain is wasting away.
Yet, today, I am thankful.
I was reading a devotional this morning titled, “Daily Bread.”
“Give us today our daily bread.” – Matthew 6:11
The idea is that we have to pray and ask God to give to us daily. This is a picture of dependence on God to provide because he is the one who gives us all things. When I had a real job, I didn’t think to pray and ask God for my daily bread, because I didn’t think I needed to. I was self-reliant and self-sufficient. But, in this season of unemployment, I am completely aware of how much I need God to provide my daily bread.
In the Bible, the Israelites, God’s people, were wandering in the dessert for 40 years. They had just escaped Egypt, where they were enslaved. Suddenly, they went into panic mode! They were free, but they didn’t have a reliable source of food or secure housing! Then, God sent down manna from heaven, a type of bread. They were instructed to go and gather the manna each day, but only enough for one day. If they gathered more than one day’s worth of manna, it went bad. Only on the day before the Sabbath could they gather enough for 2 days, because the Sabbath was a day of rest. During that time of wandering, the Israelites had to depend on God.
- He was the one who sent down the manna. They had no control whether it would come or not. Only he could determine if it would come down from heaven.
- They couldn’t gather extra, plan, prepare, or save tomorrow. The Israelites had to trust that God would do as he said, and would send down more the next day. In this way, God made the Israelites depend on Him each day. The Israelites learned they HAD to depend on God day by day because they did not have a choice.
In the same way, God is taking me through a season in the wilderness.
I work off of commission. I can’t control whether or not a customer comes in the door or if they are in the mood to buy or to window shop. Today, I did not ring up a single customer. People were at the mall, they were coming through the store. They tried on a ton of clothes…But they didn’t buy a single thing. At the end of the day, I have no idea how much will be in my paycheck! Like the Israelites, I have no control.
My husband and I really need two incomes to survive. When I worked full-time, we got by, but we definitely needed both of our incomes. Then, I was laid off. Yet, somehow, we are still surviving! It’s crazy…the more you make, the more you spend. But realistically, my hubby and I weren’t living all that extravagantly. Most of our money went to bills, student loans, and food. We hardly ever ate out, and I barely shopped. I’ve basically been on a spending freeze since I got engaged! (ugh! it’s the worst…combined income! but…also the best, because now my hubby has taken on my student loan debt!) Anyways, can you imagine if you were just scraping by on 2 full-time incomes, and then 1 of you got laid off?! Yea, that’s crazy. It sounds impossible – how are you going to survive?!
BUT, God promises that he will provide! In Philippians 4:16, it says, “And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” All I can say is… AMEN! That is so true!!
It has almost been a year since I was laid off.
Yet, somehow, I am alive. My husband and I are doing just fine. There has not been a day that goes by where one of us was hungry. In fact, we have an abundance! Last week, we hosted dinner for 10 people! Tonight, we plan to do the same! Sunday, we plan to have probably 15 people over for lunch! Does that sound like need to you?! No, it doesn’t! And honestly, it is all God. Because, HE is the one who supplies our every need. He is the one who gives the daily bread. And he IS the daily bread! Yes, I need food to survive everyday, but even more than that – I need Him to survive everyday. And you know, I think he cares more about that than anything else.
“I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you.” – Job 42:5
I heard God provides, but now, I SEE – He provides!! Today, I got my commission paycheck, and it was more than I expected. I had enough to pay off my bills, make my student loan payment, and set aside money for savings and tithe. Somehow…I sold enough clothes to get that paycheck. And even though it’s still half of what I used to make…I know that God will stretch it to meet all of my needs.
Unemployment sounds dreadful. And it definitely can be dreadful. But, at the same time, I am so thankful for it. That right there, is a miracle! Who in their right mind is thankful for unemployment?! But, I am thankful for it, because without it, I might actually fool myself into thinking that I don’t need God to provide for me, to feed me, to clothe me, to sustain me. The fact that I know God and see him at work providing each of those things for me…it’s priceless and totally worth this season in the wilderness…! What great love he has for me?! He is so faithful!