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Turn It Around

November 2012
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OPEN DOOR!!!

“I’m ready for change, ready for rain, ready for favor, I know You are able to turn it around . . . .” (from the song, Turn It Around–YouTube Video below). As my continuing saga with unemployment is about to enter yet another year in just a little over a month from now, I have to shake my head and wonder just what is up with that. What’s up with that??? What’s up with almost four years of unemployment when we live in the greatest and most prosperous nation on the planet? Not one open door after applying for at least 500 jobs in my field of work plus in other areas, too. Not one!!! Why is that?

The bulk of those job applications took place in the first two plus years, and this past year it did slow down some–after all, past history showed me it was a futile effort on my part to keep applying for everything and anything I could find with little or absolutely no response (even for some volunteer positions hoping to get my foot in the door). Oh, and that number doesn’t include the many times I’ve personally inquired about work at the various work places I’ve been in or shopped in over the past three plus years. And, if you’ve been reading my blog post you know this past year I even visited Atlanta and Houston in an effort to secure employment and nothing came from those visits!!! NADA!!! So what’s up with that? It’s not like I’m walking around with green skin and purple hair, folks.

What happened to the America I grew up in? The “Land of Opportunity” isn’t so much anymore. Part of the motto engraved on the Statue of Liberty states, “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door.” Well, that description now describes a large and growing number of us, folks–living right here in America. What happened to “the golden door”? We have huge numbers of homeless as well as those now living in tent cities all over our nation–just read an article published at NewsBusters.org in March 2012 titled, U.S. ‘Tent Cities,’ Sharp Increase in Homelessness Ignored by Almost Everyone Except the BBC.”

The “Land of Opportunity” with it’s “golden door” is becoming less and less so at a discouragingly fast pace. Most of us have grown up believing that if we do the right thing and give our employers the best that we have that we will be fairly secure in our work. Unfortunately, that doesn’t exist anymore. It’s “here today, gone tomorrow” and it’s usually in the employer’s favor. In many (maybe all) states, employers don’t even need to give us a reason to let us go. We can literally walk into work one day without any warning and be told it’s our last.

The middle verse in the Bible, Psalm 118:8, states the following: “It is better to take refuge (e.g., to trust) in the Lord than to trust in man.” The people we thought we could trust most often fail us, but God never does. We really do live in a dog-eat-dog world nowadays with lots of folks “looking out for #1.” Trust is a hard commodity to find in people. That’s why we are admonished to put our trust in God, and God alone, and leave the rest to Him.

I am very weary from looking for a job after looking for over 3 1/2 years now. And the real kicker for me is that I’ve spent my entire work life trying to always do the right thing for any employer I’ve worked for over my lifetime. I’ve never tried to screw anyone over for a promotion, or be mean to any coworkers or superiors, or go along with coworkers who play games with or gossip about other coworkers (and that stuff goes on at a shocking rate in today’s workplace), or even retaliate when injustice has been done to me. So it’s hard for me to understand why I’ve been unemployed for so very, very long now, with no end in sight. I have excellent credentials, some stellar annual evaluations and references, and I’m a very hard worker, yet nobody seems to care about any of that. Nobody seems to care, period.

Just this morning I read a devotion by Dr. Charles Swindoll that addresses this issue not so much regarding unemployment specifically but regarding life in general titled, “Divine Preparation.” Here it is:

Divine Preparation

2 Corinthians 4:10-11; 16-18

Americans like things to be logical and fair. We operate our lives on that basis. Meaning this: If I do what is right, good will come to me; and if I do what is wrong, bad things will happen to me. Right brings rewards and wrong brings consequences.

That’s a logical and fair axiom of life, but there’s one problem. It isn’t always true. All of us have had the unhappy and unfortunate experience of doing what is right yet suffering for it. And we have also done what is wrong on a few occasions without being punished. The latter we can handle, but the former is a tough pill to swallow.

This can even happen in the life of servanthood. You will give, forgive, forget, release your own will, obey God to the maximum, and even wash dirty feet with an attitude of gentleness and humility. And after all those beautiful things, you will get ripped off occasionally.

The Bible doesn’t hide this painful reality from us. In I Peter 2:20-21 (addressed to servants, by the way—see v. 18), we read:

For what credit is there if, when you sin and are harshly treated, you endure it with patience? But if when you do what is right and suffer for it you patiently endure it, this finds favor with God. For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to following in His steps.

If a person does wrong and then suffers the consequences, even though he or she patiently endures the punishment, nobody applauds. But—now get this clearly fixed in your mind—when you do what is right and suffer for it with grace and patience, God applauds!

When you feel as if God is taking things away,
maybe He’s just trying to make room in your life
for better things that He wants to give you.

Source: Day by Day by Dr. Charles Swindoll, p. 338
Word Publishing, Thomas Nelson, 2000

When you feel as if God is taking things away, maybe He’s just trying to make room in your life for better things that He wants to give you” (quote from above). God has allowed a lot to be taken away from me in these past 3 1/2 years (material possessions, money–my savings is totally depleted and my retirement account is heading in the same direction, and, of course, employment opportunities, and also one thing that I held on to for way too long and I finally let go of it this past summer). Guess sometimes I’m a slow learner. But I am so ready to move on and have been for a while now (ever since returning from my trip to Houston over two months ago), but I’m not sure how to move forward (and I don’t have the finances to do so, either).

I need a miracle . . . so God, I’m asking!!!

When I lived that year in Houston (September 2008 – September 2009), I attended Lakewood Church (church website here) for nine months and my most favorite part of the service was the worship music (I also did some volunteer work on Sunday mornings, too). Several of the songs the worship team sang became favorites of mine and the one that came to mind this morning is Turn It Around (composed by Israel Houghton–YouTube Video below). The chorus goes like this:

Turn it around
Open the windows of Heaven
Pour out a blessing, overflow
Turn it around
Open the windows of Heaven
Pour out a blessing we cannot contain
Let it rain, let it rain

Yes, I’m “ready for change, ready for rain, ready for favor, I know You are able to turn it around,” God. So I’m asking . . .

Let it rain . . .

YouTube Video: “Turn It Around” composed and sung by Israel Houghton and the Lakewood Church Worship Team:

Photo credit here

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