Do all clouds have silver linings? I think it is a matter of perspective. As human beings, we have a choice to see the positive or the negative in any given circumstance. Sure, some situations just downright suck, but even then, we have a choice in how we react and live out the moment.
When the pandemic hit, really hit America, I was a wreck. I had been out of work for months and this certainly wasn’t going to help me find a job. I experienced anxiety and panic attacks at a level I never knew before and even had to have an EKG to make sure my heart was operating normally (it was, thankfully). I couldn’t go visit my 93-year-old grandmother for fear of bringing germs into her home, and my grandparents’ 70th wedding anniversary celebration was postponed indefinitely.
My list of worries and frustrations was long, but then I realized that there were some incredible blessings in the mess of the crisis.
The Bible states that God can work all things together for good for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28). I am a child of God, and I know that He loves me and has a plan for my life. What I didn’t fully understand was that even in the midst of the worst thing our world has experienced in my lifetime, God could still bring about silver, hopeful linings. And, that He sees me — really sees me and what I am going through.
My journey to find a job has not been fun, in fact, in many ways it is has been dead in the water. I searched week after week, and I applied consistently. Still, I only heard crickets. When you are home, with nothing to do but look for work, it can be very discouraging and pressure-filled. Every day I thought about what more could I do, who could I call, what site hadn’t I explored, if I should re-write my resume… again. It was endless torture and a constant feeling of failure.
But when the coronavirus hit and California was put on lockdown, all of a sudden, I felt at peace.
Like I was given permission to stay home, and in this season, it was okay not to be working. I haven’t stopped searching for work, but I certainly have stopped the self-induced pressure. See, God knew my heart. He knew that deep down I wasn’t ready to go back to work. Don’t get me wrong, I want to work. I want to get up every day and be in a place I can serve. But I have some underlining issues that need addressing, and that can only happen in time, with God, and in a place of peace. As a result, I’ve had a renewed desire to return to marketing and finally hired a resume writer to move things forward. All because God has used this time to nudge me in my quiet place.
Another silver lining has been unemployment. I never wanted to file after I lost my job, but around the New Year God put it on my heart to apply; so, I did. Only God knew that there would be a virus that would result in a stimulus package and additional unemployment funds. God has been working on my heart for months — really years — about putting my faith in Him where finances are concerned. And even through a crisis, He has been faithful in amazing, unexpected ways. Of course, I would rather be making money for doing a job and being a productive member of society, but I am so grateful that in this season of transition and uncertainty, God provides and that He still loves me… even when I am sitting on the couch eating ice cream.
There is no playbook for silver linings.
By no means am I an eternal optimist, in fact, there are occasions when my husband needs to help straighten my negative bent. But, when I keep my eyes on Jesus, I am able to step back and look at things with a fresh perspective. I am able to seek out the silver lining, even if it is the simple things like a roof over my head, food in the fridge, the ability to Zoom with family, etc. The lining is there if you are willing to find it.
I love this quote from Maurice Setter, “Too many people miss the silver lining because they’re expecting gold.” Thankfully, I have never expected gold, but sometimes I have failed to expect God. He is incredibly faithful — in tiny and massive ways — but if I don’t keep my eyes set on Him, I will miss what He is doing. And He is doing so much more than we could ever know.