by Kathy Howard @KathyHHoward
The lights went out. And when the lights go out in the country, it’s really dark. I had gotten into my pajamas, washed my face, and brushed my teeth, but I wasn’t quite ready to crawl into bed just yet.
I had only been back in my room at the Christian camp about ten minutes. It was the second night of a weekend ladies retreat where I was speaking to a church group about God’s extraordinary grace. That night I shared how we are to be grace-givers. God wants us to be channels of His grace to others, not merely receptacles. Great truth, but also challenging. Apparently God decided I needed some practice.
I managed to locate my cell phone then used its light to find the number for the front desk. Assuming the whole unit was down, I reported a power outage for the K Building. Instead, the desk clerk said my key had been turned in. So, as per their policy, they had shut off the power to my room. What??
In moments like these I can picture God sitting on the edge of His throne. The Father turns to the Son and says, “Let’s see if she paid attention to what she told those ladies tonight. This should be good.”
I tried to calmly assure her that I was still in the room – and would remain in the room – all night. She apologized and said they would get the power right back on. I thanked her then waited in the dark.
No power means no lights or air conditioning. It began to get stuffy. After all, it was mid-September in southeast Texas and the humidity was about 125%. I checked the time on my cell phone. Five minutes had passed. I decided I would wait five more and then call again.
Five minutes later, still in the dark, I picked up the phone and dialed the front desk. I could feel the battle inside me. This graceless girl wanted to say “Just how long does it take to flip a switch?!” But I had just boldly taught a room full of women from Ephesians 4:29:
“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen” (NIV).
So, I began to pray that gracious words would flow. Although I could have done worse, I also could have done better. Even a hint of irritation is not very gracious. And I know how I was feeling inside even if the desk clerk didn’t.
Not long after the second call the power returned and I finished getting ready for bed. As I settled in, God and I had a little “post-game” chat. I really do love that He gives us opportunities to apply what He’s teaching us.
After the retreat session the next morning, I returned to my room to gather my things, make the check out time, and head home. I opened the door and flipped the switch. Yes, you guessed it. No power. Oh well, no problem. I opened the curtains to let in the sunlight and smiled.
About the author: Find out more about how to treat others with grace in Kathy Howard’s Bible study Lavish Grace: Poured Out, Poured Through, and Overflowing, Lavish Grace is a 9-week journey with the apostle Paul that helps readers discover God’s abundant grace for their daily lives and relationships. You can find out more about Kathy, her speaking and writing, and find free resources at www.KathyHoward.org.