Whenever I See Your Smiling Face….

I don’t know why I don’t just block out times in my schedule for “mayhem.” I suppose because I can never forsee mayhem happening…but after 23 years of life you would think that I would come to expect it right before something important is about to happen….such as leaving for Albania. I am scheduled to leave for Albania on Monday, and after this week I think it will be a miracle if I get there. I am confident of one thing, behind all the mayhem God hides a smiling face and this week is a testament of His goodness. Here’s how it’s gone.

Last Thursday night my car began making a very strange noise, kind of like the engine was going to fall out. With the whole surprising my dad with a dog thing, I didn’t have a chance to take my car into the shop until Monday– the day I was scheduled to drive down to Santa Clarita. So Monday morning I went to take my car into the shop. I couldn’t find my key. So I spent 2 1/2 hours in the morning trying to find this one little key. Finally I called Volkswagon and asked them what I could do if I couldn’t find my key. They informed me that 3 days and $350 later I could have my car towed into the shop and they would have one for me. “No thanks,” I said. So I prayed and prayed and prayed. I know that if my dad knew where that key was he would show me, and I knew God knew where that key was.

While I was tearing through my room, the house, the backyard, the trash-anywhere that my key could have gone-I found the camera charger I thought I had packed in storage! When I couldn’t find it last week that was the only logical conclusion, but low and behold I was not in fact that stupid. So I will be able to take pictures in Albania. That was the first smiling face I saw. Then, after I had given up, my mom said, “Have you checked my car?” Now why would my key be in my mom’s car? But I thought, “Hey- it’s nowhere else, why not?” So I walked outside, opened up the door, and right there on the floor was my key! Praise the Lord, smiling face # 2.

So I took the car into the shop, slightly worried that it wouldn’t be done in time to get to LAX on Monday. I forgot to leave the keys. I didn’t get the message that I forgot until late that night, so they couldn’t start work until Tuesday morning. Monday night I got a mysterious case of the flu. Smiling face # 3. Had my car not gone into the shop Monday morning, I would have been somewhere in the middle of California stuck behind the wheel of my car when I got sick.

The car wasn’t finished until Tuesday night, so I stayed home another day. I got to be a chance of a really cool prayer meeting with a few of our pastors, their wives, and some couples in the church. I will probably write more about that in the future…but I am positive it was perfectly ordained by God that I was there, and He had me there for a reason that shed light to some of the events from this last year. Smiling face # 4. I also got a chance to talk to the head of the missions committee at my home church. She informed me they would take care of the rest of the cost of my trip to Albania. So it’s completely paid for now. Smiling face # 5.

I know that the Lord has a million purposes in every one act and that this world is a complicated web of goodness sovereignly ordained by Him. I know that His purposes go far beyond me and my little world. And this week in my life I started seeing an inkling of God’s purposes within 10 minutes– but sometimes it takes 10 years, and sometimes it takes a lifetime. God is gracious to allow us to see His goodness, to increase our faith by showing us how reliable and trustworthy He is. But He doesn’t have to. And in the end what’s ultimately important isn’t our seeing. Aren’t His ways above ours and His thoughts higher? What’s important is that God’s character is true– which it always is– and that He receives the glory He is due.

Judge not the Lord by feeble sense,
But trust Him for His grace;
Behind a frowning providence
He hides a smiling face.

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