The clerk at the checkout stand smiled broadly, her voice a bit too cheerful: “That will be $145.39!”
I forced myself to smile back. After all, it wasn’t her fault that my grocery bill seemed to go up every week, no matter how much skimping I did! I reached in my pocket for my MasterCard. Such a bill hurts less when you use plastic!
Then my forced smile froze. My credit card wasn’t in my pocket! In desperation I reached for a different pocket. Empty. Frantic now, I began slapping my coat, my pants, my shirt . . . I could feel the eyes of the sales clerk on me and I stretched my frozen smile a little wider: “I—I can’t seem to find my credit card!”
A look of genuine concern came over her as she stared at the mountain of groceries. “Maybe you left it in the car,” she suggested. “You may leave your order here if you would like to go out and take a look!”
I followed her gaze to the pile of food waiting to be bagged, then I nodded. What choice did I have?
I already knew the card wasn’t in my van. I distinctly remembered putting it in my pocket before entering the store. But I searched the vehicle anyway, and when I found the piece of paper and pencil my 11 year-old had given me when I dropped him off at his piano lessons, I immediately knew what had happened to my card . . .
His current math lessons focused on comparative shopping, and he had asked me to write down some products for him to compare. Naturally, I had forgotten all about it until I had nearly finished, and when I remembered, I hadn’t run back to the car for the paper and pencil. Instead, I had searched my pockets until I found a pen—in the same pocket as my MasterCard! The card must have fallen out when I retrieved the pen! The sick feeling that had risen in the pit of my stomach at the checkout stand intensified. I had lost my credit card in one of the aisles of the store!
In desperation, I began retracing my steps, but each vacant aisle further heightened my panic. I just knew that someone dishonest had picked up my credit card! But even more urgent at the moment was the question of how I would pay for those groceries!
All this time, the last line of a song was repeating itself in my mind: Here in the power of Christ I stand! This same song had been going around and around in my head throughout the entire store. It had nearly driven me crazy, but now I realized that God must have been preparing me for some kind of a trial, preparing me to stand firm on His promises, despite the circumstances.
But how could I stand in His power? I mean, this was my MasterCard! It was my family who needed those groceries that I now couldn’t pay for!
Nevertheless, God was persistent: “Here in the power of Christ I stand!”
I gave in. Right there in the middle of the store. I gave him my MasterCard. I gave Him all the consequences of it being lost. I gave Him the problem of how to pay for my groceries if the card wasn’t found. I even gave Him the potential nightmare of what could happen if the card fell into the wrong hands. I was immediately filled with peace and clarity of thought. I knew what I had to do. I had to go back to the checkout stand and tell the clerk that I had lost my card.
A “closed” sign was now poised on the conveyor belt and the poor clerk’s smile had become strained as she and another clerk rifled through my mountain of purchases. Not surprisingly, she was genuinely glad to see me! When I admitted that my MasterCard was gone, the second clerk went to the office to check if someone had found it. When she returned, my card was in her hand. It had just been turned in.
I was starting to breathe a prayer of thanksgiving when she said, “Ma’am, I’m afraid it’s been canceled.”
“Ca—canceled?” I stammered. “What—what do you mean, cancelled?”
“It’s store policy, Ma’am,” she explained. “We always call in lost credit cards.”
I bit my lower lip. Were the circumstances different, I would heartily approve of this policy.
“Let’s try it anyway,” she suggested. “Maybe it hasn’t gone through yet!”
But sure enough, the interaction was not approved. Now what??? I couldn’t believe that God would have returned my MasterCard only for me to not be able to use it to pay for my groceries. You handle this one, too! I breathed.
“Let me call the office and see if we can do anything,” suggested the clerk.
In a few moments, I was speaking to the credit card company on the office phone. They released the hold on my card, and I was able to pay for my groceries. Another answered prayer.
But all of this took time. When I glanced at my watch, it was already time for me to pick up my kids from their piano lessons. Just as I was tempted to worry, however, the line of the song re-echoed through my mind: Here in the power of Christ I stand!
Though I arrived at the piano teacher’s house 10 minutes late, she was just finishing up my son’s lesson!
Here in the power of Christ I stand!
Lyn Chaffart Answers2Prayer Ministries, www.Answers2Prayer.org
A part-time Speech Pathologist, Lyn is also a homeschooling mom who writes devotionals and short stories on the side. She serves as the director of mini-sermons for Answers2Prayer Ministries ( www.Answers2Prayer.org ) and is webmaster for Scriptural Nuggets (www.sermonillustrator.org/minisermons/). Besides writing for Answers2Prayer, Lyn has also written devotionals and stories for Eternal Link, write2theheart, the Sand Dollar, Gospelines, Moments of Reflection, and 2theHeart.