This is a story about a God who is Good, as experienced recently by me. This is a story about joy. If you’ve been waiting for a life update post, this is the one you want to read.
I shouldn’t still be as surprised as I am by the ways that God shows up. Not after the wild and powerful ways he has provided for me and the people I care about over the last five years. Not after experiencing firsthand the ridiculous abundance that exists in his kingdom. I’ve seen God provide the exact amount of money I would need to pay for a year of schooling, bring connections that turned into places to live, heal what seemed impossible. And yet, it catches me off-guard so much of the time.
We were talking in my small group recently about the apostle Peter and how relatable his example is, how it’s comforting to know that even the people who were closest in proximity to the actual Son of God missed the point time after time. Because how often do we mirror his attitude of this seems awesome I want to be a part of it oh wait no this is hard I can’t do this Jesus help I’m literally going to drown now this is bad news what is happening? Every. Dang. Day.
If you’ve talked to me or read anything on this blog in the last several months, you’ll know that I walked away from a full-time job at the end of June. God blessed me with incredible peace through the entire process and used the time this summer to help me sort through a lot of things that were going on in my head and heart, leftovers from a painful season that left me feeling discouraged and confused. I am so grateful to have had the time to work out my own emotions surrounding it all, a bit like rewrapping a ball of yarn that had come undone. It wouldn’t have happened otherwise.
But when one morning, I woke up and my hands were completely seized, I wondered what had happened. Then I remembered that I had been working as a freelance transcriptionist and my hobbies include writing novels, classical piano, and knitting. Oh. So yes, the wild case of tendonitis should not have come as a surprise.
This all happened around Thanksgiving, which is always my favorite time of year second only to Christmas. I spent some concentrated time praying on Thanksgiving weekend – prayers of gratitude, obviously, to suit the season, but also really honest prayers where I told God a lot of the things that were going on in my brain.
So as I sat at home and wondered where my life was headed, alternating between heat and ice on my hands, I told God my fears about not having a job, and how I hoped that the music store where I had interviewed for a job would call me back soon. Because while the unemployed freelance life had been wonderful in a lot of ways, it was no longer a practical reality. I loved having the flexibility to be wherever I wanted to be, and I got more reading and writing done in those three months than I have in the last several years combined. But a steady source of income was significantly lacking, especially when I was unable to sit down and make a little extra money and stretch out my savings by transcribing interviews.
I told God that I was starting to worry about the logistics of the future.
I told God that I’d seen him lead me this far with illogical amounts of peace, and I was choosing to trust him to lead me out the other side because I could not see the path ahead.
I also told God that I miss the sky and being able to watch the sun rise every morning like I did last winter.
Watching the sun rise sounds like such a tiny thing but was such a huge part of my daily routine, and until the end of April I lived on the top floor of a building that was taller than most other structures around, so it was always completely visible. I would drink my coffee and pray and take pictures and treasure those moments before the rest of the world woke up. Now I live in a basement suite and that makes finding natural light in general a lot more difficult, let alone having a clear view of the sunrise.
On the Tuesday morning after Thanksgiving, my phone rang with a call from an unfamiliar number. I picked up, expecting that the voice on the other end would be the manager from the music store. To my surprise, it was not. It was a supervisor from a job that I’d completely forgotten I’d applied for, one of those resumes I’d emailed out on a frantic morning where I’d applied for half a dozen jobs at once. She asked me if I’d be willing to come in for an interview the following day, which I was.
The next morning, I went out and met with the managers.
The morning after that, she called me back and offered me a job, starting the following Monday.
I cried. I happy-danced around my house. I texted half the people in my phone. I bought myself the new book I had been wanting. Life was good.
So I made the most of my last few days of freedom, ran all those errands I had been putting off and telling myself I had endless time to get done, made freezer meals to pull out on those tired days I knew would come eventually, started to back up my sleep schedule so the alarm for my first day would be less of a shock. I made myself as ready as I could possibly be before stepping into a new role.
But I wasn’t prepared for what was to come.
Because as I sat in my car on that Monday morning, waiting at a traffic light on the way to start my new job, I realized something. The sky was streaked pink and orange, little swirls of clouds reflecting the early morning light.
The sun was rising.
And it was beautiful.
I realized that my drive to work will coincide perfectly with the sunrise for most of the winter.
These little prayers of mine, quietly spoken only to the Creator of the universe, came to be answered all in one outrageously personal moment.
Friends, I am here to tell you that God listens to our prayers. He hears us when we cry out to him, when we are brutally honest with him, when we present him with requests that would sound silly to anyone else if we spoke them aloud.
I told God that I was worried about paying my bills and that I missed living in a place where I could watch the sunrise.
And one week later, he reminded me that my prayers do not fall on deaf ears.
Chasing after Jesus is not an easy call. It asks you daily to abandon your comfort zone, the things that the world tells you are valuable, and step out in faith, trusting that the One who made you will lead you where you are meant to go. Sometimes all you can do is cry out God I got out of the boat and I need you to not let me sink.
And oh man, does he ever come through.
So now each day, I will sit in my car and drink coffee and watch the sun rise as I drive to work, and I will remember all that God has done for me. I will happily sit through two or three lights at the intersection of the highways and watch as light begins to dance across the morning sky.
I am here to tell you that God is good. I am here to declare boldly that God’s plans for our lives do not often make sense from the outside, but he is working and weaving together something beautiful that we can scarcely imagine.
I am here to tell you that life is strange and sometimes trusting God means that money will be in short supply and that you’ll have to confront all those confusing things that you’ve shoved deep into a closet somewhere in your brain and that all you can do is cling to the knowledge that he has not left you abandoned. All I know is that grace has brought me safe this far, that grace will lead me home.
I’m here to tell you that the promises of God find their Yes in him, through him, and our Amen is spoken to the Glory of God. (2 Cor. 1:20)
I’m here to tell you about unspeakable joy. Selah.