Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Mysterious Ways

The longer I think about it the more I’m convinced that God is in control of things. Things that seem like unfair trials and challenges turn out to be just the thing we needed to have happen so that we can get through a harder trial. Take, for example, our recent financial fiasco.

When someone in Florida started charging up our debit card right around Christmastime, we were frustrated. Frustrated that we’d have to get new cards sent out to us. Frustrated by all the paperwork involved in reversing the charges. Frustrated that it happened so close to Christmas. Frustrated that we wouldn’t be able to use any of the assets we have in that account until everything got sorted out. It was just frustrating.

The only positive thing was that we were able to get the charges reversed and that didn’t even seem like a positive—it seemed like a neutral because it was just to right a wrong. And it took a lot of work on our part. So it was more like a “there” instead of a “hallelujah!”

Then, Andrew was robbed in Rome and we were frustrated again. Frustrated that he’d been careless and trusting. Frustrated that someone would go through his personal things. Frustrated that we were apart. Frustrated that the money was gone. Frustrated that there was no way of getting it back. Frustrated that he couldn’t get a hold of Jeffery to stay at his place instead of at the hostel. Frustrated.

At least all that was gone was money. And grant money, at that, so it wasn’t like our personal funds were being needlessly drained.

But the third time’s a charm, right, and he was robbed again. This time our credit card and bank card were taken in addition to his wallet being cleared of cash. And, you guessed it, we were frustrated. Frustrated that it had happened…again. Frustrated that we’d have to cancel more cards and have more cards sent out to us. Frustrated that Andrew felt unsafe. Frustrated that he was stuck in Italy. Frustrated that I was stuck in Egypt with no access to any money. Frustrated that I hadn’t gone grocery shopping a day earlier. Frustrated that the perpetrator had already wracked up charges on our card. Frustrated that our bank doesn’t have a 24-hour phone line. Frustrated, frustrated, frustrated!

The miracles in this third fiasco are what amaze me.

  1. The fact that they left one working card in Andrew’s wallet. It doesn’t have any recognizable bank branding on it since it’s an Egyptian student account. Instead it looks more like an ID card—it has Andrew’s picture on the back and a big Y on the front for “youth.” So, he was able to get some cash to make his way around the city for the next little while.
  2. We had plenty of food storage so it didn’t matter that I wasn’t able to go grocery shopping or get money out.
  3. Again, they took nothing other than money and bank cards. They left the camera, the computer, and other valuables.
  4. The bank card that we had had reissued in December arrived on the same day we were robbed the third time so we have access to at least some of our assets in America.

We had been so worried about not being able to access any of our money, but our new card arrived in Cairo the same day that our other cards were stolen from Rome. What a blessing! We don’t exactly have it yet since mail is tricky in this neck of the woods, but at least we know it’s here. And that we’ll be able to get it.

It’s amazing to me that something so frustrating can really be a blessing in disguise.

One of my favorite hymns is God Moves in a Mysterious Way. It’s one that my piano teacher, Sister Thompson, assigned to me years ago, a song that I didn’t want to learn, that I was loathe to practice, and that, no matter how hard I practiced, never seemed to satisfy her. I played it for so many weeks in a row, reading the words so many times as I plowed through the piano part, that eventually…I kind of started to like it. And now I really do like it. It’s beautiful and carries a beautiful message. I can hardly sing it without crying because it reminds me of all the miracles that have happened in my life. Pity I still can’t play it very well.

1. God moves in a mysterious way
His wonders to perform;
He plants his footsteps in the sea
And rides upon the storm.

2. Ye fearful Saints, fresh courage take;
The clouds ye so much dread
Are big with mercy and shall break
In blessings on your head.

3. His purposes will ripen fast,
Unfolding ev’ry hour;
The bud may have a bitter taste,
But sweet will be the flower.

4. Blind unbelief is sure to err
And scan his works in vain;
God is his own interpreter,
And he will make it plain.

The scriptures that are listed in the hymnbook are also quite touching to me. Romans 8 has long been one of my favorite chapters of scripture, so of course I love Romans 8:28.

And we know that all things work together for agood to them that love God…

Psalms 107:26-31 is also beautiful.

…Their soul is melted because of trouble….They…are at their wits’ end. Then they cry unto the Lord in their trouble, and he bringeth them out of their distresses. He maketh the storm a calm, so that the waves thereof are still. Then are they glad because they be quiet; so he bringeth them unto their desired haven. Oh that men would praise the Lord for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!

Looking around myself at others often makes my personal trials seem so trivial. So many people I love are going through much greater trials right now. Their souls are melting…and yet…all things will work together for our good if we love God. Sometimes we don’t see the miracle until after it happens—sometimes the miracle is the calm, sometimes the miracle is the storm—but the miracle is there if you look for it.

I know God lives and that He loves me and that he cares about every detail of my life.

1 comment:

  1. I so needed that today.

    You are a beautiful writer. (meaning, of course, that your writing is beautiful and so are you.)