In the mid 2000s, I taught salsa lessons for a woman who ran a number of dance classes with several teachers under her. She experienced a terrible accident resulting in broken bones and couldn’t teach her own classes, nor collect enrollments and payments. She asked me to help her with collecting the money as well as the paperwork of who signed up for which class.
Over the following week, I carried a satchel containing a blue folder in which I would place the paperwork and corresponding money. On Saturday, the last day of collection before her son was coming to pick everything up, I ran out the door with my satchel. I got to the dance studio to add a few more enrollments to the blue folder. I looked in my satchel and the blue folder was not there. “Oh well,” I thought. “I must have left it at home.”
As I was driving home, I thought, “I know exactly where I left that blue folder. It’s on the dining buffet. I left it there to grab it on my way out, and I just overlooked it.”
I got home and immediately went to the buffet. It wasn’t there. I thought, “I know where it is. It’s next to the computer. I was emailing Gloria with the total amount collected and I left it there.” I went to my home office where the computer was. No blue folder.
By this time I was getting concerned. You see, I am a very organized person. I don’t lose things, not keys, not umbrellas, not my contact lenses. This was an experience I was not used to dealing with.
I started to panic. I thought, “It must have fallen out of the satchel in the car.” I looked all over the car, but no blue folder. “Did someone steal it out of my satchel at the dance studio when I wasn’t looking? Where could it be!?!?” My panic started to increase. There was about $1,000 in cash and checks in the folder, plus all the needed paperwork. I could pull out $1,000 from my savings account if I needed to, but I could never replace the paperwork. It would be a mess trying to untangle who paid for what.
The panic thoughts started to get louder. “You’re so stupid! How could you lose that money!” “You’re going to have to pay her back!” “What is she going to think of you? She’s going to fire you after this!” Etc., etc.
I was standing next to the buffet. In my panic I screamed out loud, “No! There’s a perfectly good explanation for where that money is!” I pointed up at the ceiling. “God, I know that YOU know where that money is, and I am NOT going to stop praying to you until you TELL me where that money is!” After that explosion came out of me, I thought, “Wow, that sounded kind of disrespectful to yell at God like that….and HOW am I going to pray all day without stopping?”
My next thought was go to outside and water my plants. I would clear my mind and retrace my steps again while watering my plants. Still in a panic but trying to reject the panic thoughts, I turned on the water and start watering while focusing completely on trying to calm myself down, find some peace, pray, and wait on the Lord to tell me what to do. About a minute later, with my eyes closed, I saw so clearly in my mind’s eye my blue recycle bin in my garage. I thought, “Am I seeing things? Why would that come to my mind? I would never put that folder in the recycle bin! Well, I am not going to give into panic. I am going to finish watering, and then I’ll go look into the recycle bin.”
About 10 minutes later, I turned the water off and calmly walked over the recycle bin, although I was trembling. It was filled to the top with newspapers and I would have pulled it to the curb the following week. I started thumbing through the pile of newspapers inside of it, looking for the blue folder. Thumbing and thumbing. No blue folder.
Feeling defeated, I thought to myself, “Was I just imagining things?” One more time I thumbed through the newspapers, and then I saw a flash of blue! I grabbed that folder and pulled it out. Everything was intact, all the money and paperwork. I started jumping up and down in my garage screaming, “God, you ARE a God who is a very present help in time of trouble!!! (Psalm 46:1) Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!!”
Since I had absolutely no recollection of putting the folder into the recycle bin, the only thing I could figure is that I laid the folder in haste on the counter that was OVER the recycle bin with the intent of transferring the folder to the satchel which was in my car. Evidently, I laid some newspapers on top of the folder at some point and then put the whole thing into the recycle bin.
I believe I was set up! God was testing me. He was testing my ability to trust Him to help me. It is certainly biblical to CRY OUT to God (Psalm 77:1). It’s also biblical to pester God with your prayer until you get an answer (Luke 18:1), although I didn’t have to do that in this case – He showed me in less than a minute. I think it pleased Him that I refused to give into panic, but chose to trust Him instead. I learned a valuable lesson about crying out to Him and praying until you get your answer!