God always answers my prayers but rarely in the way I expect or intend when asking. My lost wallet is a great example. Mind you, I never did ask for any help with that wallet. I just went on with my life and figured it would find its way home or not. But first, before I can continue with this story, I will have to direct you to the previous post about the wallet, or the follow-on details will make no sense. So, have a look here (The Grace of a Lost Wallet), then continue below.
Now, while I did not pray about that lost wallet, I did pray about something else. Earlier in the day, I had taken a Super Shuttle ride from Dulles Airport to my Washington office in Arlington, Virginia. The driver was a friendly guy, and when he found out that I did not have a ticket and the shuttle was going to leave in a few minutes, he personally walked me through the convoluted path to the ticket counter and back. Nice guy. Arab, I believe. It took nearly an hour to reach my office in the DC rush hour traffic, during which I added to the five hours of sleep I had just gathered on the red-eye from California, dozing during most of the trip in to town. I had no luggage, and I was the first person off the shuttle. So, I hopped off, with a thank you to the driver, who graciously wished me a good day.
As I entered the building, it slowly dawned on me that Super Shuttle is a taxi and not a company-supplied van, which I usually take but could not this time because the trip came at such short notice, given my early hour of arrival. I should have tipped the driver. I headed back out the door, just as the driver re-started the van and pulled out of the driveway. Feeling a bit stingy over the matter, I asked God to take care of the driver that day and see to it that he got good tips. I felt confident that as a result of that prayer the driver would indeed have a good-tip day.
The rest of the day was filled with successful meetings, at the end of which I grabbed a hotel taxi back to the hotel since our company van was occupied with taking the CEO to Regan National Airport to catch a flight to another of our locations. I returned to Dulles, where I discovered the loss of my wallet. Fortunately, I do not keep my credit cards in my wallet, and so I had my company card to pay the cab driver -- and, this time, to include a tip. The rest of the wallet story is in my previous post.
I arrived home early Friday morning from my redeye and went in to work. I had sent an enote to someone in the Washington office to check in the conference room for my wallet, which is the only place I remembered having opened my purse. Waiting for me was her reply: she had looked everywhere but had seen no wallet. So, all those other options as to who might find it and what s/he might do remained open.
I did not have to wait long. During a morning meeting, my phone rang. I glanced at the number: an unknown 240 number. So, I let voice mail take the call. After the meeting, I called voice mail. There was a man, who called himself Amr, speaking with a distinctively Arabic accent, saying that I had dropped my wallet in the Super Shuttle van. He had been the driver (whom I had not tipped). He wanted to return the wallet to me and asked for me to return his call.
I was about to return Amr's call when the phone rang again. This time it was Amr's supervisor, who was a native speaker of English. He had given the wallet to her and asked her to call because he thought perhaps I was not able to understand Arabic-accented English. (Little did he know how much time I have spent with people who speak Arabic-accented English!) The supervisor told me that my checkbook was in there (had forgotten about that), along with the business cards that had my coordinates so that they knew whom to call, stamps, and $56 in cash. Yep, that is exactly as it should have been. She offered to fedex the wallet to me. I told her to use some of the cash in the wallet for fedex and give the remainder of the money to Amr. She was surprised and said that Amr did not expect that but would obviously be pleased.
So, God did answer my prayer. Amr did have a good-tip day. As with so many of my answered prayers, I could not have predicted the outcome that I, the one who had not tipped him, would ultimately be the one to provide the good-tip day for Amr. Moreover, it was not even an expenditure for me because my per diem would be double that. I had taken about half of my per diem from an ATM just to have some money for meals. However, because I was all day with the CEO, my office provided all the meals, and I am allowed to keep the per diem. So, Amr made nearly $50 on a tip, and I made nearly $50 on per diem post-tip. Win-win. I could never have planned that, let alone even thought of an outcome of this nature. I have reached the conclusion that I don't ever want God to answer my prayers in the way I anticipate because His ways are always so much better than I can dream up!
I just love watching the many ways, so often unusual, in which God sprinkles His grace onto all of His children! Amazing!