I was jobless for a month. I had a small savings account that I didn’t want to tap into, but as the days progressed and money continued to leave my checking account without being replaced, the level moved closer and closer to my precious rainy day fund.
During that time I was also homeless. You can’t rent a house or look for a roommate when you have no source of income, so I slept on an air mattress in the corner of my sister’s room at her apartment.
That season of life wouldn’t have been so bad if I had known how it was going to turn out. If, going into that month of August, I had known: For one month you will not have a job and you will sleep on an air mattress. But before your money runs out, you will have two part time jobs and sufficient income and a more certain future I would not have been quite so depressed during that season. It’s so much easier when you know how it is going to end.
It was the not knowing that was difficult. Not knowing if I would get a response to the plethora of resumes and applications I sent out and filled out. Not knowing if I would run out of money completely. Not knowing if I would get a job—ever. Not knowing if I would have to settle for a job that I hated. Not knowing if I would have give up certain dreams because I couldn’t afford them. Not knowing if my air mattress would continue to hold its air. And on and on the “not knowing” list would go.
I fought the despair, sure enough. I cried out to God when it got hard and I read the “be anxious for nothing” scripture verses daily. I counted my blessings and counted all the ways my life could be worse. Instead of living out of the suitcases in my car I could have been sleeping in my car also. Instead of having a kitchen to cook in at my sister’s apartment, I could have been eating granola bars and drinking bottled water (that I couldn’t afford) because I had no way of storing anything else. I could have to sneak into the YMCA to take a shower and have to brush my teeth at different restaurants so I wouldn’t be recognized as the homeless person who took advantage of the establishment. I could be jobless with a family to support. In my situation I was only worrying about myself. And, if worse came to worse, I at least had a car to sleep in and a church family that would, if I were truly in dire circumstances, come through for me.
All these things certainly helped to scare off the depression that would creep in from feelings of purposelessness. But nothing would have scared it off quite like the knowing would have. If I could have known, how differently my outlook would have been.
How differently my outlook on all of life would be if I could know how it would all turn out. If I could know my future: you will get married. You won’t get married. You will go to grad school. You won’t go to grad school. You will have kids. You won’t have kids. You’ll live in a foreign country. You’ll live in America.
If only I could know. I’d plan accordingly and I’d be at peace. Complete and perfect peace free from worry because my future was set and all I had to do was live and work and it would all fall into place.
Wait one second…
Humph. Now that I think of it. Don’t I already know that?
It seems to me that my future was set, even when I didn’t know it. It was set when I was jobless, and during all the other seasons that I just wanted over. My future is set right now by Someone who understands it better than I do. If I could only know, how differently my outlook would be. If I could only grasp that, how strangely would that complete and perfect peace set in to chase the fears and worries away.
The thing is, He knows exactly what is going to happen: when, where, and at what time. He gives me enough information to not overwhelm me. He gives me enough information to make the decisions necessary to get me where He’s leading me. He gives me enough information so that I can’t make those decisions without Him; I have to ask Him, seek Him, find Him.
And He’s told me how it’s going to end. He’s told me He cares for me and that He will provide all that I need. He’s told me He’ll give me the grace that I need for each day and each situation. He’s told me His plans are bigger and better and far beyond what I could imagine. He’s told me His plans are too wonderful for me to fathom. He’s told me one day it will all end and I’ll be forever with Him in Heaven.
I know a lot of things, and the things I know are sufficient for chasing off today’s worries, and tomorrow’s worries, and the worries for every day after that. And one day I’ll look back on life and chuckle. I’ll say, “If only I could have known…” and then catch myself, because I’ll realize, the whole time, I actually did know.