Everyday I wake up in a rush. It is absolutely true on probably 98% of my days. It has been this way for as long as I can remember. My internal clock keeps me up at night and struggling in the morning. So, just like every other day, Monday I arrived at the office as the clock struck 9:00 am and answered the phone as I logged into the computer. The monotony of my daily schedule began.
We never know how that day will change. Most of the time it is predictable and unchanging. However, some days offer a twist. Monday at 9:17 I received a phone call from my bank informing me at 9:03 and 9:05 some genius credit card hacking criminal had succeeded in sabotaging my bank account and scurrying off silently with almost $1000. Thus, sending my limited financial gain into a deficit not easily recuperated. Then by Thursday my account was frozen, my card was cancelled and my recovery of these funds was on hold while the charges waited in the balance.
This type of invasion in our standard of living can be a day, week, month or life breaker. We can say a few cuss words, yell, scream, throw a temper tantrum and holler at the bank teller until we are blue in the face but the situation will not be complete until it is complete. We can spend our life being bitter and angry, telling everyone about our problems and our desire for revenge against the criminal, the bank, the vendor who allowed them to fraudulently charge. We can, but…. I have known people who live a life that is spent swimming in a sea of the shoulda, woulda, coulda’s, didn’t because of’s and if’s.
But, we have another choice. The prelude.
The prelude in a song is the introduction. But, it is more than that. It is the introductory performance that precedes a more important one.
So often we cannot see beyond the immediate misfortune of our particular situation. We panic, we stress, we literally freak out and do things without thinking. However, you can find vision that reaches beyond our limitations. Stop, breathe, think, pray, meditate on God’s word.
People ask me often how I can be so calm in troubled times. “Susanne, you always seem so put together.” I always laugh and say “you should have seen me inside my head, or when I ran and hid in the bathroom”. I believe that partially it is because I have learned to fully trust in God’s provision. We can’t piece our belief together. If you are going to believe in scripture you have to trust that it is true in its entirety and begin sifting through and learning to live it right? God says “I will never leave you or forsake you”. God says, “my love never fails.” God says, “I am your refuge and strength, an ever present help in trouble.” So, when trouble comes it is a prelude to God’s work in your life and in others.
Because we fear the outcome… Truth is my story could end in a mounted debt to my bank and to creditors and the companies I owe money too because my funds were stolen. I have indeed known some whose situation did end badly. But, I have lost a home and cars years before due to my own inability to manage finances and the horrific struggles in my failed marriage. I can attest to you today that that was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. God was with me in that struggle, teaching me, loving me and leading me to a better life in Him. It was a prelude leading to a more important outcome years in the making.
I really had minimal stress over this situation. First of all, the bank called me. They were on top of my account protecting me from further damage. They froze the account and shut down my card. So many people get belligerent and angry when this happens, but, I knew it was for my protection. I felt like it was handled with much grace. Second, Walmart.com had already attempted to cancel the transactions fearing they were fraudulent. Third, I had my closest friends and family immediately embrace me. My boss paid for my lunch that day. Another co-worker another day. A dear friend another day, along with a monetary gift. My sweet cousin another day. (that is 4 free lunches). Another friend brought me a coffee that morning from Starbucks and then showed up at the end of the day with another one, then put gas in my car. My sister in law and brother in law helped me put a vehicle up for sale on Craig’s list and online garage sale among other things. Many, many, many people prayed and some shared there own stories of a situation happening to them too.
Now, if you live your life trusting God in each moment you would know that I felt “kept” by a Holy God. He was loving me through this.
Sometimes it’s the waiting… Oh how we hate to wait. We are the most impatient, right now people on the planet! People that is. We want it fixed now. We want immediate gratification. But, if I had been stomping my feet and demanding this be fixed instead of just going through that normal routine and believing “God’s Got This!”, I would have missed the waltz. God’s love affair to His people is beautiful. It starts sometimes in the rarest of places, where we think it would never be found.
In the prelude of Monday morning I was wearing a dress I had forgotten I owned. It is one of those dresses ladies that make you feel beautiful and you walk out the door in confidence that you look good. I went to Starbucks that morning and was behind this older gentleman. He turned around towards me and looked at me as if I was the most beautiful woman in the world. He said, “What a beautiful dress. (implying also that I looked good in it!) Ladies first.” He barely touched my shoulder and beckoned me to move before him in line. The barista, who knows me, offered me my usual and the man said to him, “She deserves a free one today!” The barista laughed and actually mumbled something about not owning the place, but, if he did he would. Then this man just smiled at me as if to say, well I tried. I know what you are thinking, he should have paid for it and sometimes people do “pay it forward”. But, it was not about getting free coffee. It was the innocent comments of a sweet older gentleman that God caressed me with that morning. Yes, He knew what was to come and He knew the outcome.
Friday morning, my bank account was replenished with minimal damage. When I opened up my account online to check the balance and I saw that it was back in the positive, I truly felt peace. It was a time of rejoicing in God’s goodness. It was a joy filled moment shared with all of those who had touched me with God’s gracious hand during the week. If we can stop if only for a precious moment before the craziness ensues we can watch the prelude that may not be comfortable or pleasurable but we can trust it to lead to something great!
I am blessed that God has given me the ability to see His work in my life and others. It is truly a place of rest and joy. Susanne does not always have it together. Susanne can’t even go to bed at a decent hour (I am finishing this at 1:42 am) get to the office reasonably early. Susanne is imperfect and limited. But God is unlimited, He loves us and beckons us to Him in the monotonous daily routines, in the sweet words of our daily meetings and even in the tragedies that seem to engulf us for just short time, like mine. The daily noise in our otherwise quiet days is the prelude to a Holy Kiss if we’ll only listen for God’s voice.