By SHERYE S. GREEN
This particular Tuesday seemed like any other day. I worked to put the finishing touches on a lesson about fear which I would share that evening with my Bible study group. Little did I know God had a lesson plan up His sleeve—one designed to teach me a very important lesson.
Once my writing obligations were met, I loaded up Scout, our American Bulldog, into the back of my SUV and headed out to run errands in the rain that had begun falling. I thought I had plenty of time, as it was early afternoon and Bible study didn’t start until 6:30 p.m. After my last run of the afternoon to drop off an overdue library book, Scout and I headed home.
While stopped at a red light, I checked my wallet, a habit I’ve developed over the years. Much to my dismay, my credit card wasn’t in its usual slot. Instead of heading straight through the intersection toward home, I made a right turn and headed back to the library to see if possibly the card might have fallen out there. No joy.
A rumble in the pit of my stomach was quickly joined by a nauseous sensation as my mind raced furiously over the events of the afternoon. I made it back home in record time and headed in to call the businesses to which I remembered going. Just as at the library, no joy.
After making the calls, I then conducted a thorough examination of the front seat of my car that any crime scene investigator would have been proud of. My trusty flashlight beam searched forlornly all the while for my little plastic card. No joy.
Next, I ceremoniously dumped the contents of my purse onto the kitchen table, not once, but three times—still no joy. As I racked my brain for where I might have placed the card, I also went through the pockets of the clothing I was wearing. Joyless.
It was now close to 5:00. By this time, the icy current of panic had begun coursing through my veins. Realizing finally that the card was probably lost, I blinked back tears as I called my husband. Through the miracle of cellular technology, he patched me into a call with the card services representative.
As we talked, she pulled up my account information. She asked me about a gas purchase, the last known transaction made on the card that day. Suddenly, a recollection of having filled up my car flashed through my mind like a lightning bolt.
Still clutching my cell phone, I once again loaded up Scout and headed back to the gas station to see if my card might have been turned in to the attendant. Ever ready for another road trip, our dog was oblivious to the dread that had now overshadowed my afternoon.
As I drove, the credit card rep explained that she could put a temporary hold on the card, rather than cancel the entire account. Glimmer of joy. That would have truly been a serious downer, as the card account is the one we use for auto draft bill payments.
Upon arrival, I parked in the nearby lot, opened my umbrella, and headed into the rain toward the gas station attendant’s window. By now, it was close to six o’clock. From the lines at the pumps, it seemed as if all the motorists in North America had decided to purchase gasoline at this particular location at the same time.
The line was four deep, and I was trying my best to remain calm. My tapping foot, however, gave me away. Every good lesson I’d ever been taught about patience was racing through my mind. This was a lost credit card, not a life-threatening event, I reminded myself.
As the line moved slowly forward, I fidgeted. Almost without thinking, I shoved my hand into the right front pocket of my slacks. What I discovered almost brought me to my knees. My credit card! Cold, hard plastic never felt so good! Joy overflowing!
You can probably guess the rest of this story. I called the kind credit card lady back, who restored my card to active status. Bible study would begin in the next thirty minutes and boy, did I have an object lesson to share.
God reminded me that rainy Tuesday afternoon that He is always with me through each and every circumstance and season of life, just as my card was on my person during my frantic search. Although I had carefully checked my pockets, fear and panic prevented me from finding the card the first time.
My Lord gently revealed to me how often I allow fear, panic, and even life circumstances to prevent me from recognizing His provision for my every need. Jesus has promised He will never leave me nor forsake me, unlike my credit card which can be lost, stolen, or canceled.
The writer of Hebrews reminds us that God waits for us with outstretched arms at His “very throne” to provide “grace to help us in our times of need.” The next time I’m in a panic, I’m going to reach into the “pocket” of my faith. I already know what I will find—God’s provision. Right there all the time.
Sherye S. Green is a Jacksonian, a teacher at Madison-Ridgeland Academy, and a wife, mother, and grandmother. Sherye and her husband, Mark, are members of First Baptist Church Jackson. She is also the author of Abandon Not My Soul.