Hope in the time of struggle

I’m looking out my bedroom window at my new patio.  It’s gorgeous!   The sand colored pavers contrasts beautifully against the brunette colored retaining wall creating an artistic pop of color within the tree covered setting.

The patio was my sister’s idea.  She started the project five years ago and got distracted midway through.  The area has remained an eyesore covered by tarp for the past five years.

My backyard used to disturb my neighbors. They kept prodding me to finish the project. However, I did not have the time, finance or know-how needed to build a patio.  So, I placed the unfinished patio on my prayer list and I fervently beseeched the Father for help.

Over this past summer He answered. He brought friendly consultants, miraculously stretched existing supplies and sent two full weeks of warm, sunny weather.  The patio was completed and my neighbors are thrilled with the results.   The finished patio is my newest symbol of hope.

Hope is quite precious in this season of unemployment.  After months of no replies, invasive interviews and disturbing rejection letters, I struggle to remain positive.

I’ve been unemployed and uncomfortable for far too long.  Friends now wonder if I somehow brought this on myself, and some fear that my circumstance might be contagious.  Others worry I may be tempted to ask for a loan!

Yes, I’ve been in this painful place way too long.  My financial resources, both the brook and bird that brought me sustenance, are drying up.  The days and months of unemployment have left bruises and scars and I’m now bone tired and discouraged.

Into this valley come a word Dry bones, hear the word of the Lord’. Ezekiel 37:4.  God is saying to the cries of my heart “My daughter, hear my Word.  Don’t just listen, hear what I’m saying.

To hear you must first give me your full attention.  I see your mind wandering during prayer. You are distracted by worries. Divided attention is the same as a divided mind.  So, while in my presence let me be the only One on your mind.  Allow my worship, my Word, my thoughts to dominate your mind.

Rehearse my Word. Repeat them over and over again in your mind until they make sense. I am your shepherd.  You will not want. Let your thoughts about joblessness, your bills and your weariness become my thoughts. I will lead.  I will restore. I will provide.”

My friends, in your days of struggle and weariness, what do you hear the Lord saying?  What Word comes to you about your struggles?