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"Hard is not hopeless." - General David Petraeus

Sunday, October 10, 2010

How God Shows Me He Cares

I just have to share the incredible highs and lows of this weekend. My day job has turned into quite an abusive situation and Friday things really went downhill. Now you can't know me personally but you'll just have to take my word for it when I tell you that while I may often get a little annoyed at something or someone, I am rarely flat-out, full-blown angry. And that's how the work week ended.

I met with my writers group Friday night and came home, my mind churning all the while trying to figure out how to deal with the incredible anger surrounding this very unjust, unprofessional situation that has been boiling over at work. It is about the lowest of low points for me. When I am reduced to the point of wanting to cry, it is very, very severe.

But let me tell you how God has been working this weekend. A clear symbol to me that He cares, and also a very clear injection of His sense of humor.

After writer's group Friday night, I didn't get home until shortly after 10:00 p.m. I was emotionally drained, physically exhausted and dreading the weekend, where I knew I was going to stew and fume over the work thing. The message light on my answering machine was blinking and my first thought was "Oh great. What now?"

It turns out I had an automated voicemail nessage from In Touch, announcing that Dr. Stanley would be in Phoenix doing a book signing on Sunday (today). I can't tell you what that did for my troubled heart--anticipating nothing but a weekend of misery, then to be given a glimmer of hope and assurance that something good would indeed happen this weekend. I needed that. You have no idea how much.

And God's sense of humor came in the next part of the message--Dr. Stanley was here to sign copies of his book "Surviving In An Angry World." That is so consistent with how God has used Dr. Stanley in the roughly 22 years I've been watching him on television. The reason Dr. Stanley means so much to me is because God uses him to get across just the message I need at just the right time, and there has never been anyone better at teaching God's word in a practical way than Dr. Stanley. God has gifted him tremendously in this way.

So I knew I couldn't miss this book signing. I went about an hour and a half early because I knew the line would be long and I was right. Fortunately, the first 15-20 of us who got there had chairs to sit in and wait. The rest had to stand for a very long time. They had this book signing organized to a T. Get 'em in, get 'em out. Bless him, Dr. Stanley is going to be so tired when this book tour is done!

The whole time I sat there waiting for it to start, I had to fight back tears. There's no way I could describe what he has meant in my life or in the lives of other people I know. And the thought of finally getting to meet him in person, to finally, FINALLY have an opportunity to say the very insufficient words "Thank you" just overpowered my heart. I prayed that God would keep me from bawling like a baby because I could already feel it coming.

I only had a few seconds whle he signed my book, but I said something like "Dr. Stanley, I wish there was a better word than thank you to express my gratitude for how God has used you to work in my life." or words to that effect. He thanked me and shook my hand and that was it. And while I was on the verge of tears, thankfully I managed not to cry.

I have never met him before today but Dr. Stanley has the gentlest spirit, the most humble manner of anyone I've ever met. If I yield myself to God even a third of what Dr Stanley has done, then boy what a difference I will be able to make in life.

I don't know how many people total showed up for the book signing. This was at Borders in Phoenix, and the signing was on the upper level. When I had my books signed and left, the line stretched all the way across the upper level of the store. When I came back at 1:30, about a half hour before the signing was to end, the lines still stretched far back into the store though not all the way.

Zowie. I'm so grateful to have been given the chance to say thanks. All my troubles seem pale in comparison to that.

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