"A paradigm transformation" from Brenda

I'd been worried for months that Steve might lose his chaplaincy job at Huntington Hospital. However, I believed the Lord would surely prevent this because since we had no savings to speak of, we wouldn't survive otherwise. The Lord had his own (better) idea, however, and Steve was laid off at the end of July 2009. I estimated our savings would last us about 1 and a half months. As it turned out, Steve was unemployed for one year and one week.

Steve's unemployment benefits weren't enough to cover our living expenses. I regularly had nightmares about being evicted. But astonishingly, during the first 4-5 months, our checkbook balance never seemed to drop. Neither did we touch our savings. It seemed that God was recycling his miracle with the widow with the bottomless oil cruet and jar of flour.

After December, our balance started dropping, but unexpected sums also came in every month from different sources. Consequently, we were always able to cover our expenses. We never knew where the next month's rent would come from, but it always came.

Meanwhile, the Lord began doing an important work of healing my frantic fear of destitution. Although we'd seen tough times before, I'd never really believed God would provide for us if we didn't scramble to provide for ourselves. But now I saw he was providing for us, one month at a time. So my trust grew.

Then in late June, Congress failed to pass the extension of unemployment benefits, meaning that Steve's benefits would end in one month. And the job market was worse than ever. I freaked out. God was going to let us crash after all. The faith I thought I had accumulated collapsed like a pancake.

Only God's grace enabled me to maintain my discipline of prayer, Scripture reading, and listening for words. During this agonizing time, I tried hard to keep my eyes on Jesus and remember how God had provided thus far, but my heart would quail in spite of myself.

About two weeks later, the unemployment extension bill came up again. This time, thankfully, it passed. Obviously, unemployment benefits were only a temporary stopgap. But soon afterward, Randy called and told Steve about a hospice chaplain job he'd heard about from a friend. Steve followed up, was interviewed that very afternoon, and the next day, he had the job.

Interestingly, this job turned out to suit Steve better than any of his previous chaplaincy positions. He's enjoyed and grown in it in wonderful ways. Given the way things converged, it's clear where it came from: the Sender's name was written all over the package.

This whole experience also brought me unexpected blessings. It's too simplistic to say "God taught me I could trust him." I can't overstress what a profound paradigm shift God began to work in me through his demonstration of faithfulness in a prolonged time of trouble. Because of it I see him now with new eyes, and experience a new closeness to him. I'm extremely grateful.

~ Brenda