“What are we going to do?”
I’m not sure if we asked it simultaneously, but the question hung in the air between us the day my husband called with the news that his job was over. Too soon.
He was a year too young for Medicare and other helps, and several decades too old to start a new career. That point is debatable, but other health factors skew the picture. It was the second time in fifteen years that a job position had been eliminated, leaving my husband without employment and leaving us without health insurance.
“What are we going to do?” was the question on our lips. But it begged a different question—one that changed our perspective, our attitude, and the atmosphere in our home.
“What happened the last time we were in a desperate situation, the last dozen times?”
The answer? We survived by God’s grace.
We’d skirted the edge of financial disaster multiple times through the course of our marriage. We’d plunged deep into the abyss on more than one occasion. Always, always, always God faithfully provided, faithfully showed us His Creative Genius, and faithfully illuminated handholds for us while we waited and climbed.
“What are we going to do?” begs the questions, “Who is God, anyway? Almighty. What’s He like? Compassionate and inventive. What do I know for sure?”
When walking my children through sticky problem-solving—whether math and science homework or finding an apartment or dating dilemmas—I often advised, “Start with what you know for sure.”
When I related the story about this recent job loss in the book Tattered and Mended: The Art of Healing the Wounded Soul, I included some of the truths that became our handholds:
- God is faithful. He is faithful. He is faithful.
- God is not unaware of our need.
- God’s provided in the past. He will again.
- God knew this was coming before we did. He has answers prepared already.
- God won’t abandon us in trying times. He draws nearer. Nearer. Nearer.
Do those statements form a pattern of handholds you can use, even if your circumstances are unrelated to a job loss or financial strain or uncertainty about the future? They are interchangeable and applicable no matter what the crisis.
When the heart circles back to what we know for sure, we can begin the process of forming a foundation under the boggy, treacherous path under our feet. We lay one brick—God’s faithfulness—and another—His attentiveness to our needs—and another—His power to make a difference, to provide in ways our imaginations are not developed enough to comprehend—and soon we’re standing on solid footing.
A hope handhold verse first spoken by Jehoshaphat in his indescribably difficult situation facing a larger, stronger, intimidating enemy reverberates with meaning for us: Lord, “we do not know what to do. But our eyes are upon You,” II Chronicles 20:12 AMP.
The verse begs the question, “When will that become our default response?”