89: Promises for the Jobless

89: Promises for the Jobless

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Devotional Stories for Tough Times

Promises for the Jobless

By Nancy B. Kennedy

Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

~Matthew 19:26

Sadly, most of our friends have been laid off at one time or another. Many have had to move away to find work. We seemed the most stable family we knew. My husband grew up in the area and had worked for just two employers in twenty years. I’d lived here for twenty-five years. We’d been married for twenty years and lived in our house for fifteen.

Yet, one day, the ax fell for us, too. “They’re eliminating jobs in a certain salary range,” John said. “My salary range.”

In that instant, my life of carefully constructed security vanished. We were stunned that John got so little in severance pay. Unemployment insurance paid just a fraction of his income. How were we going to live?

Jobless, we suffered financial shocks almost daily. Our washer broke, an air conditioner died, and our car needed repairs. Our property was reassessed, and our real estate taxes skyrocketed. My hand shook as I wrote checks and watched our bank balance plummet.

It was exhausting to shield our young son from the crest of our emotions. In my despair, I found it difficult to read the Bible or even to pray. One Sunday, our pastor prayed for those who needed jobs, and I fled the sanctuary in tears. I hated being counted among the needy ones.

It was at an almost subconscious level, then, that a verse of Scripture reached my heart. I imagine that just about every Christian has confidently said that “with God all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26). I’d said it myself, although I wasn’t sure I believed it anymore.

But it was this promise that sustained us during those bleak months of joblessness. I thought of it every time we were blessed with an unexpected kindness — the neighbors who made us meals, the farm stand that refused my money, the camp director who waived our fees. We received a steady stream of cards and phone calls, soothing hugs and words of encouragement.

Most memorable, though, was the Sunday morning we entered the church classroom where my husband has taught a group of believers for years. A stack of envelopes was piled high on his chair. There, among our cherished friends, we opened the cards one by one. Each envelope contained a check. I wept as we made our way through the stack. Adding it up later, we were stunned to find that our friends had given us more than $2,000. What riches of mercy are found in the love of God’s people! Once again, I can say confidently: “With God all things are possible.”

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