A Stranger of Hope

Do you know what people really want?  A job? Less bills? More money? Happy lives?  Nope...it's HOPE (you like my little rhyme?)  Why don't we talk about this hope more?  Why do we take it for granted, like it is an abstract word or something?

Why hope you ask?  A few days ago I was feeling pretty down.  What happened was, I have been home with my kids this whole summer, and what a beautiful time to be home in Cleveland!  I was loving it.  Then, my son started football practice and suddenly it dawned on me that summer was coming to an end.  That meant that I had to kick it in gear and REALLY start looking for a job.  On top of that, I received an email from the Unemployment Bureau that Congress has been in a filibuster over extending unemployment benefits.  Which meant that in just 4 weeks my unemployment was going to run out and there might not be an extension available (which I was sort of counting on - my bad).  Well, that changed everything!  The rush was on now.  How could this summer have gone by so quickly?

So a few days ago I woke up at 7 am and started researching job opportunities.  I can not tell you how bleak it is out there.  In my industry (marketing/pr/development) there are only a handful of good jobs available and about 300 applicants per job.  Then there are those jobs that pay $10 an hour, which I wouldn't mind, but as soon as they ask what my previous salary was they pretty much hang up on me.  Then there are a ton of great development jobs, that's because in a bad economy non-profits are scurrying to find every spare penny.  The problem is, when the economy is bad the last thing people want to do is give their money away!  So you see the problem.

I was so frustrated and depressed that I almost had a breakdown.  I sat down to pray and said, "God, you got me through college with two little kids in tow, you gave me the strength and the courage to get it done, and I know there are a million people more needy than I, but you HAVE to give me something to hope in!"  About an hour later I put everything aside and decided to take my pooch Lenny for a walk.  We walked almost half way around the block when a rather large man started walking towards us.  He was well dressed and looked like he was walking with a purpose.  As he approached us I waved and started making a little small talk.  He told me that he was a big golfer.  "So is my husband!" I barked.  I asked if he golfs at Gleneagles (our community "country club,") he replied, "yeah, all the time."  I told him I just had my charity golf outing there 2 weeks ago and he asked for what charity?  I explained I host a golf outing for the people of El Salvador every year, then I told him how I visited the people there several times.  He said, "are you looking for work now?"  "Oh yeah!" I replied.  He said, walk with me to my house, I have a name of someone I want you to talk to about a job."

Now, this guy had never met me before, and if memory serves me right, I'm pretty sure I was dressed more for going on a jog than an interview, but he took a few minutes out of his busy day to talk to me and help a stranger.  I have no idea what will come of our little chat, I'm not even concerned about it, but what I am surprised about is how quickly God answered my prayer!  It's not that I wanted a job that day (I'm still enjoying the sunshine:) but I wanted some HOPE.  I wanted to hope in the Lord again, hope in others, and hope in myself again.  This kind stranger gave me what I had prayed for....hope.

Thank you God for answering our prayers.  Thanks also for not answering us when we demand what is not meant for us.  Today I have renewed hope in God, others and myself.  So many times we get discouraged with ourselves and others which can begin the slow process of slipping into depression.  Ask God to help you, to give you the courage to trust in Him....even when we can't.


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