Call Me Eliphaz
Tuesday, September 06, 2016
Moved my daughter to college last week, where she was presented with a great opportunity to trust God with a disaster in the making. I gently suggested that response, she ignored me. And had a meltdown. He came through, though. Bigtime. And only then did I realize that I had a serious lack of faith going myself.
The crisis ensued just about the minute we hit the campus (Washington University in Saint Louis) . Abby had ordered all of her textbooks off bargain book websites, with the grand total coming in at about $350. (According to the booksellers, all of her books had already been delivered to her apartment mailbox).
Just one of those books, bought at the campus bookstore, would have been just over $300 all by itself.
But there was on teeny weenie problem.
Our first stop was the campus housing office,and it was there that Abby discovered that her apartment address was not, in fact 864 Stratford but, rather, 846 Stratford.
Which was more than a little disturbing. Now we had to add another job to an already intimidating schedule. We were going to have to track those books down and get them back.
So off we go.
Got Abby moved in to her third floor apartment (no elevators). It is very hot and humid with a real feel of 115 degrees. Not having a good time but we got the job done. We did check her mailbox (hope springs eternal). No luck.
Soooo… On to the bookhunt.
We called campus mail. They said we should go to the Campus Village mail room and check. Went there.
The told us that it was the Campus Lofts mailroom we should check. Went there.
They said Abby’s apartment, despite being campus housing, didn’t have campus mailroom delivery. It was the good old regular US mail we had to call.
Called them. They did verify that there was an actual property with the 864 address, but otherwise? No luck.
Now what? We decided to get in the car and drive around the neighborhood and find 864. (It should be pretty close to 846, right?)
An hour of walking around looking for that house with no luck. Nada. There is absolutely no unit 864. Anywhere.
At this point (Did I mention it was really, really hot?) we decided to canvass the neighborhood again on foot and try to find some neighborly individuals that may be able to point us in the right direction. We’d almost exhausted the possibilities when we finally came upon a friendly, long-term resident of the neighborhood who happened to be having a yard sale. She helpfully offered up this intriguing clue:
“Stratford Street ends at the edge of this neighborhood, but picks up again several blocks further north.”
Hallelujah it’s a lead!
We get back in the car.
Twenty minutes later, however it had become very clear that there was no 864 on this end of Stratford either.
And Abby is hot, tired, and hysterical.
So of course, I kicked into “SuperChristianMom” mode: “Abby, God can do a miracle! You have to trust Him. We just need to pray!"
I prayed for a complete miracle; that we would find Abby’s books, all of them, intact somewhere. Not already stolen, and if that one was not answered, then at least none had already been sold. I prayed for God’s provision. His faithfulness in this hour. His mercy on Abby, who made an honest mistake.
I prayed for a legitimate miracle. Abby kept crying. She knew $300 was a lot of money for us to spend at once, and a lot of those books she was expected to have on Monday morning when classes started. Buying them all again in the Campus bookstore would be a lot more than $300, but if she bought them all again online it would be another week or two till she got them.
She was having a whole lot of trouble seeing any possible bright side. And when we got back to her apartment she just got out, slammed the car door and stomped upstairs.
I, however, was determined to figure this out. The USPS had verified that 864 existed, so where the heck was it. The neighborhood was old, with streets that kind of twined around, so I just stood there staring up the street hoping for supernatural inspiration. Didn’t happen.
What I did see, however, was a USPS delivery service truck flying down the street and then past me, despite my wild efforts to wave him down.. But then he slowly backed back up the street, stopping right at the curb where I stood.
And he said—no lie, “Are you looking for Abigail Wippel’s books?"
I kid you not. And I wish I had a picture to share with you of the moment when -- not three minutes after she abandoned all hope - I arrived at the door with all of Abbys books. All of them.
The very nice young postman explained that he had delivered a few of them but then realized, when they were not picked up, that their owner had not yet moved in, so he kept them safe in his truck to await their owner’s arrival. And, that there was, in fact, 864 on Stratford after all.
I admit that all I said to Abby when I handed her books to her was, "See, I told you that you just needed to trust God." And she and I spent a few pleasant days getting her apartment set up.
It wasn’t till I was on the way home that it finally occurred to me that I needed to put my money where my mouth was.
I lost my job about four months ago, cutting our household income in half. And as you might have guessed, medical writing jobs in Mississippi are few and far between. With two kids in college, I have worried about money nonstop ever since.
Particularly since, pre-job loss, we committed to going to England on vacation. Flights and game tickets done paid for.
The Cincinnati Bengals are playing the Saints in Wembley Stadium in October and for reasons which pretty much completely escape me, my husband Really wants to be there.
So why am I having so much trouble believing in a miracle for us? Why can’t I just trust God with this?
I could list at least a dozen bonafide miracles He’s already provided for my family over the years. Some I have already shared.
Maybe because miracles for yourself are harder to believe for than somebody else? Even when you’ve had proof they can happen? Maybe just our sinful nature? Maybe because I feel guilty asking for a miracle for such a nonspiritual reason? Believe me, I know that there are lots and lots of saints out there with way worse problems than this. I have to say emphatically that the boundary lines, for the Wippels, have for the most part fallen in very pleasant places. God has been ever faithful to us.
I did, however, realize that my attitude needed some attention. It reminded me of the whole incident with Job and his friends, including Eliphaz, that could not just sympathize with the poor guy when he was having a hard time with the stuff life can throw at you. No. They had to go super Christian on Job and effectively condemn him.
And I realized I did pretty much the same thing with Abby.
Thank God that He came through for her.
And I know He can for us as well.
So I would appreciate it if you all could just pray for me that I would worry less and pray more, and wait in expectation for what the Lord will do.
And fully believe that He has both the power and mercy to do it.
Finally, please pray that I keep this precious, precious promise in mind--a Scripture song of Psalm 27,that I can call to mind anytime:
“Wait for the Lord, be strong and let your heart take courage, yes, wait for the Lord. I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the Living. Wait for the Lord”.
Jeff said the other night that we probably just have to give up the trip and waste the money.
I told Jeff we would go to London, even if all we did was look out the windows at the Heathrow Airport.
I am hoping it doesn’t come to that.
Either way, God is faithful. All the time.
One more thing. I just remembered. (LOL) Please pray that I find a job!
About Wendy Wippel
Last week: God Smacked
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