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Tracking God

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Over a year into the Coronavirus pandemic, we have all adjusted and adapted, not just to survive, but to make it to the end of the tunnel and greet what comes next.

Vaccine availability surely is a great relief and a reminder that hope is with us and will be realized, bringing us back to in-person living. Isn’t it incredible to consider that we may be able to worship with each other again?

Meanwhile, we have a better handle on the things that have brought us this far: social distancing; mask wearing; Zoom meetings; online ordering of almost anything you could need. I’ve personally honed my already significant online ordering skills, and have been blessed to receive things on time or earlier than anticipated.

My best online ordering story is my bed-in-a-box that I purchased at 6 pm on a Tuesday night, expecting to see it in about three weeks. But it was waiting for me at my front door that Thursday at 10 am, less than forty-eight hours later. Impressive.

And while I don’t expect the bed delivery speed to be repeated, I was taken aback by a recent delay in sending my stimulus check to my bank in another state. The normal turnaround time is three or four days, sometimes longer if I mail letters later in the week. But, as you probably do too, I pay for the tracking feature so at least I know where it is. Well, I could see it sitting at the regional distribution center well past the time it was supposed to be there.

Rather than stew about the situation, I got to work figuring out a way forward that would lead to a solution. That took researching the next step online, talking with the closest post office three times, and eventually being directed to filing a claim. That route also included talking with the IRS, finding out what their procedures were for replacing checks in these situations.

Making peace with the trajectory of the combined process and letting it go until I could take those steps was much easier than being frustrated, aggravated, stressed out or just plain angry.

Two days later, the tracking picked back up and the check was delivered and deposited two weeks after I had sent it. That felt miraculous all on its own.

But more so, the people who brought that package from my hands to my bank account are the everyday miracles we like to talk about in the church, and sometimes outside in the rest of the world.

The postal worker at my local branch and I have known each other for years. On the day I walked in to post my package, she greeted me with joy, asking me how I was doing. After completing my transaction, she automatically wrote the tracking number on the back of the receipt because she knows I won’t be able to read the tiny printed numbers.

The three calls to the post office that would be receiving my package were shared with three other postal workers who listened, offered their best advice and support, saying while things didn’t get lost often, they would alert the distribution center to keep an eye out for my item. What I didn’t know, until one of these folks called me back the evening it was delivered, was that they had been checking every day to see if it was progressing through the system.

Meanwhile, in speaking with the IRS after a relatively short hold time, I received the agent’s undivided, kind attention in answering my questions. If the postal service hadn’t found the check, the IRS would be able to put a trace on it and replace it if need be. As he pointed out, while it sometimes takes them a little while to do something, they usually get it right. That has been my experience in the few times I’ve needed to call them.

All of this is to say that God gives all of us, you and me, a whole lot of resources with which to work whenever we need them. And at the same time, God is working on our behalf as well.

My understanding, born of personal experience and of observing other people, is that we let our reactions against what is happening get in the way of working through the problem to the solution we are best hoping for. We also, as human beings in general, and as people living through a pandemic, can become very short sighted in our weariness, forgetting that some things just take time, effort, patience and faith to work themselves out.

God is always with us and never against us. No matter what.

About the Author

Photo of The Rev. Cory L. Kemp.

Photo courtesy of The Rev. Cory L. Kemp.

The Rev. Cory L. Kemp is founder and faith mentor with Broad Plains Faith Coaching. Cory, employing her signature Handcrafted Faith program, supports ordained and lay women leaders in visualizing, understanding and strengthening their beliefs, so that they may know, love and serve God and their communities with generosity, wisdom, and joy.

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