This morning, I woke up, grabbed my blueberry tea, and groggily headed to the comfy red chair in our living room to read a bit from my favorite devotional. If you're in the market for a daily devotional, I highly recommend this one. It's a classic called Streams in the Desert by L.B. Cowman. My copy is beaten up after years of use, but that makes it even better in my opinion. It has astounded me, through the years, to see how timely the devotions are for exactly what I'm going through on any given day.
I flipped to today's devotion:
"He knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold." - Job 23:10
As soon as I read that verse, I teared up. That exact verse had meant so much to me in high school that I actually had it on the front of my graduation invitation. And now, with the past few months of health issues, death, finances, and the uncertainty of the future... it was exactly the reminder God knew I needed that, indeed, He knows. What a comfort it is that He knows every trial I'm facing.
Each part of the devotion for today continued to be encouraging.
"The strongest trees are found not in the thick shelter of the forest but out in the open, where winds from every direction bear down upon them. The fierce winds bend and twist them until they become giant in stature. These are the trees that toolmakers seek for handles for their tools, because of the woods great strength."
The spiritual world is no different, and in the storms that we've been through these past several months, He is only making us stronger. Hallelujah!
As I wrapped up my time with the Lord, I remembered something I needed to pay for online, so I went to grab my wallet from my purse. It wasn't there. Not quite alarmed at this point, I began retracing my steps from yesterday. We spent much of the day with our friends the Poricks, and before that, I had been at Argo Tea for the afternoon. I knew for a fact that was the last place I had pulled out my wallet. I called Argo - no wallet.
I told Shawn and we decided not to worry about it until after church, when we would keep looking around. As soon as I got home, I checked our online bank statements only to quickly notice a couple large purchases on both my debit and my credit card which were made while we were with our friends. My premonition had been confirmed - my wallet had been stolen.
I called to cancel my cards immediately, at which point I found out that almost $5,000 had been charged to one of my credit cards, but the security alert from the bank didn't allow it to go through. All of the unauthorized purchases were credited back to me and all my accounts were closed. Thank you, Chase Bank.
As soon as I finished with them, I had a light bulb moment and told Shawn, "I know who stole my wallet." I remembered that as I was working on my computer at Argo, a homeless looking woman with a large bag sat directly behind me. At one point, she spilled all the contents of her bag onto the floor and I got down on my hands and knees picking them up and returning them to her bag. Meanwhile, she must have grabbed my wallet out of my purse which was hanging (closed) from the back of my chair. Looking back, the whole thing was very plotted. These kind of people know exactly what they're doing, I guess. She left very quickly and my bank statements show that within 20 minutes, she was making purchases across the street at Macy's.
All of this to say, it was so sweet of God to begin my day with that verse. "He knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold." This was surely a test. How would I react to being violated? How would I respond to all of my bank cards, cash, driver's license, and gift cards being taken?
Honestly, all I can say is that God's peace that surpasses all understanding has guarded me throughout the day. Not once have I even felt that bothered by it. Shawn and I even prayed this morning that the gift cards (some were for area restaurants) would bless this woman if she even kept them. (We did also pray that the wallet would be miraculously returned and still believe it could be.)
I must also give credit where credit is due. My husband amazes me in these kinds of situations. He never showed one sign of being flustered or angry. He just looked at me and said, "Only what's part of God's will ever happens, so if your wallet being stolen is God's will, then we should be thankful for it." Can't say I'm thankful for the hassle of replacing all these cards, but I am surely thankful that God is so passionately interested in the growing of my faith.