07 April, 2010

Thank You Lord For Working In Spite of Me!

I am attending a Chaplain's Training Seminar in Clinton, Illinois this week. Tonight, I was really tired and honestly was not feeling like going out to eat, but I kept feeling like I should. I drove around town looking for something that sounded good, but nothing really struck me as something I wanted. I turned around after driving all the way through town and as I hit the middle of town, I saw one restaurant and I felt a tugging in my heart that this was where I should go. So, I went in and stood there for several minutes before it seemed like anyone even noticed me. The young lady who seated me seemed to be very uninterested in the fact that I was there. She barely spoke to me, led me to a table and set a menu down and walked away without a word. I'm thinking, "real friendly people in this town." A couple of minutes later the same woman comes out and asks me if I am ready to order. She is still pretty distracted and I could tell she was not really listening to me. When I finished ordering, she started to walk away and I said, "Excuse me, would you mind repeating that back to me?" She was obviously ticked at my request and rattled it back with a sharp tone of aggitation in her voice. I told her that she did not quite have it right, and she snapped, "Well that's exactly what you said!" Now if you know me... I'm in slow burn mode right about this point. I said, "Hon, that's not what I said, now let's try this again", and I repeated my order. She spins around and starts to walk away, and I said, "Excuse me... would you please read that back?" Fire is shooting from her eyes and she had the look of murder on her face. I said, "Maam, I am sorry, but I've had a long day too, and I just want to get my meal right. Would you please?" She reads it back, slowly and loudly... and believe it or not, it was still not correct! I could only laugh, and corrected her again. Surprisingly, I'm really sounding pretty patient as I talked to her, even though inside I was wanting to just leave. After she left I'm sitting at my table (no water) waiting on my meal and I'm thinking, "I really missed God on this one!"

I was surprised that my food arrived very quickly, but it was slid onto the table almost in front of me, without a word being spoken. I asked her for my water and if looks could kill, I'm six feet under. While she was getting my water, I looked and sure enough, the order was not as I ordered. I decided not to say anything... but she asked... and I told her, but said I'd just eat it as it was. She said, "you're not from around here, are you?" I just shook my head to say no, and she walked away muttering under her breath. I never saw her again while I ate.

After my meal, I waited for my bill. Then I waited some more.... and then some more. Nearly 15 minutes after I'm finished another employee came over and asked if there was anything wrong. I started to let it rip, but the Holy Spirit grabbed my tongue and would not let me say what I wanted to say. I just said, "I'm just waiting for my check." A couple of minutes later, my waitress emerges from the back and tosses my check on the table without a word and walks away. I thought... "no tip for you!" I started to get up to leave and the Holy Spirit told me to leave the woman a $20 tip. I sat back down and said to God, "you are not even funny Lord! This woman has been aweful and my entire meal was only $11 and you want me to give her $20? Not happening!" Seriously, I told God that! I again felt the Lord impressing me to give her a $20 tip. I literally said, out loud... "OK, but I'm NOT happy about it!" I paid and was on my way out the door when I felt a pull on my shirt sleeve and I turned around and there stood this woman, and she tried to give me the tip back and said, "You can't do this. I don't diserve it and you know it."
Ding, ding, ding.... this was a Holy Ghost set up if I ever saw it!

I said, "No Sally (not her real name), you don't diserve it. But God said to give it to you, so I did." She stood there for about 20 seconds, literally with her jaw dropped while still holding her arm out to me with the $20 in her hand. "What did you say?" she said. Again, I told her God told me to give it to her. She told me that she did not understand. So I told her the whole story, how that the Lord had told me to go there, even though I did not want to, and that he had told me to give her that tip, even though she did not deserve it. She teared up and said, "Mister, thank you for showing me Jesus." Truthfully, I felt about 3 inches tall, because I knew my attitude had shown a bit during the placing of my order. Then she told me that just before coming into work she had a flat tire and it had cost her $20, the last bit of money she had. She went on to say that she had recently gone back to church and given her life to Christ. She said that her boyfriend had left her when she got saved and she was struggling to pay bills; and that people around her had been telling her to "trust Jesus" to provide for her needs. She said that after she paid that last $20 to the tire shop, she had gotten back in her car and muttered, "so Jesus, how about giving me my $20 back? Do this and I will trust you from now on." She was late getting to work because of the flat tire and her boss chewed her out. Right after that, I walked in... and her anger was taken out on me. She again tried to hand me the money... and I said, "Sally, God said give it to you. I did. Be blessed in Jesus Name." She hugged me and kissed me on the cheek and turned and walked back into work.

I'm amazed. God just amazes me, again and again and again. He can work through my frailties... and that just amazes me. I'm so glad that God does not give any of us what we deserve. "Sally" did not really deserve it. I did not deserve the honor of being used by the Lord. But God did a work in both of us tonight.