A few of her thoughts in particular penetrated to the very depths of my thinking. So much so that I brought her post back up when my husband and I arrived at the hotel that night to share these exact words with him.
(referring to the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5)
"Poor? Mourning? Persecution? Being insulted? Lied about? None of this should be unexpected in Kingdom work. In fact, if we’re not putting ourselves in positions of some sort of danger to our possessions, jobs, time management, pride, etc., perhaps we should question whether we’re really doing Kingdom work to begin with. After all, if we’re not stretched beyond ourselves, do we really need God?" --Robin Jewett
Little did I know how God was going to use her story in my own life during the next 24 hours.
We had brought a large golf umbrella with us on this trip as we would be walking from our hotel in the heart of downtown Portland to the conference center. We knew about the weather Portland, Oregon tends to offer their inhabitants - residents and guests alike.
When arriving, we unloaded the car and I stood with our belongings while my husband went and parked our car. We carried everything up to our room and settled in for the night. We did not realize until the next morning, when it was raining, that we had left the umbrella down in the lobby neatly tucked into the corner when we carried everything else up to our room.
We went down with hopes of it perhaps still being there. But... it was gone. We checked at the front desk. Nope. Gone.
I have to admit that I was beginning to lean towards being a little upset. It was
What would my response be?
Almost in that same moment Robin's story of her coat came to mind. My husband and I began to consider the situation.
Obviously someone else must have needed it more. Here we were at an event all about pouring oneself out and giving to others while being tempted to be upset because someone took... our umbrella.
Our perspective and attitude changed. We walked briskly through the pouring rain to and from events. Yes, we were cold and wet, but we did dry every time.
After numerous walks in the rain, and well into the next day would you believe it?...
WE SAW OUR UMBRELLA! We know for a fact it was ours because ours had distinct staining on it and this one matched perfectly!
We looked at each other in disbelief. And then we looked at who was carrying it. A very elderly gentlemen walking ever so slowly... in the pouring rain... covered by OUR UMBRELLA.
We kept walking and once again looked at each other again. Not so much in disbelief but instead with grins covering our faces. We had already found peace in the situation the day before in settling in our own hearts that perhaps someone needed it worse than us.
And it appears that was indeed the case.
And so, we returned home without our very large umbrella. But even more importantly, we returned home with a profound lesson applied to our hearts.
It wasn't really ours to keep or to give, but rather God's to do with as He saw fit. Yes, even something as basic as an umbrella.
And isn't that really the One it all belongs to anyway... really?