Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. (NIV)
I was in a financial crunch this past week. I know you’ve been there: miscellaneous expenses pile up and before you know it, your paycheck is completely spoken for. The medical co-pays for my daughter’s strep throat, the brake job on the Jeep, an unbudgeted travel expense, and a few other wrenches in my formula left me pretty much penniless, at least for a few days. We were having company, though, and I simply wanted to forget my woes and focus on my family and God’s providence. Truthfully, I felt that way; I knew my next check was coming. I’m gainfully employed as a social worker, I gig on the weekends, we’re landlords, and my wife is a teacher. We always figure it out, even when we feel stretched. There are folks losing their jobs and homes in this economy right now, so I really am thankful to God for holding us down. All that to say, the twenty dollars my wife allotted for Chinese take-out last night was appreciated and I was gearing up for some crab rangoons and a movie.
I stopped at the Redbox to pick up the DVD first. The kiosk closest to our house stands outside the 7-11 on what’s affectionately known as “Killer’s Corner.” It’s really not that hot a corner, but you know how people exaggerate crime. Like, maybe a few of guys have been killed there before, but it’s not like you can’t go there without getting killed. There is, however, is a congregation of panhandlers and hustlers in front. The panhandlers ask for your change as you exit the store. When they accumulate enough, they probably turn it over to the hustlers for their “nourishment.” Or hit the package store. I digress.
I jumped out of the car and picked up my movie. I went over to the Chinese spot to pick up our order. I reached for the twenty in my back pocket, but it was gone. As I retraced my steps I realized it was LONG gone. I likely dropped it at the Redbox, so odds were it never even hit the ground before it was exchanged for a dime bag. Well, 2 dime bags.
I was beyond irritated at my carelessness, and I just felt helpless. I work hard, and we’d had a rough few weeks with some pressing “situations” on both sides of our family. I literally looked up at the sky and said, out loud, “God, what’s up with my blessing? I just need a blessing. Give me a blessing.”
Arrogant, I know. As if God doesn’t bless me day-in-and day-out. I was ticked off, though, mostly at myself. I came home angry, and just couldn’t shake it off despite my company and a delicious dinner. Jessica finally cornered me and kindly asked me to “shake it off” and give it to God. God can handle twenty bucks.
This morning I was still thinking about my lost money as we packed up the family for a road trip to New Jersey. Gas money. Coffee money. That twenty. Dangit. And then it happened. I was dropping a trash bag into the can outside and there was Andrew Jax staring up at me; I swear he was grinning. I had dropped it last night before I ever left the driveway! My blessing.
Trust is important. Our own understanding is, well, limited. If we trust in the Lord in every corner of our lives, He’ll show up in circumstances we never expected He would.