Sunday, July 31, 2016

Patience and Contentment

I graduated college in May of 2015, over a year ago. I’ve been looking for a job ever since. While looking for a job I worked part time (one day a week) filming high school and community college sports across Mississippi for 11 months. I’m not that big into sports, but I know how to work a camera and needed the money. It was not fun, but the money was good. Overall, It has a difficult year. The main lesson I learned was to trust in the Lord. I never doubted that He had a job somewhere for me, so that gave me hope for the future and that helped me stay content. During that year, I learned patience the hard way. Patience and contentment were the biggest things I learned.  A lot of my days were spent at Starbucks on my computer looking online for jobs. I must have applied for over 100 jobs, and out of those, I only heard anything back from about 25% of them, and out of that 25%, only about 10% seemed interested, and out of that 10% only about 5% called me in for an interview. The wait and the negative responses I got made it easy to get depressed and feel bad about myself, but instead of having a pity party, I redirected that to my hope in the Lord. Every time I submitted my resume or applied for an application I prayed “Lord, if this isn’t the job for me, please close the door in my face. If it is for me, please open the door. Not my will, but yours.”

As I mentioned, during this time, I spent a lot of time sitting in Starbucks. There I got to know the Baristas and other regular customers fairly well. I was able to help encourage people and talk about God to people. One of my professors who quickly became my friend, asked me “What if you are unemployed because there is one person that God wants you to talk to?” This made me think. If the Lord could use me to give a word of encouragement that changed their life, or share the gospel to at least one person, me being unemployed would be totally worth it. I got to talk with and encourage many people, as well as share the gospel with an atheist Australian street performer in New Orleans. I also got to know a regular at Starbucks named Jamal. Jamal is a Muslim Saudi Arabian who is working on his PhD at Mississippi State University. English is not his first language, so he would always bring me his laptop and have me proof-read his papers for school. In addition to helping him with his papers, over the year we didn’t exchange much more than basic pleasantries and greetings. Every time I talked to him I kept feeling like I needed to share the gospel with him. But sadly , our conversations never went in that direction. Well, finally, in mid June of 2016, he and I were talking about life and how people act, and the door was opened for me to share the gospel with him. I was able to share with him the simple truths of what Jesus did and the concept of God’s grace and how there is nothing that we need to do in order to be saved, just simply believe. It was a very organic conversation that fell in line with what we were talking about and wasn’t forced. I didn’t see him convert on the spot, I simply planted a seed, a pebble in his shoe that hopefully he will take out and further examine in the future. A week after that, I was offered a job at a locally owned and operated online store. Maybe Jamal was the reason the Lord had me to be unemployed for so long: so I could build a relationship with him and eventually share the gospel with him. I guess I’ll find out in eternity.

I write this to encourage people in similar situations that no matter where you find yourself in life, no matter what you may be going through, no matter what the future looks like, TRUST THE LORD! Romans 8:28 says “He works everything together for the good of those who love Him.” This has been a comforting verse to me for many years, and it shows me that no matter what happens, whether we think it is good, or whether we think it is bad, the Lord uses those situations to help build and better us. We need only to trust Him. As long as we are trusting Him, He will provide for us and lead us to where He wants us.

A song that encouraged me a lot through this past year, was “Finish What He Started” by Steven Curtis Chapman. One set of lyrics really sticks out to me:

And it may feel like 40 long days in a hard driving rain
Or 40 years in a dry desert sand
But when He’s finished we will SEE
A beautiful tapestry
And know that nothing has been wasted in the end
Oh, and God will, He will finish what He started
No thread will be unwoven
Nothing will be left undone
Every plan and every purpose
That He has will be accomplished
And God will finish what He’s begun
And we’ll stand as the ones completed
By the miracle of His love

Stay strong, my brothers and sisters, trust in the Lord and lean not on your own understanding, although in our hearts we try to plan our course, it is the Lord that establishes our steps.

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