By Esih Efuru
My best buddy, Liz, has been unemployed for four years and receives no unemployment benefits. She’d been earnestly seeking employment and had three interviews lined up last week. The day after her first interview, her bank account was cleared out completely. To add weight to worry, her wallet, which included all of her identification and important papers, disappeared that following day. That morning as she walked outside to get some air, she discovered that she had a flat tire. She just broke down and cried.
Liz just couldn’t understand. She called me and asked me to tell her that it was going to be okay. I encouraged her with the story of Job, who lost everything, but was blessed him abundantly later on. Liz didn’t want to hear about Job. She was angry and emotionally drained, having just lost her mother the previous year and enduring major business catastrophes in the past month. I prayed for how I could reach her, and one word came to mind: oil.
My pastor preached once about a widow in the bible who had nothing left but oil in her home after being left with an outstanding debt. The prophet Elisha instructed her to find as many jars as she could and pour oil until the jars were filled. She used every single jar in town to catch the flowing oil. When she ran out of jars, the oil stopped flowing. The prophet then told her to sell the oil, and use what money remained after paying her debts to sustain a life for her sons and she. In essence, she was blessed beyond measure with what she had LEFT!
I encouraged Liz to look at what she had left, and to pick up her life from there. She still had two more interviews. She still had income on the way. She still had the support of friends and family. She still had her talents, and she still had her faith. I then looked at my own life, and immediately became excited! I had no job, minimal resources and very little trust in my heart due to fear. However, I still had the breath of life, love and support from family and friends, multi-dimensional talents, and the faith I’d earned through my rough spots over this past year. I could use what I had left to press on and keep making life work.
Liz felt better once she tapped into her faith and gave herself away to God through worship. Her misfortune was short-lived; Friends fixed the tire, she received a call back from the first interview, found her wallet, and received an early stipend all within three days. Her faith kept her looking up; she didn’t even see those blessings coming. I never see all of my blessings coming, and I always look at my life’s “recyclables” to sustain me. Just when I think I don’t have anything else, God urges me to look around for what’s left.
You have a wealth of spiritual, social, and emotional resources that can sustain you. God has pre-packed your bounty; you’ll never get to E in your lifetime. There is always something you can draw on to carry you to your next moment of faith. The next time you come across a shadow of loss or erasure, defy the negative thoughts, breath, trust God and look around your life for what’s left. You’ll always have a testimony and reminder to put your glory where your doubt is.
Esih Efuru, a 43 year old writer, artist and minister, is raising a daughter in Charlotte, NC. Email her email@example.com;
Read more columns by Esih Efuru