Amidst the junk emails that come to my personal email account are those few from friends and family with news or an article worth taking time to read, a story worth a listen, or maybe a few cartoons or photos that are intended to bring a laugh or warm my heart. My husband’s sister sent us two such stories that we have talked about, off and on, ever since. They bring to mind a couple of questions: are we being tested, and if so, by whom?
One was a photomontage with a woman narrating what she said was a true story of a full-grown tiger who went to a man’s house to get help. She said that this took place in a village in Russia. The man was asleep, but odd noises in the night woke him, when they subsided he was able to go back to sleep. In the morning, he went to his front door to go outside, but no matter how hard he tried, he couldn’t open the door. Eventually, he went out of a window to see what was blocking his door. Much to his dismay, he found huge paw prints covering his yard. Then, turning the corner, he discovered a full-grown tiger lying in front of his door. Terrified, he knew there was insufficient time to get to safety. So he stood perfectly still, and in time the tiger padded slowly toward him.
He soon spied a steel ring around the tiger’s neck, which had pierced its skin and caused a wound that needed treating. The man was a paramedic, and so he helped the tiger. The tiger was patient and let the paramedic do his work. Some neighbors came and assisted. For two weeks, the tiger lived in a shed in the man’s yard. Throughout the next several weeks, they tended the tiger and kept him fed. One day the tiger disappeared.
But that wasn’t the end of the story. About two weeks later, the man discovered that once again, he was unable to get out his front door. He climbed out of the window and walked around to see what was blocking his front door. There were familiar tiger tracks in the yard, but it was not the tiger blocking his doorway. Instead, he discovered that the tiger had brought him a gift of food. It was the body of a deer that was now blocking his front door.
The second story was the story of a preacher from out-of-state, accepting a call to serve a church in Texas. A couple of weeks after he arrived in town, he had to ride a bus. Once the preacher found his seat, he realized that the money given to him for change was incorrect. He had received an extra quarter. Should he forget it, it was just a quarter after all, or should he return it? What should he do? At the last moment, as he was exiting the bus, he turned back and handed the quarter to the bus driver and explained that he had given him too much change.
The driver asked him if he wasn’t the new preacher in town. Then the driver said he had been thinking about maybe going somewhere to worship. He mentioned that he wanted to know what the preacher would do if he gave him too much change. The driver said he would see him in church on Sunday.
“When the preacher stepped off of the bus, he literally grabbed the nearest light pole, held on, and said, ‘Oh God, I almost sold your Son for a quarter.’”
In your work, or personal life, have you ever had an experience that seemed to be a test? Upon reflection, I can say that I have had quite a few. If that is also the case with you, would you share with us briefly what it was and how you responded? Looking back on it later, do you wish you had done anything differently?