We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about the troubles we experienced in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt we had received the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us again. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us, as you help us by your prayers. Then many will give thanks on our behalf for the gracious favor granted us in answer to the prayers of many.
– 1 Corinthians 1:8-11
Okay, my foray back into the working world was not as bad as what Paul is talking about here, but I was getting ill. I think the chest pains were gastric problems, but I will follow up on that. I accepted a temporary job, to be complete by the end of this month. It was something that I had done before. In fact, it was something that I had done for that specific customer in the past. All I had to do was get my old files off the company’s server, and then 2-3 days to update the files. I knew there was a trick to retrieving files when I did a small job for them in 2016, but no one would listen. I called. I e-mailed. Everyone misinterpreted my requests and sent me somewhere else.
Then I was stopped by the new engineering manager, who reminded me that there are five construction contracts being held up for final payment (a lot more money than what the training was worth) because the workers have not been trained. All of the projects are in India. The furnaces that were constructed have been working for a few years, making money for the customers, but they have failed to pay the million dollar (or so) final payment. Each had purchased training for the managers to come to the US. Then, they made excuses about being busy. Now, they cannot get visas. The work isn’t finished, so the company doesn’t get paid, a lot of money over a tiny technicality. He begged me to get my passport renewed and spend a few months in India. I smiled. He begged me for a copy of the textbooks. Maybe if they had the textbooks, the company might get paid.
At that moment, my wife called on my cellphone. I begged his indulgence to answer the phone. I told her I was leaving, empty-handed, within fifteen minutes. What I did not know was that my wife started crying and praying when she hung up the phone. I did not have the files that I needed to complete the work. Since the customer wanted a completed project in less than three weeks (two weeks by this point), the textbook had to be sent to the printers by next Monday, but no one knew where the files were, and they were satisfied to shrug it off. It was my project. It was a turnkey job. The fact that they never gave me the key did not seem to matter.
An old friend, who was in a different division of IT, came by. He explained what had been going on in 2016. The server had crashed and the IT guys did not have the time to migrate the files to a new server. He knew that my files were somewhere, just no idea where. The point was – they could be found. I knew that the files were under some code name, nothing in English, but my old friend suggested that things were made a little easier to find after they were migrated.
That news gave me reassurance that I might find the files. I was ready to leave, and the stress level was so much less, I felt better physically.
But then while we were talking, another friend, who I had helped in saving a big project right before I was laid off, ushered me into his office. I was thinking, I am going to be late getting lunch and bringing it home to my wife. But this friend dug into the servers and found the missing server and even confirmed that my files were there. I figured out what I needed to do, and I had a printed path to get there. This was even better. I could bring a jump drive on Thursday, when the weather would again be okay.
By this time, the engineering manager had looked for the files of the India projects. At first, no one was willing to help, but when they had more reason, and a lot more money hanging on finding the files, I had more help than I could shake a stick at.
The day before, no one knew anything and all of the bosses were in meetings and were not to be disturbed. Yet, at the point when my wife went down on her knees, the engineering manager was visiting the company’s executive assistant when an IT guy was just then walking by. Some had a little information. Some needed information that I had. And when my other friend stepped into the conversation, I had someone who felt a need to help. The files were not that hard to find, but it took more than one search. God works wonders in little things by having the pieces of motivation, capabilities, and knowledge all bump into each other at the same time. Add those God-Made Coincidences (a GMC) bump into a heartfelt prayer? Then you get answers.
I was 30 minutes late getting home with lunch, but I had a jump drive with some of the files. I could get the rest on Thursday. I was relaxed for the first time in over a week. I was praising God, but nothing like the praise when the back door opened.
My wife opened the door since I had my hands full of take-out. I announced that the files were found.
My wife replied, “I know. I prayed. God answered. I was afraid that this problem with your old company not listening to your request would lead to you having a heart attack. I cried, and brought my petition before the Lord, and just at the moment that I did that, my prayer was answered. We had been worried, but we were either not praying enough or we were praying for the wrong thing. We weren’t looking to God in this.” I knew that for a while, I had gone to an angry place. I had felt alone, out of touch with the Holy Spirit. I repented, because I knew that was not the correct response. I also had to agree with my wife that we weren’t handling these frustrations in the proper manner.
What I think happened, especially when her prayer and God’s answer happened simultaneously, God was waiting for us to know that this was an answer to prayer. It was unmistakable to us. The answer came with ample time to get the work done with no further frustrations.
Praise the Lord, indeed.
I have used this expression from Jerry Clower before. “Ain’t God good!”