Grace in a $100 Bill
It may seem strange for me to equate grace with money. You
may find it a little bit irreverent but let me tell you a story of
something that happened to me in 2008.
The Great Recession had just swept through the United States,
and very few people were untouched by its insatiable and
greedy presence. My real estate and hard money businesses had
been eaten alive. After letting go over 80 percent of my
workforce, closing the office, and moving everything to the
basement of a house I could no longer afford, it was difficult
to see God’s grace.
Jaclyn and I had three small children, all under the age of three,
our accounts were wiped out, all my properties, which had
been leveraged to the hilt, were in foreclosure, and the loans I
had made to other investors were in default. I had painted
myself into a corner and felt the room closing in on me.
It was then that God urged us to move to Spokane. We would
be closer to my family and surrounded by like-minded
Christian churches and communities who could offer the faith
we so desperately needed at the time.
After we decided, I drove up on a reconnaissance mission to
scope out houses and lay of the land. I remember wondering
if we were trading one state of want for another. My constant
prayer at the time was, “Lord, lead me out of this. Allow me to
provide for my wife and children.”
On my way home, I stayed in a seedy motel just off the
interstate. I had only $100 left in my wallet. It was a haphazard
safety net, but at least it was something. As I walked down the
hall toward the exit, I passed a small, young Hispanic maid. We
barely looked at each other. I was too preoccupied with my
own troubles to notice anyone else, and she was used to not
making eye contact with the guests.
As I made my way to the exit, a voice permeated my thoughts
and said, “Give her that $100 bill.” It was crystal clear, and so
out of the context of what I was thinking that it stopped me in
my tracks. I questioned the voice, my sanity, and especially the
sentiment. “My last $100? What if I need it? What if the car
breaks down? What if I get hungry?” As I wrestled with the
voice, it became louder and more persistent. So, I took the
money from my wallet, turned around, and ran after the
woman. When I caught up to her, I stuffed the money into her
bewildered hand, mumbled “God bless,” and turned around
and hurried toward the exit. I didn’t wait for a response, nor
do I know if it was beneficial to her.
In the car, I felt an overwhelming grace and peace that had
been absent for the last few months.
Frederick Buechner, an American writer and preacher said,
thick of our day-by-day lives who may not be writing messages
about himself in the stars but in one way or another is trying
to get messages through our blindness as we move around
down here knee-deep in the fragrant muck and misery and
marvel of the world. It is not objective proof of God’s
existence that we want, but the experience of God’s presence.”
I can say that through God’s gesture of grace—reaching into
my wallet and giving away my last $100 bill—was the message
for which I had been searching. I probably needed to give that
$100 away more than the woman needed it. In that instance,
God allowed me to see beyond my own needs and wants, and
that was grace indeed. An everyday miracle.
I ask that you also ask for God’s gift of grace so you too can
delight in its often surprising sources.
IF THE AX IS DULL AND ITS EDGE UNSHARPENED, MORE
STRENGTH IS NEEDED BUT SKILL WILL BRING SUCCESS.