Do you ever have those moments where you look up to heaven, shake your fists up to God and say “Really? Did I really need to go through this? I was doing just fine before you decided that I somehow needed to learn a lesson!”
Yup, I’ve had those too. I was a student missionary during my undergrad for 6 months from 2013-2014. I had a pretty nice gig—I lived in a beautiful flat that was my house, the office for the conference, and the church. During those months, I had the blessing of having a stipend, and therefore I never had to worry about money.
Or so I thought.
AI always gave the tithe from my small stipend. I knew Malachi 3:10 by heart—give God His portion and receive blessings in return. One Friday afternoon after receiving my paycheck, I decided to go grocery shopping. The cashier handed me my change and I placed it in my pocket. I dropped the 2 grocery bags off, and walked toward the other grocery store. At the second grocery store, I gathered my remaining miscellaneous items and stood in line. I reached into my pocket to pull out the change when I realized the change wasn’t in my pocket! I searched frantically in every pocket I was wearing—praying that I hadn’t lost the reaming $50 that I had from my paycheck. To my horror, I never found them.
I was livid.
How could I be so careless? How was I going to finish out the month? How was I going to get to work each day? UURRRRGG! I guess I have to walk everywhere now, I don’t have money for the tramway, or the ferry. Why wasn’t I more aware of my actions? I placed the items back on the shelf and walked home with tears of frustration running down my face.
The next morning—Sabbath morning—I decided that this situation was not going to bring me down. I’m just going to pray; just rejoice, and be grateful that I at least have life. After the morning service, one of the other missionaries pulled me aside and handed me an envelope. She didn’t say much about it, so I just took it and placed it away in my bag and kept enjoying my Sabbath. Later that afternoon, I remembered the envelope and decided to open it and see what message she had inside the card. I felt impressed to stop, pray, and thank God for the day that I had, for my sphere of influence, and for the envelope in my hand. I opened the envelope looked inside and took out the content; I was not prepared for what was inside. To my amazement inside that envelope was $600. This was double the amount of my paycheck! God had it covered. Even before I had lost my money and became upset at myself, God was providing for my daily bread. God was working on answering a prayer even before I had prayed it.
What a wonderful story, right? Well, it’s not done…
Remember how I told you earlier that my home was pretty much the center of everything? It was also the guest house. Anytime a visitor was passing by or had a layover, they would be housed on the top floor of my building. One evening, I was able to house a couple from Europe, and a missionary that lived in Africa. We had the most incredible time in fellowship—they were telling me stories about how God provided for them each step of the way.
They were all on their way to Kenya. The older missionary lady had been there for some time and the couple was going on their first service trip together. It came down to the part of the conversation where the more experienced missionary was giving the couple advice. The husband’s primary concern was, malaria. I cannot emphasize enough how many times he stated that he was prepared for malaria. Pretty much, his main goal was to return to his home without having malaria.
My boss gave me the day off to tour with the guests, and point them in the appropriate direction for the airport. As we were walking toward the bus stop, the husband approached me and stated very emphatically: “I know you have very little, so here take this,” and he handed me 10 Euros. I thanked him and in return stated: “I know you also have very little,” and as he walked up the steps to the bus I handed him one of my 100 dollar bills. His eyes opened wide with amazement. I quickly shoved the hundred dollars in his hand and walked away…
You now must be thinking, :Good job, Chantal!" Well, the story’s still not done.
A month later, the couple returned from their trip. The other SMs and I were enjoying their stories, when they pulled me aside and handed me a heart shaped box with an elephant in front. “Thank you” they said. “For what?” I asked. It turns out the husband had contracted malaria. Yup, after all his preparation and precaution, he was the one to get sick.
And people say God doesn’t have a sense of humor.
They told me they were able to use the $100 that I had given them to pay for the medicine to help him recover. All I could say to that was "Praise God."
Many times, as Christians, we think the odds are against us. However, we believe in the greatest Master of Ceremonies. I can just imagine God working this whole situation up in heaven knowing that my blessing was going to be able to bless others.
"Dear friend, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience" (James 1:2,3).
These circumstances that we find ourselves in sometimes are not in vain. They aren’t coming from a vindictive God or a God who has turned His back on us. It comes from a God who knows that whatever circumstance you’re going through, will someday be used for good. This circumstance will someday be used to encourage someone else during their difficult time. Therefore friends, let your blessings turn into blessings.
Chantal Williams recently graduated from Andrews University as a doctor of physical therapy, and has been involved with Enspire Productions since 2011.