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May 04, 2021 514 Teresa Ann Weider, USA
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God Has a Sense of Humor

It was supposed to be a good old-fashioned birthday party.

What we weren’t prepared for was God surprising us with His present!

Birthdays are a big deal in my family, not just because there is yummy cake and an abundance of presents. It is because we get to celebrate the day that God blessed the world with a new life.  It is the day God chose to bring this unique person into our lives.  I have always thought that was something worth celebrating and I wanted to pass that value onto our children. It was important that our children knew they were not only loved by my husband and I, but more importantly, they were planned and loved by God!

From time to time, we would give our children a good old fashioned birthday party.  We would hold the event at our home, complete with vivid decorations, party hats, noise makers, games, prizes and presents.  Then we had top it off with ice cream, a homemade, decorated cake and parting goodie bags.  Their parties were not necessarily extravagant, but they were well thought out and took many weeks to organize.  While all the parties we planned were fun and special, there was one party in particular that none of my family will ever forget. It was the party when God surprised us with His own present!

Birthday Galas

Our third son turned 12 years old in the latter part of May 2002.  Our children were raised in northern Massachusetts, so by the time May appeared, everyone longed to be outdoors enjoying the spring weather. Our son was an athletic boy and with his input we decided on an outdoor basketball themed party  Everything about that party was revolved around that theme, including a real game of basketball to be refereed by a couple of basketball playing, whistle blowing adults.  The invitations were sent, uniforms were created, the basketball-themed cake was baked, food was prepared and the balloons were blown up. Although the decorations were ready, we planned to put them in place the next morning before the wonderful bunch of spirited boys arrived

Having orchestrated a number of these birthday galas in the past, the evening prior to the celebration, I felt very confident that everything was in place and ready for a wonderful, festive, energetic day until…a tiny thought way, way, way back in my mind began to steadily creep forward until the horror of it bubbled out into a disturbing question aimed straight at my husband. “Honey, what is the weather supposed to be like tomorrow?”  The question hung in the air, like a lingering stench. We both knew that if anything but blissful sunshine and cool breezes were forecast, the outcome of the party would be at stake. These were the days of slower internet and we still relied on The Weather Channel for our forecast.  My intense stare and panicky breathing set him fumbling for the TV remote.  His face went ashen. Then he turned slowly to me. Carefully enunciating every word, he announced that steady rain was predicted for the entire day. I gasped! I had planned every single detail of that party and scheduled every event down to the minute, but I had forgotten to factor in the unpredictable, spring, New England weather! What was I going to do?

Sweaty Palms

It was 8pm and I did not have a plan B for tomorrow morning. The interior of our house was not at all set up to handle all those energetic boys. Suddenly, a thought crossed my mind. I could get on the phone and call every possible facility in the area that might have an indoor gym, explain my situation and humbly beg to use their basketball court for a couple of hours. However, the late hour meant that either no-one answered the phone or the gyms had already been booked for weekend events.  I had called every location I could think of, with the exception of one gym. This one gym belonged to the local elementary school which my children had attended.

On several occasions, the Principal and I had certainly not seen eye to eye and I did not cherish the idea of humbling or indebting myself to her.  However, it was clear that there were no other choices.  It was a small town, most people knew each other and fortunately, I had her personal number.  As her phone rang, my pulse raced, my throat tightened and I verified that women can indeed have sweaty palms.  She answered. As I explained what I wanted and why, there was a significant pause on the other end of the line.

Finally, she said she would check to see if the custodial staff could let me in, but she would not know until after 9am the next day.  My mind raced. I felt unable to relax without knowing, right then and there, that a successful Plan B had been orchestrated. The party was scheduled from 11am-2pm, so there was not much time to alert the party-goers of a change in plan if she did not call until after 9am.  However, her tone warned me that I needed to be cautious in pressing the issue if I wanted to successfully appeal to her.  Repeatedly and humbly, I thanked her before hanging up the phone.

We rechecked the weather forecast numerous times that evening hoping the unpredictable New England weather would fare in our direction, but there was no sign of hope…until…another, more positive thought popped into my head.  “Perhaps this might be an extremely good time to pray.  After all, wasn’t God in charge of the forecast?”  Oh, I prayed and prayed and prayed.  The party was only to last from 11am- 2pm, so I desperately pleaded with God for a break in the rain for those 3 hours.

The next morning started with drizzles and overcast skies.  I had 3 more restless hours to wait before I would hear back from the school principal.   My other options had run out, so I dejectedly continued to pray, not in faith, but in desperation.  “Please Lord”, I begged. “Please don’t let it rain between 11am and 2pm”.  The adrenaline was the only thing that held back the flood of tears behind my eyes.  The phone remained silent as the clock steadily ticked past 9am. I asked my husband, “Do I call her or wait a bit longer?”  Before he could reply, the welcome ring of the phone echoed through the stillness as we held our breath in anticipation.  My voice shook as I tried to calmly answer the phone, I am sure I tripped over every syllable in greeting her.  Without much ado, she told me we could use the gym for the party, but we were to clean it as if we had not been there.  I wanted to thank her profusely, but she cut the conversation short and abruptly told me to be at the school gym around 11:15 am, where we would find the doors unlocked.

A Surprise Gift

My mental wheels began to turn, because there was now a solid Plan B to orchestrate.  Although I still hoped and prayed that the steady rain would stop for those 3 hours, we had to move forward with the alternative plan for the day ahead of us. It seemed like only moments passed before it was time for the boys to show up.  We were as ready as we could possibly be under the circumstances.  Ten minutes before the first car pulled up, I peered out the window, and could not believe my eyes! I called my husband and directed him to look out and confirm what I had seen.

We stood there together and speechlessly gazed at the sight before us.  God had answered my prayers.  It had stopped raining, just as I asked and just in the nick of time. However, an uncommonly odd thing happened that we could never have anticipated.  Although it had stopped raining, unpredictably, it had started to SNOW!!!!  I am sure I heard God laughing and laughing.  We stood there in momentary awe and wonder.  We had never seen it snow that late in May in all the years we had lived in Massachusetts.  We laughed at the sight, but could not linger on its meaning as the boys were starting to arrive for the party. Surprisingly, the Principal herself met us at the gym and told me she would work in her office for a couple hours, until the game was finished.

Everyone had a great time then helped us clean the gym so it looked even better than we had found it. We thanked the Principal and brought everyone back to our home for cake and presents. Before we knew it, 2pm came round and the boys’ parents began to slush up the snowy driveway to collect their sons.  However, God was not finished with His joke and was about to present His grand finale. He made it clear that He had heard my prayers because at exactly 2:10 pm, the unforeseen snow turned back to a steady rain.  The tears that I had held back earlier came flooding past my eyes.

Had God been attending our party?  Had He shown that He answered my prayers by not allowing it to rain between 11:00 am and 2 pm?  Had God been the orchestrator of Plan B, not me?  Was it God who provided a place for us to have a great party while giving me a lesson on humility?  Did God have a sense of humor?  The answer to all those questions and more were YES, YES, YES, YES and unequivocally YES!!!

God teaches lessons in layers sometimes. When I look back, there were so many mistakes made when planning that party.  However, God used my weaknesses to gently but humorously realign my thinking and conduct. Everything I do is accomplished through God who gives me strength. (Philippians 4:13*)  Initially, almost everything about that day seemed to be accomplished through my own strength and pride. I never even thought to invite God to that party or into the planning process.

How shameful I felt when I reflected on the role my Creator had in bringing our son into our lives.  He should have been the first invited guest and as it turned out, He was by far the most welcome guest.  God answered my prayers, not in exactly the way I imagined, but in a clear manner, leaving no doubt that He intended to teach me something. God taught me that He’s always with me—listening, providing and wanting to be a part of the lives He created. He bestowed graces of humility, forgiveness and gratitude upon me in answer to my prayer. That party turned out to be extremely fun and memorable for everyone.  After all was said and done, it did not rain between 11:00 am and 2:00 pm, just as I asked in prayer.…..

Instead, God brought His own present: SNOW!!!  I am going to say it again……

God has a sense of humor!

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Teresa Ann Weider

Teresa Ann Weider serves the Church remarkably through her active involvement in various ministries over the years. She lives with her family in Folsom, California, USA.

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