I turned right around and headed into the bank to put the money back in and get back on the plus side...albeit only by a few dollars. I told the teller what had transpired and she brought my account up on the screen. It was all there in black and white...after paying all my bills I had less than $5 to make it through the next 12 days. I remembered an uncashed check for $16 in my wallet, so I deposited that too, bringing my grand total up to $20 and change. I live modestly, but the reality is still that it's generally hand to mouth. I truly make it through by faith in God's grace and provision, but this was a bad situation even by my standards. I now realize where things got off track - it's actually a number of factors coming together - but unfortunately, I hadn't been paying attention closely enough to avoid the problem.
As I left the building again, I said under my breath 'God, how am I going to get through these 2 weeks?' I'd pretty much lost my appetite at this point, but I felt bad - I'd ordered the sandwich, so I went to go pick it up. When I arrived at the diner, I dug out my credit card. I've been trying to pay them down and hated to use it for something so trivial. Inside, I handed it over to pay the $6 bill. The man behind the counter pointed to a sign I hadn't seen - "$10 credit card minimum". "There's an ATM in the lobby" he said. "I don't have cash" I countered. "No, there's an ATM for you to get cash in the lobby." "I understood you" I said again..."I have two dollars on me and this card...that's all. He shook his head. "Then I guess I won't be able to buy the sandwich." He let me walk out the door. I assume he wasted the food by throwing it out rather than relent on the $10 minimum. I know credit card companies charge a fee and that was the reason for the minimum, but by sticking to his guns, no one won. He probably lost as much money on that food as he would have by taking my card. For myself, I was utterly humiliated at the exchange, crying as I got to my car.
I was embarrassed, frustrated with my lack of attention to detail that landed me in this spot, and hungry. I headed to Wawa to pick up something because I knew they wouldn't turn down my card. I picked up a sandwich, diet soda and two little York peppermint patties because, as I'm sure everyone knows, chocolate is the great spirit lifter lol. Once back at my desk, I finished out the day.
At that point, it was time to turn my attention back to my paltry account to make sure no more surprises were in store. I have a lot of things automatically withdrawn which assures things get paid on time, but a problem can arise if there's a hiccup in a utility bill for example. The phone rang, interrupting my worrying, and a friend of mine asked if I was still at work. She invited invited me over for dinner.
While we chatted at her kitchen table, I shared the story of my mistake and ensuing embarrassment. She didn't say much at the time, but before I left, she passed me $40. When I protested, she said "I've been there, I understand."
So there I was, on my way home, thinking about the money I had and how best to utilize it to make it through, when the car in front of me slowed down. There weren't a whole lot of cars on the road and the light up ahead was green so it annoyed me that the vehicle seemed to be slowing for no reason.
As I watched all this transpire in a matter of seconds, I thought about the impatience that almost cost me an accident. "Thank you Lord for protecting me."
How often do we put ourselves in harm's way? God has us traveling at a certain speed for a reason, but all we see is a road block - something that's slowing us down from getting where we want to go at the pace we want to get there. Instead of trusting that He knows best, we take matters into our own hands and wind up in a dangerous situation... maybe even a wreck. Only then do we see some of the bigger picture and realize that God wasn't trying to frustrate us or keep something from us - He was saving us and protecting us from harm.
It's the same with my money issue. I made an assumption based on the only thing I chose to look at - a sum of money had been deposited a few days before. I hadn't taken the time to tally all the obligations I'd met to realize there was nothing left. I was spent, and it resulted in my embarrassment at the bank and in the diner. Isn't it the same way with our lives sometimes? All the little sins add up until one day our world comes crashing down. We think we're 'okay' not realizing how the little things are chipping away and then suddenly the mess is exposed. Only then do we turn to God to ask 'what do I do?'
When we take our eyes and minds off God and start to put trust in what we think we know, disaster follows. The Bible says in Proverbs 16:25, "There is a path before each person that seems right, but it ends in death."
I'm not sure what these next two weeks hold. Not sure where the funds will come from to get me through although He's already provided some gas money via my friend. But, through the events of yesterday, I am reminded of what God said in Matthew 6:27 - 33 "Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own."
Not long ago, my son had this "accusation" for me. "I think you see God in too much...I don't think He's as responsible for as much as you give Him credit for." While hearing those words from my son saddened me on one hand, on the other, I was glad that an all consuming trust in God is what he sees when he looks at me. Because trusting in God for everything...everything...finances, protection, day to day provision, and more...is not a Pollyana approach to life. It's faith, pure and simple...and I learn that lesson more and more every day.