By Reba Phelps
The closer my relationship grows with God, the more I have discovered that he has a sense of humor that would outshine any of our modern day comedians….or, any comedian for that matter. He is a such clever one.
During our recent experience with Hurricane Laura my daughters and I made our way to Longview, Texas for a brief overnight stay. I had hotel points burning a hole in my pocket and I craved visiting a fully stocked Wal-Mart and cable tv. The fully air-conditioned drive over there was also a gigantic plus.
Just as soon as we got checked in, I received the phone call that so many citizens had been waiting for. Our electricity had been restored. With the excitement of having power, I was eager to help whoever I could. The very next day I visited Wal-Mart with a new zest for life. I decided to open my home to anyone who needed their laundry done, a place to cool off and a warm meal.
Even though it was warm outside, I imagined everyone was tired of eating hurricane snacks.
My buggy was stocked with the ingredients that would soon become the largest pot of taco soup on this side of Cane River. I also decided to replace my shower curtains and upgrade my wash clothes. Nothing like the potential of having company to realize that your home needs some attention. I also purchased a cooler and ice to bring my groceries back across the state line.
On my way to the check-outs I noticed the isle that housed the beer, wine and other drinks. Right there on the corner was a large bottle of pre-made strawberry lime margarita. At the time it seemed like a bright light was shining down on the bottles as if to intentionally grab my attention.
It worked….In my eyes it was a reminder that mama could use a drink after riding out the Category 2 storm, surviving with no electricity, empty freezer, empty refrigerator, complaining kids and a mountain of office work to be handled after the storm passed. This margarita would also pair well with taco soup and company.
Being a single parent, I guard every penny that visits my budget. This expenditure was not in my budget at all, but I knew it was needed. And, God always provides. Everything in my buggy was for the welfare and comfort of others. The total on my receipt was $164.00. It was a small price to pay for a warm meal, household items and the margarita to share with the masses.
As my daughters and I rolled back in town we noticed that some people definitely had electricity, and some did not. We could also tell that our neighbors had been working in yards helping everyone restore their yards to their natural order, including my own yard.
Our intentions were to unpack the car and get right to work. The priority on our agenda included cooking and cleaning. But first, I had to check the mail because it had been days since we last saw our postal worker. Much to my surprise, along with a load junk mail, I received a random check for $146 from an overpayment on my daughter’s braces.
I immediately felt the favor of God wash over me. I spent $164 out my household budget to help others and he literally reimbursed me a few hours later. How amazing is our God? I was so happy and couldn’t wait to tell my daughters about the great God that we serve. The Biblical lesson was going to include that this is a prime example of what happens when you are a giver who constantly tries to sow seeds.
In the middle of telling my daughters the wonderful news it suddenly crossed my mind to check and see what the cost of the margarita was. Including tax, it was roughly $18. The humor was not lost in this moment. God reimbursed all of my expenses except for the price of the margarita.
A Theologian, I am not, this is mostly guess-work from prior spiritual experiences. I am convinced that God can reach us right where we are. I am convinced that he knows that the way to my heart and that way to get my attention is through wittiness and cleverness. Of course, he would know this since he knitted me in my mother’s womb.
This is totally the gospel according to Reba…. But our God is not a basic God. He wants us to find the humor and complete joy in serving him. Serving him does not have to be a mundane experience full of formalities and rules. When we love the Lord with our whole hearts it is so easy to find his loving hand and faithfulness in every situation that comes our way.
“These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be full.”