The shrill of Darron’s phone awoke me from my slumber. Such an unusual thing, for an early morning phone call. I hear Darron fumbling around and became more awake when he uttered, “Oh, it’s Andrew” (our second oldest son). Our Son’s don’t call in early mornings unless there is something important on their minds. I hear Darron congratulating Andrew and I become wide awake and join the conversation, adding my blessings and delight to Andrew and Meredith’s engagement announcement.
The day took off with an extra bounce in my step at the thoughts of a wedding, another girl, and family. I was also rejoicing over more positive news from our first-born son and him landing his first engineering job. Yet, I had to focus. There were groceries to get and a baby shower that I needed to run the program for that morning.
Off to the grocery store I went…running late before I even started. Ha! I passed by the unbelievable long line of cars waiting for gas. I was relieved that I had 7/8ths of a tank full. I wiz around the grocery store and proceed to pay when my Lebanese bank card fails, and I didn’t have enough cash on hand. Meanwhile the time is pressing in on when I should be picking up people to go to the shower. I convince the store manager that I will be back in 3 hours and have them put the one bag of cold items in the fridge. Shaking my head in utter frustration, that this grocery task was not accomplished. I head towards home.
Now an hour later, the same gas line is no longer, as the gas station has run out of gas. It’s 9:40 a.m. in Beirut, Lebanon. This is our reality. I gather the supplies and people for the baby-shower and arrive only 5 minutes late. Which let me be honest, is perfectly normal timing for Ruth. Baby shower done, check. Drop people back at home, check. Head to the bank, check.
I arrive at the bank at 12:15. They are closed. They finish all financial transactions by noon each day. Welcome to the “new” Beirut financial system. I manage to pull one million Lebanese pound out of the ATM. This transaction is allowed once a week and is the equivalent to $52.00 at the current street exchange rate. When we arrived here two years ago this same amount of money was worth over $600.00. About the only other place you can use your ATM is at the grocery store (usually).
Back at the grocery store the Bangladesh servant workers remember me and go find my grocery cart. As I am waiting, which seemed a long time, a friend see’s me and greets me briefly. It was a nice exchange, but I didn’t think much about it. The Bangladesh guys start unpacking all the groceries onto the conveyor belt to be rescanned. As they were repacking all the groceries this friend returns to me and expresses her need for a teaching job and asks if I know of one. She explained that she has 28 years of teaching experience but needed to quit her former job because the distance was to far with the current gas crises. I quickly told her about the desperate need in our refuge school that I knew about and gave her the contact of the director.
At this point everything has been re bagged and I quickly say good-bye and refocus my attention to pay. The new total is shown, but a great discussion in Arabic…a long 5-minute discussion (with the store managers) is taking place. I ask 3 times, “What is the problem?” and they ignore me. I am starting to feel very exasperated by this shopping trip. Finally, they explain that there is a 30,000LBP ($1.50) discrepancy between the first time the groceries were scanned and the second time. They start looking through all the bags. I joke that maybe there was a sale while I was gone and that the groceries are now cheaper. They finally let me pay. I decided to just try my bank card and IT WORKED!!?!
As I sat in the car and sent a “podcast” to a friend who was at the baby shower and needed to hear the rest of the story, I began to weep. I became almost 100 percent certain that all my grocery shopping stops and delays that morning were divine interruptions. All for the friend who needed a job. I sent a message to the director of the refugee school (Alexis) letting her know about this potential teacher.
My third trip pass the gas station reveals another long line as apparently, they received more fuel. It is now 1:10 p.m. Shortly after I had hauled all the groceries up the apartment steps my husband walks in the door. The first thing he says to me is, “the timing of your message to Alexis was unbelievable”. Now listen to this….
Darron had spent the last 3 hours with Alexis. He explained to me that finally they went to their knees in prayer for wisdom and need of teachers next week. As they were praying, my message arrived to Alexis’s phone about this teacher possibility. Darron expressed that all of them, that were in that room praying, looked at each other with wet eyes, as the timing and the message unfolded.
As Darron and I compared stories our eyes became wet again with understanding. Oh, to be used by God and to see just a glimpse of His masterful plan. If only we could always see the purpose of our suffering, frustrations, and bumps in our journeys. Scripture promises that He makes all things work together for good. May this story give you hope that your frustrations are not in vain, and that heaven may even have wet eyes for you today.