June 30

by Carol  Murray

 “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”  Romans 8:28

When we are experiencing periods of challenge and uncertainty, sometimes it’s difficult to see or understand how God is responding to our prayers.  We might wonder whether our individual circumstances are important enough for God, or we might feel overwhelmed with what seems challenge after challenge after challenge.  Often, it is hindsight that shows us how God takes what happens, and uses that for good, in his timing and knowing what is best for us.

My son Ryan and his wife Jessie are living that reality in Seattle during this past year.  Looking back at what they have been through in less than a year:

In July 2019, Ryan lost his videographer job at a church, under circumstances that were disheartening in terms of both the culture and management style.  In August, he started driving for a ride-share company.  Three weeks in he was rear ended, and his car was totaled.  He also realized that the driving was not generating sufficient income to continue.  Having resumed piano lessons to support his passion for music, Ryan started working with a piano teacher who was preparing him to audition as a lucrative piano player and singer at a piano bar.  In October, his piano teacher unexpectedly and tragically died.  Ryan continued to pursue the music opportunity, but realized he would need to have a source of income to supplement Jessie’s part time job at a coffee shop while she is pursuing her master’s degree.  He got a part time job at Starbucks (as a non-coffee drinker), hoping that it would lead to full time and also allow time for pursuing music.  The start date was delayed over a month, hours were not increasing, and Ryan realized he would need something more.  

All of this certainly could have seemed like a downward spiral, and the series of events were certainly stressful.  But after seven months without full time employment, in early March Ryan got a job in Costco’s IT department, providing technology related help desk support to Costco’s employees – full time with benefits, and he loves it!  In March, Jessie quit her part time job at a coffee shop as the revised shifts wouldn’t fit with her school schedule.  She took a job at a women’s spa, and never got to her first day because of COVID-19.  At the same time, the coffee shop had to close, and the manager documented her departure as COVID-19 related.  Between the two job situations, she has been able to collect unemployment.  And now in June, less than 12 months from the start of this story, they just closed on the purchase of their first house!

We look back and are amazed and awed to see how God was at work.  Just before Ryan lost his job at the church, he and Jessie had decided to move into a studio apartment to save money, and they had already signed the lease while he was employed.  After Ryan’s car was totaled, he used the insurance money to buy a cheaper vehicle and to provide for living expenses while he was able to explore and pursue his music passion.  If he had continued as a ride-share driver, gotten the job at the piano bar, or continued working at Starbucks, he would have limited or no income now because of COVID-19.  Ryan’s job at Costco started just before the pandemic, allowing him to complete training and continue to work remotely once shelter in place was required.  With sheltering in place and limited options for entertainment, all of Jessie’s unemployment could go into savings.  As Ryan puts it, “Heck, even coronavirus with unemployment led to enough savings for a down payment!”  Once again, as Ryan and Jessie were house-hunting and considering making an offer for the one they are buying, Ryan and I were both praying for the same thing (unbeknownst to each other) – that God would provide guidance as to whether this was the right move, the right time, and to close doors or open doors in accordance with his will. 

Clearly, God has been at work, and we are grateful! I’ll close with Ryan’s favorite quote of this last year:

“Your life isn’t falling apart, it’s simply falling into place.”

Heavenly Father, thank you for hindsight and stories of your faithfulness that help us to remember that you are always with us in and through the most difficult circumstances.  Protect us from doubt, encourage us when we are overwhelmed, and lead us in your way.  To God be the glory and the power, for ever and ever.  Amen.

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