These past several months since I have been in Denver have been a whirlwind. Without many connections I packed my bags and headed west to start a new life. And man, how God has blessed me. My main prayer going into this was to find a strong Christian community and church where I would thrive. And he has done just that, and I am incredibly thankful.
However, it hasn’t all been roses. I have been working at a restaurant for the past 5 months while tirelessly applying and interviewing for jobs. I can’t count the number of applications and cover letters I have written, or the number of rejection emails I have received. A lot of exciting prospects have crashed. I have had good interviews but been rejected. I have had recruiters set up interviews for me, but then told the positions had already been filled. I have waited weeks to hear back from promising interviews.
While work has been ok, for the last month or so, it’s been really difficult to show up. It’s hard to sit with the fact that I am 25 with a college degree without a professional job. But here I am, taking out the trash and cleaning up messes, all while watching business people come into the restaurant that I should belong with. It’s not always the most encouraging environment and with how things have been going, it sometimes feels like I will never leave.
However, despite all these challenges, I have not felt utterly defeated. I have not felt like a failure. Not only that, I have been able to experience great joy in the midst of everything. In fact, I have experienced more joy and have felt more content here in Denver than I have in quite a while.
I am slowly and more fully starting to understand how David found so much contentment and joy in the midst of all his brutal sufferings. While David asks for deliverance from his enemies and peace in his hardships, the thing he most seeks is the presence of the Lord. When David escaped to the wilderness of Judah, he offered up this striking prayer:
“O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water. So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary, beholding your power and glory. Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you. So I will bless you as long as I live; in your name I will lift up my hands. My soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food, and my mouth will praise you with joyful lips, when I remember you upon my bed, and meditate on you in the watches of the night” – Psalm 63:1-6
I don’t know about you, but if I was suffering in the wilderness and in danger of my enemies attacking me, I’m not sure my first prayer would be to experience more of God and I doubt I would be able to rejoice with that fervor. I think most of us, if we are being honest, would be fearful and first ask for provision and safety.
I certainly am no David and have probably only tasted a fraction of the joy he was able to experience. However, I have seen God grow me a ton. Though I am desperate to get a professional job I am passionate about, that has not been my main prayer through this all. In fact, I think my friends and family may be praying harder for me to find a job than I am.
God has been continually showing me that he is the answer to my deepest needs and I have prayed to experience more of Jesus than anything else in this season of my life. In turn, some past struggles that constrained me tirelessly have lifted as I have sought Him. I have been continually learning that following Jesus is 100 percent worth the sacrifice and that worldly desires will never satisfy me. Some of my most joyful moments have been in deep prayer or reading God’s word. What keeps me going through work and helps me get up, is knowing that I can have a quiet space each morning to pray and curl up on the couch with my coffee and be with Jesus.
I have also been more thankful in this season of life than I maybe have ever been. Almost every day, I thank God that my worth is not based on my work, status or how much money I make. I used to tirelessly compare myself to others and their achievements. Compared to many of my peers, my resume looks pretty lackluster. But I am still so grateful for my life, and the ways I have grown through the many roadblocks I have faced and the ones that brought me to Jesus. I truly have everything I could ever need. I can rejoice in the fact that even if I never get the job of my dreams or am even dissatisfied with my work for the rest of my life, I will one day reign in God’s glorious Kingdom that he has been preparing for his saints. One day, all my desires will be met. God will wipe away all my tears and never again will I experience pain (Rev 21:4).
To all believers, God has given us a beautiful promise:
“According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time” – 1 Peter 1:3-5
If we have a relationship with Jesus, we ALWAYS have a reason for hope. And this hope will never be taken away from us. No amount of hardship or disappointment can steal our joy. We don’t have to tirelessly muster up some positive vibes in our own strength, that ultimately are fragile and not lasting. We don’t have to fill our lives with all these exciting adventures and constantly seek pleasure or riches to be satisfied. Without Jesus, it’s impossible to live the life of joy and contentment that all humans are desperately searching for because nothing on this earth is lasting. Health, loved ones, money, jobs, etc. can be taken away in an instant.
I don’t know where you are at spiritually, but I pray that you will take my words to heart and meditate on God’s promises. God wants to offer you an incredible amount of joy. He loves you so much that he sent his one and only son to die in your place so that you could have this eternal hope. He wants a relationship with you. The best part is that you don’t have to earn his affection. You don’t have to clean yourself up first. You simply can receive his grace as a free gift. It’s hard and takes humility to admit that we have messed up and need a savior, but I promise it will be the most healing and freeing decision you will ever make. Fear and shame will be washed in an instant. Incredible love will fill your heart and satisfy your deepest longings.
Merry Christmas all, may the peace of God be with you!