Hope in the unexpected….

“Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?”

Matthew 6:26

There are things in life that we think we would never experience. One of those things is being unemployed. When I came to the U.S. for grad school in 2007, I believed that after studying so much I would get an awesome job right after graduation. This is what everybody thinks, right? Call it what you want – wishful thinking, idealism, etc…my reality was far from what I had hoped for. I graduated in December of 2010, by which time recession had really begun to take its toll on the economy, and jobs were very scarce. My wife, Jill, found out in early 2011 that she was going to be laid-off from her job as a teacher due to budget cuts. Here we were with no income, no jobs on the horizon, and had to move out of our university housing since I was not a student anymore. It was one of the worst times of my life and not at all what I had imagined my life would be like.

Thus began the job search craziness. By the summer, Jill finally got a part-time position in a high school and we finally got to find a nice rental house that was within our financial means. Thank God we had some savings so that we could manage my unemployment for a while. But the longer I continued my job search with no success, the more discouraged I became . I was sending out 50 resumes per week and nothing; no e-mails, no phone calls, nothing from any of the places I’ve applied. By now, all our savings were gone and we had little income to make ends meet after several months in that situation. That was the moment in our marriage that the words “faith” and “trust” had to be applied in a way that we had never needed to apply before!

I began to feel depressed. I reached a point where it was hard to pray and believe that situation could actually change. But, as Christians we are called to persevere, right? Easier said than done! However, there was a nice public park near our new apartment that we have enjoyed taking walks in since our move. It is a beautiful park. There is a hilly side that as we go up, we can see the mountains. In this time of seeking God more than ever, I decided to seek Him in the outdoors. I was emotionally exhausted staying at home sending resumes and trying to fill my hours with something, anything, to pass the time. So I started walking in the park.

As days went by, I started enjoying my walks around this park. It became the best part of my day. I would drink in the beauty of the mountains, the blue sky, the green leaves, the crisp Colorado air, and for the first time in months, feel refreshed. Simply looking at the mountains brought me so much peace, as if they were saying to me “Hey, come on, don’t you see that we are God’s creation! The seasons come and go we are here and God has always provided for us! He can provide for you too! I began realizing that God crafted those mountains and they don’t need to worry about anything because God gives them sun, snow, and everything that they need to keep them as magnificent as they are. God used those mountains to bring me a sense of hope – hope that God, the creator of the mountains, would provide for everything that I needed. And He did. During this time I experienced God’s provision through friends and family members coming together to help us!

Experiencing God’s creation brings us a sense of hope in times of trouble. This hope is born of the awe of the wonders of God’s creation and allowing that awe to inspire, change, and comfort you. Creation gives us hope, hope leads us to faith and trust, and faith and trust leads us to action! An ancient proverb from the mystic Eastern Church says: “The Spirit sleeps in the stone, dreams in the flower, feels in the animal and knows that he feels in the man”. After this experience looking at the mountain, this proverb made completely sense; the cosmic presence of the Spirit can be seen. That’s what I felt everyday I walked in the park and looked at the mountains, I felt God’s presence in creation because God and creation are connected.

God is so good, even when our circumstances seem hopeless. Don’t forget that God made everything on Earth so He is powerful to take care of us too!

Paulo R. B. Brito

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21 thoughts on “Hope in the unexpected….

  1. Thanks Paulo, I’m glad that you found hope – and a job – and suspect that you can now empathise better with Job. Are you following the A Rocha blog at blog.arocha.org/ ?

    • Hi Barbara,

      You’re welcome. I can and do empathise with job now. I am following the A Rocha blog. I mean, A Rocha blogs (i.e. ARI, ARUSA, AR Canada, etc). They are great. Paulo

  2. I’ve been unemployed maybe four times, once for several months in a row. Those were tough times, but also very uplifting—I felt loved and guided through my unemployment. All those times I felt I was a quitter—but God showed me I was a finisher. Just carry on, be brave, I’ll look after you, he said. He’s been doing just that. 😉

    And I too have a special spot by a lakeside where God made me look backwards and connect the dots and make sense of my past, present and future. So, he can do it without the Rockies 🙂 but he certainly will use his wonderful creation.

  3. Jehoval Jireh, our Provider! You know that I know exactly how you felt as we both experienced unemployment at the same time. Yet God never let us go hungry or without shelter. And He blessed me with unexpected gifts such as the time a friend gave me 3 boxes of kitchen supplies (from a friend who had to leave town suddenly), and free pots & plants that were left at the end of a garage sale, and free clothing (including a pair of jeans worth $180 when new) God knew I loved to cook, grow things & He dressed me like one of the flowers in His fields. I don’t miss being unemployed, but I miss the surprise gifts He sent my way to assure me that He loved me and would supply all my needs according to His riches in glory!

  4. Hi Paulo. I´m glad you found hope …and a nice job! Best regards to you and Jill.

    Reading your blog I had a deja vu. I´m currently in similar position you were and wondering which way to go to fullfil His purpose for me. Get a job in SP and work as an employee to a company or start from zero and carve my way into politics or public service, or go back to school and prepare to be a teacher (that I´ll do regardless) or have combos of these considering I´m still single an can have more than 1 job while not married with children. Not for the money, but for the joy and purpose. Praying to God for answes and meanwhile sending résumés to green companies all around. Big hug to you

  5. I really enjoyed reading what you wrote and hope there will be more! Beautiful words! Thanks for such honesty and depth in sharing your journey through a difficult time. We really hope to see you and Jill again soon 🙂
    God bless!
    Heather

  6. Oi Paulinho, lindo o seu testemunho….me senti em falta com vc, nem sabia o que vc estava passando amigo! Deus prova a quem ama e vc é muito amado de Dele! Deus continue abençoando a vc e a Jill. PS.: se quiser umas pregações do Ariovaldo Ramos me fale que mando nu pendrive p/ vc, são muito enriquecedoras e verdadeiras. Ano que vem eu e o Dani pensamos em ir p/ EUA fazer uma viagem e o Dani quer fazer um curso de inglês, por enquanto ele está estudando aqui p/ nao ir totalmente cru. Mande seu endereço. Saudades das nossas risadas e besteirol….rsrs…vamos nos falando! bjs

  7. Isn’t it marvelous how the Lord supplies? He always knows just what we need and we, at least, are especially grateful for the hard times he sends, for it is through those that we learn to draw closer to him, to trust in him and to be molded a bit more into his image. We’ve been unemployed (or almost, much of the time) for nearly 24 years now. “What do mean ‘almost unemployed’, you ask?” Well, we are missionaries in Italy and have lived with no or very little support, even though right now happens to be a pretty good time in that sense. We could right a book about all the wonderful ways our heavenly Father has cared (is caring) for us! Well in one sense we are, through our blogs! The goodness of God is just too good to NOT share! God bless you and your wife and may he continue to send you both lessons which will draw you closer to him!

    • wow…What a blessing to find out that you are missionaries in Italy! Io parlo un po di italiano…..ma ho dimenticato molto. I’m from Brazil but one of my grandmothers was Italian. Where are you from actually?

      • We have lived all over Italy, but for the past 4 years have been in the province of Abruzzo, to the east of Rome. Che bello che parli un pò di Italiano. E’ una lingua molto bella! Unfortunately, my husband & I speak no Portuguese, which is a bit more complicated! If you’re interested, you can find updates on what the Lord is doing here at http://searchingheartsofitaly.wordpress.com God is so good!

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