06. Six years without work. The power of God’s Word

One does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes forth from the mouth of God. (Mat 4:4)

In 1990, I graduated from university. Unfortunately, it was very difficult to find a job in my area at that time. These were the years of economic transformation, when many state-owned enterprises were closed or employment limited. I faced the prospect of unemployment, and therefore – shortly after defending my master’s thesis – I decided to go abroad, hoping to find a job there. First, I went to Germany and then to Switzerland. Unfortunately,  I couldn’t find a job abroad and I ran out of my modest savings  quickly. Moreover, I didn’t have any friends and  acquaintances abroad who could help me. So I returned to Poland.

After my return, I was still looking for a job. It turned out, however, that the situation on the labor market in my region was more dramatic than before. Despite my strenuous efforts to find a job, I was not able to find a permanent employment. Only from time to time I did work as a tour guide then, but it was sporadic work, and I didn’t earn enough doing it to live on. At the same time, I tried to run an inherited farm. Unfortunately, due to my fragile strength, lack of machines, etc., I had to give it up. At that time, my mother already got a modest pension. Thanks to this, we had money for food, but the pension was not high enough to meet all our expenses and needs. We often lacked money for food and payments. Fortunately, we lived near the forest. In the summer, we picked blueberries there, and in the fall, mushrooms which my mother sold at the town market. In this way, we got our livelihood.

Ever since I came back from abroad, my mother worried a lot about my future. She felt very depressed because I couldn’t find a job despite my studies and master’s degree. The situation was also very hard for me. I was filled with remorse that I didn’t work. I was broken that I was the cause of my mother’s suffering.  

In this way, I spent six years in the countryside. As I mentioned before, it was a period of many financial problems. But God showed me that “one does not live by bread alone”. He taught me that the real food comes from Heaven. This is the Word of God  that nourishes the soul and gives us real life.

I survived that difficult stage of my life thanks to the prayer and daily reading the Bible. I experienced that God’s Word miraculously nourishes the soul and soothes the heart. The Lord fed me with His Word every day. God’s Word became my daily spiritual food. Every day I felt an intense desire to read the Scriptures anew. To satisfy this hunger for the Word of God, I simply absorbed the Bible verses, reading and pondering them for many hours.

The Bible became for me the source of hope and comfort in the difficult period of unemployment. Through His Word, God spoke to me and taught me perseverance and patience in bearing the cross  of everyday life. God’s Word strengthened and encouraged me. It prevented me from bad and desperate thoughts. It built my faith and helped me not to fear but to trust that the good and loving God would come to my aid. I derived strength from meditating on the Word of God that has always been comforting me and giving hope that my situation will change and I will find a job.

Both in the Old Testament (especially in the Book of Isaiah) and in the New Testament, I found many comforting verses, for example:

Though the mountains leave their place and the hills be shaken, My love shall never leave you nor my covenant of peace be shaken, says the LORD, who has mercy on you. (Iz 54,10)

Fear not, I am with you; be not dismayed; I am your God. I will strengthen you, and help you, and uphold you with my right hand of justice. (Iz 41,10)

Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat (or drink), or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds in the sky; they do not sow or reap, they gather nothing into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are not you more important than they?  Can any of you by worrying add a single moment to your life-span?  Why are you anxious about clothes? Learn from the way the wild flowers grow. They do not work or spin. But I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was clothed like one of them. If God so clothes the grass of the field, which grows today and is thrown into the oven tomorrow, will he not much more provide for you, O you of little faith? So do not worry and say, ‘What are we to eat?’ or ‘What are we to drink?’ or ‘What are we to wear?’ All these things the pagans seek. Your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom (of God) and his righteousness, and all these things will be given you besides. (Mat 6, 25-33)