Thursday, March 22, 2012

Spinning Prayers


The days grew longer and longer as Thomas struggled to balance the ever rising stack of meter-marked envelopes and his bank accounts.  He prayed every day and yet his prayers felt as though they hit the ceiling fan, twirled around a few times only to come flying back at him.  The part time hours simply weren't enough.  "God, I don't know what to do.  Why can't I just find a full time job somewhere?"  He paused for a moment.  Nothing.
Thomas stared at the fan, waiting for his spinning prayer.
               r r r ring.........r r r ring
The phone startled him and he almost fell out of his rolling desk chair.
     "Hello.  May I please speak to Thomas?" a girl's voice requested with a hint of uncertainty. 
     “This is he.”  Thomas was a bit annoyed at someone interrupting his fretful pondering.  He wanted to blow this girl off and hang up the phone as quickly as possible!
     “Hello Thomas.  This is Gwen, from H.R.  Vanessa called in sick today.  Would you be willing to come in and cover for her?”
Thomas had to pause a moment.  Working for Vanessa meant being dock coordinator and that was stressful and exhausting work, even for ‘O.C.D.’ Vanessa.  It also meant a ten hour shift and a two dollar, third shift differential.  “I hate working thirds”, Thomas thought. 

     “Um… Can you hold on a second?”  Thomas said.

Thomas held the phone with his hand over the receiver.  He contemplated the exchange of his quiet night of nothingness for a potentially chaotic, painful, endless one.  Just as he was about to turn it down, he started to feel his stomach flutter.  He remembered his spinning prayer that was tossed up not five minutes ago and wondered, “God, is this your answer?”

See, Thomas expected a “miracle” to fall out of his ceiling fan.  Maybe he could win the lottery.  But, then again, you have to “play to win” and when bills are stacked, it never seemed wise to waste money on a ticket.  Maybe he would inherit some money.  But, there again, there has to be someone with money for there to be an inheritance.  What about a sweepstakes?  Nah.  He never buys the magazines.  And besides, those are usually scams.

Then Thomas remembered what he had read in Bible study.  “Whatsoever things are true… think on these things.”  (Philippians 4:8  NIV)  True… Real… Factual.  These are the things God wants us to ponder and contemplate.  Not the improbable or unlikely.

“Of course!  Why, when I ask for money, would God give me money that would disappear as quickly as it was received?” Thomas realized!

Proverbs 13:11 says “Dishonest money dwindles away, but he who gathers money little by little makes it grow.” (NIV)
Thomas prayed silently for a moment, thanking God for the wisdom to see the opportunity and for the provision of an answered prayer.

“Yes, Gwen.  I’ll be there in an hour.” Thomas said calmly.
“Great.  We’ll see you then.” Gwen replied with a sound of relief.


(‘Knock-knock’ on an opened office door.)
“Hey Gwen.  You wanted to see me?”

Thomas peeked into the H.R. office to see Gwen sitting at the conference table in front of her desk.  It was an oval table that sat about 6 people.  They usually held interviews and reviews there… as well as layoffs.
Gwen sat next to the window and to her right was Herb Peters, the suit-and-tied, General Manager of the local logistics branches.  On his right was the third shift shipping supervisor, Allen Jenkins.  He spoke first.

“Come in, Thomas, and have a seat.”

Thomas gently closed the door and took a deep breath to steady his nerves.  He walked straight and tall to the empty chair, obviously left out for him to sit in, and he slowly lowered himself onto the seat. 

“Do you know why we’ve called you in today?” Mr. Jenkins inquired.
“No sir.” Thomas replied.
“Well Thomas, we’ve been watching you over the past few months.  How you work; how you handle pressure; and especially how well you play on the team.” Mr. Jenkins said matter-of-factly.

Gwen chimed in behind Mr. Jenkins.  “Not many people wanted to fill in for Vanessa while she was on sick leave for the month of February.  It is a tough job to do as well as being on third shift, but every time I called, you said ‘yes’.”

Mr. James cut back in, adding “And did a great job as well!”

Thomas was relieved to hear this.  He remembered his tug-O-war the night they called him in.  Then he glanced at the ceiling.  As Mr. Jenkins flipped through a file, Thomas saw the fan above the table as it rotated slowly.  “Ok, God.  Whatever happens next is all up to you.  I took what you gave me, despite the inconvenience and discomfort, and paid off the bills and even saved some for an emergency fund.  You took care of me then and I’m trusting you now.” He threw the silent prayer up almost expecting to see something catch the fan blade and start spinning round and round.

“Well, Thomas, there is an opening on first shift as ‘back-nine’ dock manager.  You would supervise bays 27 – 36.  That position would give you a pay increase, full time with benfits…”
Thomas smiled as his spinning prayer returned with an answer!

Proverbs 15:29b  (NIV)
“…but He hears the prayers of the righteous.”

James 5:16b  (NIV)
“The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.