“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?”
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