Thursday, September 12, 2013

And the Lord Provided (Part 3)

(submitted by Kerry Patton)
“And in the morning you shall see the glory of the Lord, because he has heard your grumbling against the Lord. For what are we, that you grumble against us?” And Moses said, “When the Lord gives you in the evening meat to eat and in the morning bread to the full, because the Lord has heard your grumbling that you grumble against him—what are we? Your grumbling is not against us but against the Lord.””  Exodus 16:7-8

Frustrated in the Desert
I’ve been sharing with you about how I moved my family to College Station following graduation from College.  You’ve heard the story of how God preserved me from a dangerous job lead and dropped me into a position as a salesperson for Radio Shack.  He was so faithful, guarding my every step, providing for my needs, teaching me so many valuable lessons.  Our God is an amazing God.  Like we sing in the worship service sometimes: “O, how He loves us so…”

AND YET…I was a grumbler.  When paychecks would barely cover my bills, I would remind the Lord God that it was HIS idea that I moved to College Station.  I would grumble to myself as my coworkers would capture all the big commission sales on a given day and I would seemingly attract every rebate, free battery, and product return customer in Brazos County.  I was frustrated.  I knew that the word of God promised that all my needs would be supplied, according to His riches in Christ Jesus.  Still, I would grumble.  Ever been there?

This particular day was one such day.  I had moved from the Radio Shack on Villa Maria drive to the one in the Post Oak Mall.  I really was busting my tail trying to serve the store and seize every opportunity to earn a good wage.  Yet, my totals for that day…really, for that check, were so low that I was likely going to have a next check that paid only the basic hourly wage…a few hundred dollars.  This was the last day of the pay period and something had to happen or I would not make enough to cover the rent and utilities for the month.  Yet, I worked all day in the store and had rung up relatively nothing.  I was now angry. 

It was just a few minutes before closing.  The glass doors to the mall store front we occupied were all closed but a single pane.  I had resolved to my own poverty and was now counting the cash drawer back to the requisite couple hundred dollars of change we would need for the next day of business.  Tim, a college aged coworker had settled in front of the televisions there in the store and was doing nothing to help anyone. 

What must have been like two minutes before closing, a customer walked in.  “Tim…customer…” I said, not wanting to leave my counting.  “TIM…”  Nothing.  He didn’t even acknowledge the customer standing directly behind him.  I let out a deep frustrated sigh and apologized to the customer.  I wrote down the amount of the count I was completing so I could finish it later and directed my attention to the customer.  “How can I help you sir?”  “Well…” the man replied.  “…I don’t think I need any help.  I think I know what I want.”  Excellent!  The sale would go quickly, and I could get back to closing the store for the day.

The man produced a list from a folder, a purchase order from the Caldwell Independent School District, and his driver’s license.  “I think it’s all there.”  I looked over his list.  There were easily ten to fifteen thousand dollars of computers and related items on his list.

Generally, when a large order comes in from a corporation or other business, the matter is handled by the store manager.  So, I asked the man to wait a moment and proceeded to the back of the store to give the order to Chris, the store manager.  “Hey.  There’s a guy here with a large computer order.  You want to handle it?”  Chris was entering the data into the computer to complete the store report for the day.  He didn’t want to be disturbed.  “No, just handle it.  I really need to complete this.”  “Are you sure?  It’s a pretty big order…”  “Yeah.  Just take care of it.” 

I stood there and worked very, VERY hard to be a professional.  I didn’t want to return to the sales counter with the enormous stupid grin that was suddenly on my face.  I felt like I had just won the lottery.  And really, I had in a way.  You see, with no time left in the work day, and no more days on that pay period, God had just given me my entire paycheck in commission in a single sale…at the last minute.  Despite my grumbling, regardless of my stumbling faithfulness, He was still faithful.  He was my provider, and he had not forgotten my need.  He just needed me to be faithful and wait for his timing. 

I went back to the front of the store and rang up the man’s order for Caldwell ISD.  The following Thursday, I collected the largest paycheck I had ever gotten that far working for Radio Shack.  Jehovah Jireh had provided, and I learned an enormous lesson about trusting in the Lord.

Almighty God, we are so sorry for the way our faith sometimes wavers when life gets hard.  We don’t want to behave like children when hardship comes, and yet we frequently do.  Help us as we continue to grow in all aspects like unto the head of our faith, our Lord Jesus.  We trust you, O God.  And we are confident that you are guiding us at every point of this journey.  It is in Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.

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