Saturday, March 28, 2009

Face to Face with the Jobless

Early Friday morning at the One Stop Job Security office I faced hundreds of jobless. My new Census job required me to assist in a training session in a nearby job security office. Rain was coming down in torrents and I ran in to get out of the mess. Then I faced them: hundreds of men and women in lines and sitting in every seat. I wasn't ready for the pain and hopelessness on their faces.

It's one thing to read the statistics of the jobless, but seeing individual men and women blew me away. I prayed for God to give me a million dollar loving smile. I passed by each of them locking eyes and my smile brought the most beautiful responses. Oh, how I ache with each of them.

My training class went well because we all have jobs and hope. The men I'm working with are fantastic and we had terrific new hires. But I can't get all those faces out of my mind.

I'm going through the Psalms in intense study for my personal daily Bible study. Today's Psalm on my schedule is Psalm 5. In verses 11-12 David is singing to the Lord and intermittently playing on his flute these words,

"The description and destiny of the righteous.
But let all those rejoice who put their trust in You;
Let them ever shout for joy, because You defend them;
Let those also who love Your name
Be joyful in You.
For You, O Lord, will bless the righteous;
With favor You will surround him as with a shield .

All I felt I could do in that state facility was smile, but oh how I wanted to "preach" God's hope to those hurting folks. Oh, that they could hear from King David that when your "enemies" are chasing you down to destroy you, God will be there. King David's son Absalom was chasing him down; these people see debt and lack of resources for necessities chasing them down.

In verse 11 " Let all those rejoice who put their trust in You" It's not their words, but trusting in the Lord that brings hope and joy no matter what. They rejoice, they shout for joy, and they are joyful in the Lord. I've known the greatest joy in my life in the darkest tunnels. God has shown up with unexplainable joy to strengthen me (check out Unexplainable Joy ).
King David is shouting for joy as he hides in a cave. "A touch of enthusiasm would be the salvation of many a man’s religion. Some Christians are good enough people: they are like wax candles, but they are not lighted. Oh, for a touch of flame! Then would they scatter light, and thus become of service to their families. Let them shout for joy." Spurgeon.
Why not? Wouldn't we know we are true reviving of God if the proper people began to shout Hallelujah! Glory to God! Oh yes!!!

"My friend, shout if you feel forced to do so. (Here a hearer cried, ‘Glory!’) Our brother cries, ‘Glory!’ and I say so too. ‘Glory!’ The shouting need not always be done in a public service, or it might hinder devout hearing; but there are times and places where a glorious outburst of enthusiastic joy would quicken life in all around. The ungodly are not half so restrained in their blasphemy as we are in our praise." Spurgeon

It's more than o.k. to rejoice... even in an unemployment line "But let all those rejoice who put their trust in You." It's o.k.; you won't be a nut. "You have here a ticket to the banquets of joy. You may be as happy as ever you like. You have divine permission to shout for joy." Spurgeon
I felt I could smile to encourage the waiting. Oh just one loving hopeful joyful person can impart a drop of hope...maybe? "If you lose your joy in your religion, you will be a poor worker: you cannot bear strong testimony, you cannot bear stern trial, you cannot lead a powerful life. In proportion as you maintain your joy, you will be strong in the Lord, and for the Lord." Spurgeon

This Psalm calls us to joy. "God promises joy and gladness to believers. Light is sown for them: the Lord will turn their night into day." Spurgeon
In verse 12 we read, " You, O Lord, will bless the righteous; with favor You will surround him." When the severe times of testing and trial come (and they come to everyone) God promises to protect and shield us. When Martin Luther was on his way to face a Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church to answer for what they said were his heretical teachings, one of the Cardinal’s servants taunted him saying, "Where will you find shelter if your patron, the Elector of Saxony, should desert you?" Luther answered, "Under the shelter of heaven."

Oh, yes, Census sent me to that unemployment office. But Holy Spirit sent me to see those faces and to pray. I prayed while I was there for the job seeking people and for the overworked workers in the Job Service. I am still praying. But I find this Psalm in light of these images blesses me. I will rest under the shelter of Heaven!!!


Red Letter Believers said...


Reading about unemployment and actually seeing it face to face are very different, as you illsutrated.

I wonder what will happen if we get to 10, 15 or 20 percent unemployment? Will we see a class uprising against illegal immigration? Will we see riots out of frustration.

And more importantly, how will the church respond? Your post gives us some good ideas.


Marilyn in Mississippi said...

I know that your smile may have turned the corner on that day for many of those jobless persons! Something about a smile just give us HOPE!

God bless you for being concerned about your fellow man! "If you have done this unto the least of these, you have done it unto Me" ~Jesus~


Bringer of Peace said...

My hubby has been in those lines since January of this year.

For us it has been a little different, though. I believe God has permitted us to be in this situation to help others. Maybe thoughts like 'you just don't understand', and 'If you were in our shoes you wouldn't rejoice' might be aimed at someone who smiles as they walk by with a 'job', but we are 'with them' at the moment.

I just read a super good quote this morning along these lines. "Gratitude, rejoicing, benevolence, trust in God's love and care, -- these are health's greatest safeguard." Ellen

Thanks for your thoughts.

Chatty Kelly said...

Those folks were so blessed to have someone so loving and spirit filled to commune with them. You are an amazing woman of God!

© 2008 Kay Martin

Thrive In Christ

Who I Am In Christ by Neil Anderson

For several months we will center on this book to pursue Thriving in our Christian journey.

Neil challenges us with: "Do you know who you are in God's eyes? We are no longer products of our past. We are primarily products of Christ's work on the cross. Who we are determines what we do.

You are not who you are in Christ because of the things you have done, you are in Christ because of what He has done. He died and rose again so that you and I could live in the FREEDOM of His love."

That's just the introduction. More to follow.