Onward til Upward
And so, the Lord bringing about my unemployment was perhaps truly the “defining moment” of my life.
Thinking back over the years in a sense I feel I’ve been behind (my) time. Having had to repeat my high school freshman year—yet academically my grades were not terribly bad, maybe B's and C's, perhaps an occasional A. Surprisingly, even to my junior year homeroom class, one grading term I made the A and B honor roll. (That ninth grade was the "bad" year for me.) And then, having been sent back and forth in Air Force basic training, and "kicked out" of Air Force police school, "turned about" on Florida's east coast, and then on to Bible college, graduating after the four years with a high B, humanly thinking six years behind, perhaps. Ah, but not so on the Lord's timetable.
Likewise, as a sojourner I’ve felt I’ve been, trekking this soil through this time: from Ohio to Texas to Florida to South Carolina to Southern California and back to South Carolina, never having a place of my own to call “home...” Hence, most of my years have not been lived in Ohio, just birth through high school; my dad passed away when I was a junior in high school; my mom, when I was a junior in college. (Hmm, no wonder I feel like a "misfit..." Ah, as the infamous "they" say, "Home is where one hangs his hat..." Hmm, I have rarely worn a hat).
Nevertheless, my Heavenly Father knows ever so much better than I. He has brought me into being in the first place. He has known all my ways and all my days (before a single day came to be). Imagine that. (See Psalm 139; Jeremiah 29:11).
Through the years, as that Native American of those earlier years predicted I would, I have realized the two worlds that exist in this time—the temporal and the eternal. Apart from the works of God in this temporal world, everything else here, including (especially maybe) my TV viewing, has little or no value to me now. (See Colossians 3:1-2)
I fear no more the (temporal) world coming to an end, as I had in my youth. Jesus is making all things new, and a better place for me to call home—for all eternity. Hence, in Jesus, it's a better life now, yet the best life is yet to come, for all eternity. (See John 14:1-3; Revelation 21:1-5; 2 Peter 3:10)
In the meantime, in this time it’s onward till upward. In my leisure and in my labor may all my thoughts and my words (written or spoken, virtual or vocal) reflect Jesus. (See Hebrews 12:1-4) That I may be ever attentive to the Holy Spirit’s leading to proclaim the Father’s Good News to this lost ever-darkening world by the means of His direction—wherever He leads.
Again, thanks to God, most importantly for the many incidents, and the people He brought into my life all along the way, and particularly my early upbringing.
I may be “misfitted” for this temporal time—this unreal, deceptive world—but I’m "fitted" right in on the lighter side knowing Jesus as my Savior and Lord trekking that road less favored by, purposed to shine the light and spread the salt for God’s glory. Knowing better so now, choosing that way made all the difference for me for all time and eternity. “In Christ, the old life is gone; a new life has begun!” (2 Corinthians 5:17)
“He brought me [too] up out of the pit of destruction, out of the miry clay, [out of my own good life], and He set my feet upon a rock making my footsteps firm. He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God…” (Psalm 40:1-3, NASB)
Sequel: an Enlightened Reminder
I arrived at the Post Office, parked my car, exited, entered to Post Office, purchased the needed stamps, posted my correspondence, left the building and returned to my car to return home. But the Lord had other plans for me that day 07/11/2016.
Putting the key into the ignition and turning it I expected to hear the usual sound of the engine starting up. But I heard nothing; I tried again and again but still nothing. Sitting a bit, I prayed as to determine what I should do. Auto mechanics not being my expertise, I called a friend in the area that I thought could help. But he was busy with other matters and would be so for a while, which turned into a few hours. In the meantime, I called another friend. But I soon learned that it would be a while for him, too, to come and help. Strange I think perhaps that his car, as well as mine, was unable to start.
And so there I sat for a few hours at the Post Office. Finally, I did receive help from a person having pulled his car into a parking space beside my car. With jumper cables he got my car started, enabling me to start on my way home as well. But a short distance from home, maybe another mile, my car quit on me again. I was able, however, to roll to a stop at a convenient store, getting out of the way of any traffic.
Two friends soon came by to help, and with jumper cables again got me started. I was then able (by the mercy of God) to get up the hill to an auto mechanic who discovered that the problem was the alternator. And so the car was left at his shop for repair.
Hence, it had been quite a day, that day, 07/11/2016. Eight years ago that date was a Friday, the day when a coworker and myself received our “pink slips” from that warehousing job where I had worked for about eight years, and thus we began our status of unemployment.
Through those eight years – 07/11/2008 to 07/11/2016 – my unemployment had been the essence of my life, other than a little more than three years working as a custodian for my alma mater and a two-week custodial job at a hospital.
Interesting, I'd considered it no coincident that my friend’s car problem happening the same day as mine. For him it was good he discovered his problem then, his day off from work. For me, however, perhaps God was trying to get my attention – an enlightened reminder – to consider again His direction for me, if He is truly telling me to move back to the point of origin of my earthly journey.
A round-about journey my earthly pilgrimage had been since high school. I wonder if the Lord would have me now to return to my starting point. Over the past eight years, since my unemployment, maybe I've been as one in the belly of a great fish, and in search of God’s choice where now to burp me up; at that get me back into the darkened world where I can better be a light bearer of God’s eternal truth.
And so, Lord, where? Thinking that it may be His will for to return to the point of my physical origin, I went ahead and had indeed applied for an apartment up North. Weeks passed, then it came where I had to make a decision.
When Yes Means Not Yet
I renewed my lease at my current residence for another year, not yet aware of where my next resident is to be; better to renew for another year than month-to-month, which would be $150 more than my current rent; to move out early I would only have to pay a early move out fee of 85% of my rent. Hence, I believe it is more reasonable to renew for another year, even if I do – at the Lord’s leading – move out early.
My reason for moving (returning) to Ohio in the first place, a nephew lives in the same apartment complex to which I had applied; I considered him possibly an initial contact, and thus working together, encouraging one another, for reaching other residents for Jesus; but then, too, a similar idea came to mind, possibly from the Lord, for remaining in Columbia, and that is applying for an apartment where another member of my church lives; hence, perhaps with him as well, for a time, encouraging one another in reaching out to other residents there.
Other employment I still do desire; my current monthly income is less than $1000; my total financial portfolio is not well packed either; hence, my still need of other employment (humanly speaking), not just my still capableness to work. And maybe to the Lord would have my working at my web page – virtually sharing Jesus and encouraging others toward His global cause – be that other work, at least part-time. Nevertheless, the Lord continues to impress upon me Matthew 6:25-34: I’m not to worry about what I don’t have but realize all I do have in Him, in that, having much is not better; less is more, trusting in Jesus and His all-sufficiency.
But then, I received a call late afternoon (4:30 pm) on Friday, March 31 from the apartments in Mansfield, OH, to which I had applied, informing me that an apartment will come available, I believe, thinking I heard right, the end of April.
Thus, I had to make a decision; I told the lady that I would call her back Monday, April 3, to let her know. Interesting, I did ask the Lord that I may hear of availability sometime in March, in particular around the middle of March, as that's when I had to let my current resident know whether or not to renew my lease; the call from the Mansfield apartments came March 31. But is that a sure “yes” from the Lord for me to make the move back up north? Maybe, but also I think perhaps, the call coming when it did, that yes could mean a “no”, or a “not yet”.
As I’d mentioned above, I did renew my lease with my current resident, as I had to by March 17. Yet, it's still not impossible to move out early having done that, if it is the Lord's will for me to do so. However, I am supposed to give the office a 60-day notice of my intent to move. But I don’t think there’s ample time now to give them that notice or to pack up and go, particularly financially in doing so.
Unable to figure out how to submit the $50 payment to other place here in Columbia for them to screen me, maybe that’s from the Lord as well, saying, “Hold on, Charles, slow down, stop, wait and think; your financial assets is insufficient to make the move; stay put for a bit; adjust your finances and spending to save up for that move, when/where.”
And so the call from the apartments in Mansfield at the end of March, informing me of a soon availability, perhaps from God that could be a “yes, but not yet – wait.
Read about my journey from the beginning