“Del, did you see the envelope addressed to you on the community table?” A gal from church called out to me as I was about to walk out the door.
To be honest, I didn’t see it. Sometimes after church, we get talking away, and I never thought to stop by and see if there was anything new. Before I took one step further, I turned around and headed back in to see what was there.
Right in the center of the table, just as she said, sat a stark white envelope with my name penned with defined handwriting. It was like the person who wrote it formed every letter so perfect as if to indicate its significance. What could it be? Was it a message? A prayer request? What could be in this feather-weight little envelope?
My friend Jan, her daughter Kristen, and I gathered to go out for our usual Sunday brunch. Jan had her favorite spots to visit and Kristen, and I went along with wherever her tummy called. But today was different.
Halfway down the road, I opened the envelope — suddenly I burst into tears! I mumbled some jibber, jabber as the tears trickled down. You see, money was tight. I was living alone in this period of my life and struggling just to make ends meet. Even though I did pay all my bills on time, it was like my dad used to say: “Robbing Peter to pay Paul.” Being a baby Christian, God grabbed hold of me as He continued to shelter me under His wing.
Although I grew up in church, I was never taught to read the Bible. But now, at forty-two years old, it suddenly became everything to me. I couldn’t wait to get home from work after my ten-hour day and dive in. On my treadmill, my exercise bike, it was all I wanted to do —learn more, read more and allow it to penetrate deep into my soul.
Who would have known, looking back twenty-plus years, that the one scripture I claimed to be mine back then would become the anchor for my life? When you’re struggling to hold on, you cling to what keeps you afloat. The Bible, as it became real to me, was what I held onto — how desperately I believed every word.
A certain scripture in the book of Philippians became my lifeline. And My God shall supply all your needs according to His riches and glory in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19 CSB Many of the other scriptures gave me comfort. This one gave me hope and assurance that no matter what need was before me, God would see me through.
Well, in the car on that particular Sunday, I could only sob. Jan pulled over to the side of the road. She turned around and looked at me in wonder, “What’s wrong, Del? What are you crying about?” I couldn’t speak. Awestruck with the Lord, I could only hold this crisp one-hundred-dollar bill with my head bowed and cry. “Oh, my goodness!” Jan exclaimed, “What has God done now? I don’t know what it is with you Del,” she added, “But God continues to do miracle after miracle in your life.”
I was able to mumble a few words to Jan and Kristen about the lady from church who called me as I was walking out the door “She … she called my name … and told me about an envelope", and that’s all I could get out. Overwrought in this moment, I tried to speak through my blubbering sobs.
How badly I wanted to share everything, so they could understand the significance of that one-hundred-dollar bill, but I just couldn’t get it out. I knew my car insurance was due on Monday. If I did not pay it then, they would cancel my policy. It would even cost more to reinstate it.
And how could I tell them, that at nine o’clock the night before, with my new found faith, I did what I was taught to do? Week after week, I heard my pastor preach, “Nothing is too big, or too small for God. No matter what it is, take it to Him and watch Him do great and mighty things in your life.” So, in total desperation, I knelt beside my bed and poured my heart out to God.
God, you know where I am. You know that my car insurance is due Monday, and if I don’t pay it on time, they will cancel it... Somehow, someway, I need ninety-eight dollars to pay this bill. I don’t know what to do. Can you help me — please, please help me?
Although I asked and stood in my faith, the clock continued to tick.
When we got to the restaurant, I chose to stay in the car. I was so overwhelmed; how could I eat? God had fed me with more than I could ever begin to digest with my natural mind. I wanted to spend some time in His presence.
Once we arrived home, I was able to share everything with Jan and Kristen. But the part that seemed so unbelievable, was the note that this mysterious giver attached to the bill: “As I was praying for you last night at nine o'clock,” it read, “the Lord spoke for me to give this to you.” Every time I read it, I’d sob.
You see, that was the exact time that I knelt beside my bed and cried out to the Lord. How could this person, that I had never met, know at that precise second just what I needed? I tried, but I just couldn’t seem to wrap my mind around it.
Together we tried to figure out who it could be. The pastor? His wife? The worship leader? On and on, we made every endeavor to match up the handwriting from notes, memos or anything each of us had tucked away in our Bibles that could give us a clue.
Finally, the Lord gave me peace. It didn’t matter who did it. God just wanted me to know that He heard my prayers and to rest assured that if He wanted to reveal who the secret giver was, He would someday let me know.
When Christmastime rolled around, I went to my mailbox to get my mail like any other day. I glanced at the envelopes one by one, and suddenly my heart thumped. “I don’t believe it! Here it is! This is the penmanship of the person who wrote my name on that envelope!” I dashed inside and ran to grab my bible. “Yep! This is it,” I exclaimed as I pulled the mysterious envelope from its hiding place — it was, a perfect match! I couldn’t open the card fast enough to see who it was.
You’ve got to be kidding me! Him? It was a fellow brother and dear friend in the Lord from my church. Never did I imagine he would do such a thing. How could he have afforded to do that? No matter what I thought, the proof was right there before my eyes. My name was written exactly as it was on that envelope; it matched to a T.
How special of God to make that Christmas season one of the very best ever, by revealing in His time, the inexplicable mystery of the mysterious envelope.
~ Meet Del Bates ~
Del is an author/speaker who desires to bring the message of God’s love to all.
She is the president of her Word Weavers chapter in Vero Beach Fl and sits on the Area Board for the South East North chapter of Aglow in her area.
Del and her husband Jon are snowbirds between Florida and Michigan where she spends quality time with her three grown children her and five precious grand-babies. You can connect with her and follow her blog at www.Pen4TheLord.com.