I’ve written before about seeing the good and choosing joy and the fact that “the only thing we are called to do every day is worship God.” I still believe that. And I think that our “worship” doesn’t have to be hands raised and singing songs and quoting scripture or constant prayer. I think that our lives can be considered worship when we are actively seeking God’s will and we are sharing our stories with one another… keeping in perspective the fact that God uses us every day to make a difference… even when we are hurting.
But it’s hard to “see it” sometimes. It’s difficult to have faith during times that seem so very counter to how things should be. There’s an entire theological discussion that can be had around the old question of “why bad things happen to good people,” but that’s for another time… and most certainly another blogger. But a friend wrote something recently that resonated with me and continues to give me hope. He wrote: Doesn’t God have the right to crack the vessel, if breaking it is the fastest way to share what He has poured into us?
Ever since that tid-bit crossed my radar, I have been trying to refocus and claim the blessings and lessons and stories that God has been showing me, and you know what? It’s working. I want to share a story with you now that could very easily be recognized as coincidence, or at the very most be met with “Oh, how neat…” But I want to encourage you to not view it that way. I’m afraid that if you do, you’ll be missing out on a miraculous example of God’s sovereignty and a huge blessing in this little reminder that God moves. That He loves us and protects us and provides for His children when we are in need, and that He wants our best no matter what is happening to us and around us and within us.
A guy called me about three weeks ago and said he had heard that I might be someone who could help him with rebranding his company. He said that he had been to my blog and liked the way I wrote about “story” and the fact that we all have a chance to be a hero. Being that I don’t have a steady job or significant foreseeable income, I said I thought that’d be swell.
Three days later his first check arrived in the mail and another prayer quickly went into the “answered” box we keep near the garage door, out back, next to the recycle bin. It is important to note that this money came to us within a day of receiving a disconnect notice from the power company and a second “late” letter from the mortgage company and a barrage of angry phone calls from our brand new collections agency. Timing is everything.
Bethany and I sighed in awe of this example of having everything we need, maybe just not everything we want.
Four days later, I sat in church wondering if I could actually sign the tithe check I needed to write.
“This isn’t your money. This isn’t your money. This isn’t your money. I thought to myself over and over… But I need to pay the cell phone bill. I need to pay the credit card company. But this isn’t your money. But I need to buy the kids’ school supplies. This isn’t your money…”
I stroked the check (an odd number… exactly 10% of the total amounts received from my new client) well after the collection plate passed my row and wondered again if it was OK to be thinking:
Well they already went by. I guess God wants me to keep this for the kids. OK, God. I’ll keep it for the… Then the usher, God bless him, must have seen me writing the check and wrapped back around the last few pews, doubled-back to where I was sitting and motioned with his head for me to “Go ahead. Drop it in. I’ve got your back, brother.”
I put the check in the bowl and believe it or not I felt relieved and almost immediately at peace with my decision to stay faithful to my commitments to the church. To God.
On Monday morning, the mail came early. I hesitated going to the mailbox because I usually like to at least enjoy lunch before getting bad news from the Post Office… but I got the mail and started walking back inside. A letter from a friend was wedged between a 25% off coupon from Bed Bath & Beyond and what looked to be an insufficient funds notice from Regions. I opened the letter first. The note read:
Billy: I really enjoyed talking with you the other night and learning how God is working through you and your family. I am so glad Quinn has brought such joy to you guys. Thank you for your faith during the hard times and the witness you are showing others without even knowing it. Enclosed is a check to use as you see fit. Let’s do a better job of keeping up with each other. Should you need anything let us know. We love you and are praying for you…
Pretty cool that a friend would take the time to send me a note like that. I was moved by his thoughtfulness and the fact that he said he loved us and was praying for us. Then I unfolded the check. It was for the exact amount I tithed not 24 hours earlier. The exact amount.
Big deal, you might be saying. What a neat coincidence, you are probably thinking to yourself. But I don’t think so. I think this was just a simple reminder. A wink from the almighty that we are in Good hands. By no means do I think that I was “rewarded” for being faithful, or “repaid” for being selfless. That’s not the point. The thing that makes me leap (inside) and brings me to my knees is the fact that God showed up. He loves us every day and protects us every day and provides for His children every day… and He wants our best no matter what is happening to us and around us and within us… every day.
This is not a coincidence. This is evidence.
So, choose joy today. Be confident that you’re in good hands. And be comforted that you are not in control. Start to refocus your day to day and begin to claim the blessings and lessons and stories that God has been showing you.