Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The God of Hope

I don't think either one of us imagined that we'd be living in California for 30 days without jobs or a place to live, but this is our reality. The job hunt is slow and hard; I'm sure that is true for a lot of places.

We have been truly blessed by the Sparks family, who have housed us for the past month; they have been very generous and gracious to us during this difficult time. As Christmas and the New Year approach, they need to have their space back for family and other events coming in the near future. And although we couldn't have expected them to house us forever, we weren't prepared to leave by mid-December.

Honestly, we felt abandoned, not by the Sparks, but by God. We have been praying for housing and jobs since before we moved out here; we have worked so hard to network and send out résumés in order to find work. We were certain God had led us here. Why were we still without jobs? Why are we still searching for a place to live? What are we missing? Why hasn't God answered our prayers? Where is God? All we could do at this point was pray again, trust again, and try to find a place we could afford to rent on our savings.

Then just a few hours later . . . my external hard drive crashed! I had been working on a few projects like my wedding album, my professional website, photographs, my résumé and work samples. Everything was gone. The day's events began to ware on me, and I broke down. Now what? Do I just pick up and start over? I felt defeated.

A few days later, Mrs. Sparks gave us a very sweet Christmas gift and a card with Romans 15:13 written on it. The verse reads, "Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." Wow. That is what I need to know—God is a God of HOPE. I took this verse and prayed over it and meditated on it for days. God has enabled me to be filled with joy, peace and hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. My God is the God of HOPE not despair, sorrow, or trouble.

Last Saturday, a small group from a local church came to the house to have a retreat where they spent the afternoon in silence praying and fasting. Chris and I decided to join them in that, knowing we too had much to pray for. This silent time was really great for me. I spent more time going over verses that speak of God's promises and His character. I came out of the time of silence knowing I needed to trust God more. He is faithful to His promises.

On Sunday evening, I was invited by a friend of Mrs. Sparks to attend a Women's Christmas Dinner with Point of Grace. I went, needing to get more into the Christmas season and had a wonderful time. And yes, even though Point of Grace is quite "old," I was blessed by their music.

I had never met the lady I was sitting next to, but before the event had even started, I had told her our whole story of how we came out to California and what our next step needed to be. By the time dinner was served, she had called her husband and told him our story and asked us if we would dog-sit for the next three weeks while they are out of town!

I was in shock. Then I remembered Chris' prayer that morning, "God, you know we need a place to live, would you provide for us, even today." It was amazing how God timed that out. So . . . next week, we move! We know this is only temporary, but it gives us three more weeks to find the right place to live. We are so thankful. It is amazing how God opens the hearts of his children to help others in need. I hope Chris and I have the opportunity to pay it forward someday. We are blessed.

*Thank you all who read this blog and pray for us. We know God hears your prayers and He is faithful to answer . . . sometimes we need to wait a day, a week, a month, or longer. But He is faithful and good. Luke 1-2 is a great passage about waiting on the Lord for his promises—Zacharias had to wait nine months in silence! *