Today I took High Tea. Well, as “high” as tea is likely to be enjoyed in my rural town in Central California. =) It was a benefit event for a wonderful cause and I purchased tickets for my daughter and myself, partly because it sounded like a fun experience, but mostly because I wanted to lend my support to the dream of an interactive children’s museum right here in our little town. God tends to get my attention in all sorts of ways and I had an experience today that made me think…..
As we arrived at the entry of the grand, historic Civic Auditorium, we were kindly greeted at a receiving table where I turned in our tickets and we were shown a map of the seating arrangements. We were assigned to “The Hungry Little Caterpillar” table (all the tables had children’s books themes….so cute!) and we set out to weave through the crowded hall to find our table. But before we had gone more than a few feet we were stopped and invited to purchase raffle tickets for an array of prizes donated for the special event. Raffle? Prizes? I’m in!
After several instructions – leave this ticket here….keep this stub….tear these apart….these are for the gift bags – and a rundown of the fabulous prizes, I was informed the price of the sheet of tickets was $20.00 and the two of us decided to have some fun and split a sheet. When I opened my wallet I realized I only had a $100 bill, not that I EVER carry that kind of money, but I had just made a return to Lowes, and they give refunds in cash. (Good to know!)
When I asked the enthusiastic ticket seller if she could take the bill, she said she had just turned in her cash and didn’t have any change, but to go back to the first table, where we turned in our tickets and got our seating assignments and get change there. Back we went (the whole 10 feet) but that nice woman in a fancy tea hat seemed perplexed as to why anyone would send us to her for change….she was just taking tickets and giving seating assignments, but she pointed out another ticket seller in red who could help me. Feeling a little self-conscious now, (and hoping we still had seats at our table) we sought out the lady in red and asked if she could sell us one sheet of tickets, explaining that I would need change. She apologetically explained she had just turned in her wad of cash and was only taking $20 bills, but I could write a check, or try back a little later when she was sure to have more cash…..
As the three of us (my daughter, I, and Ben Franklin) made our way to the caterpillar table, I knew there was a message in all that somewhere…. but first, it was tea time! We enjoyed scones with lemon curd and clotted cream, tiny sandwiches and tea from Hanford’s own L.T. Sue Company. And I did eventually find the nice woman in red who had acquired enough dough to make change and said goodbye to Ben and hello to 25 chances to win a prize (which, alas, we did not, but it was fun anyway, and again….for an excellent cause.)
This evening, as I sit here, reflecting on the day and wondering what about the whole ticket/change thing would have even seemed notable, it occurs to me that today someone asked me for something, but when I tried to give it, there were a series of barriers. I was willing…I was prepared to give exactly what had been asked – but in a way that hadn’t been anticipated.
Well that’s it, then…..
How many times have I asked God to answer a prayer – meet a need – fulfill a desire only to be thrown off guard, even disappointed in the way He chooses to meet the need? How many things have I missed, waiting for something else to come? Can I trust….truly trust that God knows my needs and is able to come through with the right answer at the right time? These are hard, hard questions. But this I know…..they don’t scare God one tiny bit. He doesn’t shrink from the hard stuff. Far from it, I think God does His best work in our worst times….if we are open to receiving it – not as we have carefully planned, or as we demand, but as God knows we need.
So many of my prayers have definitely not been answered as I expected, or as I wanted. To be truthful, this is a very tender corner of my faith right now, but I’m glad that God reminded me today that, just because life may not unfold in the way I expect, He is still surrounding me with His presence, keeping me close until I can get a clearer view of things. How grateful I am for that!
So….I guess I won something today after all. =)
“Praise be to God, who has not rejected my prayer or withheld his love from me!”