Unemployment and Suffering


This blog is contributed by Bill Smith, a great friend of Stauros.

Thank you Bill for offering hope for those suffering the heart rending challenges of unemplyment.

Deacon Don Executive Director Stauros USA

I wanted to write something about my experience being out of work.  The trials of unemployment and dodging collection calls, the fear of eviction and shame of not being able to meet one’s obligations or take care of one’s family.  It’s horrible.  I asked myself ‘How did I get here in such a horrific mess.’  The tears…fear…anxiety.  An almost hopeless sense of despair that seems to grip my every waking and even dreaming moments.  It hurts—I cry and pray.  And then an email alert popped up on my screen. 


A news article arrived telling me that in the two weeks of Israel’s operation in Gaza, 898 Palestinian people have been killed so far, and today, a Palestinian rocket hit an Israeli kindergarten filled with children and killing all.  I cannot imagine the incalculable loss and grief for those fathers, mothers, sisters and brothers families and friends and all those who lost someone.  It somehow makes my suffering quite a bit harder to feel…maybe I don’t have it so bad.


We’re taught to do unto others as we would have them do unto us.  Yet, I am here, bemoaning my lot in life and I haven’t done much to help relieve the pain of those so much more in need.  Not just those from the Palestine tragedy, but here, not a world away, but on my street, in my neighborhood, in my building.  There are those less fortunate who would gladly change places with me.  As I reflect on my sad jobless state, I do so from the warmth of a safety of a home overlooking the beautiful Chicago skyline and Lake Michigan.  How much would any of those touched by this latest military action give to change places?  What incredible gifts I have been given, and now, with some unexpected time off work, perhaps there is something I can do.


Maybe I can poke my head in a shelter tomorrow between interviews.  Can I help?  Perhaps there is something or someone tomorrow that can use my gifts outside of the job I am looking for.  Maybe God has a job for me in mind that I wasn’t expecting and might have otherwise missed.  And, I don’t want to disappoint that lead or disregard that recruiter.  Even if the pay isn’t really there, the benefits are infinite!  This job lead comes from the source of all knowing and all love. 


My mother passed away several years ago.  Several years before that, she sent a letter to me which somehow was lost unopened among my personal things.  Recently, during a move, I found the box with her unopened letter.  I recognized her handwriting and felt her warm attention on me as though she were standing next to me.  Inside was a brief note saying simply, ‘Billy, perhaps some day you will be able to use this.  Love, Mom.’  Enclosed was a prayer card with a picture of Christ on one side, and on the other was the Prayer of the Unemployed.  When my Mom sent the note, I was gainfully employed, owned a business and had several years salary in savings.  But today, with savings gone and no job prospect in sight, the prayer is relevant beyond what I ever could have thought.  I can picture my Mom’s knowing eyes affirming that all things come in His time as if she meant for me to get it now.   


So, from my Mother, and in His time, I’ll share the little prayer.  I hope it means as much to you as it does to me.


Dear Lord Jesus Christ,

You wanted all who are weary to come to You for support.  Lord, I am worn out by my inability to find wage-earning work.  With the changing job market, guide me in this pursuit to opportunities with a future so that there is not an immediate recurrence of this ordeal.  Day after day, my worry and fear grows as the rejections of my applications mount.  I am able and willing to work – but I cannot find a worthwhile job.  Please help me to obtain one soon.  Until I find employment, ease my worries regarding my financial situation and help me to take advantage of the time available to get closer to you.  Let me realize that there are other ways to bring about Your kingdom on earth besides salaried work.  Help me to make use of them for the time being so that I may continue to grow as a person for Your greater glory.  Amen.


So tomorrow I have a job.  I’ll visit those to whom I might be of some service.  I’ll keep my eyes, ears and heart open because I now believe being gainfully employed doesn’t always require having a job.  My prayers are with you always.  — Bill Smith


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