The desert and the parched land will be glad; the wilderness will rejoice and blossom. Like the crocus, it will burst into bloom; it will rejoice greatly and shout for joy. The glory of Lebanon will be given to it, the splendor of Carmel and Sharon; they will see the glory of the LORD, the splendor of our God. Strengthen the feeble hands, steady the knees that give way; say to those with fearful hearts, “Be strong, do not fear; your God will come, he will come with vengeance; with divine retribution he will come to save you.” Isaiah 35:1-4 (NIV)
I’ve been feeling uneasy the last week or two over the economy. While the economic news has been grim for months now, and we have had our own personal struggles with layoffs at husband’s work and budget cutbacks at mine, I managed to keep a positive attitude. But, as people that I know are being pinched through layoffs, high mortgage rates and business and bank closures, it is becoming more personal and more worrisome. While I quit listening to the news a long time ago, it is hard to avoid the conversations at work and church anymore.
Several friends, some in the construction or construction related industry, others in retail or automotive jobs are out of work. Some are trying to sell their assets or property. They are renegotiating interest rates and payment plans. Others are considering bankruptcy. It is a sad fact that before they can get the assistance they need, they first must go into foreclosure. Then, banks will be more willing to help. But, for the average person who can make their payments, but have no money left for food or gasoline in their car, there is not much relief. It’s a buyers market out there. There are all kinds of “toys” for sale as people try to raise whatever cash they can. And of course, there is that nagging fear about what will happen when I am forced to take oldest son off my health insurance, and he still does not have a full time, permanent job.
So, though I am a firm believer in Providence with a Capital P, as in nothing happens that is not meant to occur by God who is in control, all powerful and at work in our lives using all circumstances both easy and difficult for our good, some days, it is harder to remember than others. Tonight, when I came home from work after a very long week with four late nights of church or work meetings, physical therapy and doctor’s appointments, I sat in my car for a few minutes hands still on the steering wheel, and asked God simply for the strength to get out of my car. No prayers for money or position, just the energy to open the car door and carry groceries into the house.
As I slid out of my car, my eyes caught a speck of white in the oak tree that shades our house. I have about a dozen orchids hanging there. With my new hobbies of horse and glass, my old one of raising orchids and roses has been neglected. The orchids no longer get fertilized, watered or pampered. In fact, even during our recent cold snaps, I did not bring them inside the garage, but left them out in the frost. They look really bad, shriveled up and brown. And yet, one orchid managed to send out a shoot and a beautiful white blossom. It raised my hopes and helped me cling to the promise of Providence once more.