It’s Wednesday morning at 5am. I’m already late for work because I overslept (Daylight Savings…ugh!). I’m combing my hair, bumbling sleepily around in my bathroom, and finally I said, almost in frustration, “God, if you want me to go to the Thursday night session, you’re going to have to provide the money. I don’t have the extra $137.”
You see, I’ve been planning for some time to attend a writer’s conference in Madison Wisconsin two weeks from now. Conferences are expensive, and hotel rooms are expensive, so I devised a plan, which I decided was both clever and thrifty: get up at 3am on Friday morning to drive to Madison, attend the conference Friday and Saturday and drive back Saturday night, staying only one night in the conference hotel.
The only problem was the session Thursday night, free to anyone who had paid for the rest of the conference. I knew Thursday night would be very valuable to my career as a writer, but I decided, no, it’s not free if I have to buy a second night at the hotel for an additional $137.
I’m a little tight right now anyway. I can’t go.
But am I actually being a bad steward of the money I am using by not taking in all the education possible while I have the chance?
Why, on a Wednesday morning at 5am, is this dilemma circling through my mind? Is my hairbrush transmitting secret messages?
Of course, after I told God He would have to be in charge, I immediately thought of ways to help Him out. Perhaps, I should get something I wasn’t expecting back on my taxes, for example. You could do that God, I’m sure.
6am: I’m at work now, plugging away at my little master book of information about our heart surgery patients, and I overhear some nurses hashing something behind me. This is not exactly uncommon, so I continued working at my computer and book.
Then I realized they were saying they didn’t get as much for the gain-sharing this year as they thought they were going to get.
I swiveled on my chair.
“Is this the paycheck where we get the gain-sharing?” I asked. I don’t understand gain-sharing, although I remember hearing about it, but I was expecting it in May for some reason, not March.
“Yes,” someone said.
Someone had already brought up their paycheck and looked at it.
“I was expecting $200,” she said, “but it’s only $140-something.”
Stunned, I turned back to my computer.
Less than two hours after I asked for it, I had an extra $137, with a few dollars for tax.
Now I know you might be saying, Every hospital employee got that extra money, how can you insist it was God’s answer to your prayer?
The first answer to that is simply that I know it was. But I understand that someone else’s relationship with God is intangible, and that’s hardly an academic defense (not that we always need those).
The second answer is that, yes, of course God knew that every employee would get an extra $140. He knew he had already provided my hotel money in time for the conference.
But tell me this: How did God manipulate my mind on that post-daylight savings morning of grogginess, to get me to specifically ask him for $137 extra dollars at 5am, just an hour before he provided the answer?
And that presents another question: Why did he get me to ask, knowing he had already answered?
That, at least, seems clear to me.
For his own glory. Because he has flair like that, and brilliance, and creativity.
Because he could.
Because he wanted me to clearly understand what the extra $140 was for.
Because he wanted you to hear the story and say, wow, God is brilliant.
Because he is brilliant in your life too.
Just because he was on a roll anyway, God climaxed the day by helping me find the heart I painted almost two years ago, and then lost track of after the auction.
I made the call to the hotel and asked if I could have the room for an extra day.
“It will be just one moment, I’ll check and see if I have the availability,” the lady said, but I was thinking, silly woman, of course you have it. I’m starting to get a little better at trusting God.
Stay tuned for a Thursday night blog post from my hotel room in Madison, WI.