This morning before taking off for what was an incredibly busy day, I took some time to grab my bible and catch a few minutes of reading time. Without thinking I dove into the New Testament and I stopped near some highlighted passages I had read weeks earlier. Keep in mind, I'm relatively new to the whole Christian gig. So, for me to have something highlighted is sort of a big deal. Anyhow, I find myself in 1 Peter. Honestly, I don't know much about Peter, but I really like this fellow's bubba little book! I get so excited reading this! It exhilerates me! I love to discover who God is through this gospel.
"But how is it to your credit if you receive a beating for doing wrong and endure it? But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God." 1 Peter 3:30
This scripture screamed at me! Steal yer wife a twelve pack of Hamm's Beer, do your time in the slammer, and God will not be glorified. Not even a tiny bit. Get falsely accused of stealin' that Hamm's Beer, serve the time, joyfully recruit your cellmates as followers of Christ and you've done good! I immediately sent out a quick email to my sweet friend who I thought could use this verse today. She is struggling with something so far out of her hands, trying to endure the heat in the kitchen, and coping like a champ! She's barely breaking a sweat! After I emailed a quick blurp to her, I continued reading.
I came upon 1Peter 4:19 "So then, those who suffer according to God's will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good." Ohmygoodness! Story of my life! I did the math: If you believe this is God's will, then quit yer belly achin' and keep trying! I immediately posted this scripture on my facebook status. I loved it.
These two scriptures spoke to my heart this morning. When the going gets tough, when the world crumbles around you, when you can't imagine anymore pain, problems, and crap strapped to you... you keep on keepin' on. And not just keepin' on! You thrive! You do the very best of all good things you have at your power to do. And not for you. Not for your husband, not for your mother, or your children. For God. You give it up to God! I left for work with an awesome prayer in my heart for God to imprint these scriptures on my mind and soul. Quick loves to my family and I was out the door.
I work at a flower shop. Mostly I play at a flower shop. They actually pay people to do crafty stuff with gorgeous fresh flowers everyday. Imagine that! This little shop has been blessed. God is doing something supernatural down there and I am just trying to keep up with the pace. These days it does tend to feel like more work than happy hobby hour, I'll admit. It is surprisingly busy. We are in a bad economy in a small little town with another awesome floral shop to compete against. Somehow, someway God is orchestrating an abundant floral demand in our tiny little city. Amen!
This morning was chaos. Prom, funerals, everyday orders. I had both employees in making and helping customers while I was delivering, ordering product, and filling in making as needed. We received an order over the computer floral relay service we use for a $40.00 order to Cambridge. At first glance, I thought maybe it would be okay. The more I thought about it, the more I became annoyed.
Cambridge is 30 miles away. Gas, alone, is about $10.00. You add on the hour of labor for the delivery, plus the standard fee for the vehicle (insurance, registration, maintenance) and a trip to Cambridge gets expensive. For our locals we offer a lower fee, but for relay orders, we ask a $35 minimum floral order and $20 delivery charge. It was evident that the order was not really worth our time to do. Especially, with all the other organized chaos going on in the shop. I decided I needed to get more money or reject the order. Through the relay service, we will in the end, only get compensated for a portion of that $40.00. I would be barely breaking even on cost. I asked for more money. No response. No response. No response. I made the decision and laid down the gauntlet. I rejected the order. Dana now gets a phone call!
"Why would you do that? You have to take the order! I already promised my customer! What do you mean you need more money? This is not fair! My customer is already gone from the shop!" The Flower Box florist lady was not happy with Dana. She was irritated, confused, annoyed, and mad. I apologized and told her that it has happened to us before - a florist will send an order back and refuse to do it because it does not meet their minimum order requirements. Our minimum and delivery for Weiser would be fine at $40, but with an hour drive... not so fine. I explained that she would just have to explain that to her customer. She continued to argue with me. I didn't know how to make her understand and was pretty shocked about the cajones on this one! She was fiesty! She was not backing down. The call ended with her agreeing to try to contact her customer to get the extra money we would need for delivery. She wasn't thrilled. I kept my composure the whole call, but I had some adrenaline pumping through me.
I went and did the local deliveries I needed to get done after the phone call. It was great to get out and move a little. At the funeral home, I was able to get my mind off of the incident while hoisting a casket piece onto a sweet old lady who seriously did not look dead. I expected her to talk to me almost. On second glance, she was more creepy than sweet. I had a nightmare about this very woman when I was a little girl. It was odd seeing her dead. I wondered if she got to heaven. By the time I got back out to the delivery van, my heart was heavy. As distracted as I wanted to be about the creepy dead lady, I knew. He was burning inside of me like you wouldn't believe. I needed to take those flowers to Cambridge.
Stupid conscience. I was so annoyed with myself. I grumbled all the way into the flower shop. I told the girls I was headed to the upper country. Before I left I tried to call the Flower Box florist. Her line was busy. I sent her the following message, "There is a higher power working here today. You were so persistant. I feel God needs to get these flowers up to Cambridge. I'll take a better bouquet than what was ordered. Don't worry about the extra money. Please resend the order when you get a chance. All my best, Dana." I felt foolish. Probably embarrassed that I just didn't do it to begin with, but also shortchanged I think. I felt like I was going to lose money on this deal. I had a chip on my shoulder. Doing the right thing felt crappy! I replayed the phone conversation in my head over and over as I drove out of town.
Suddenly, a couple miles out of town, my anger melted away and a smile washed over my face. A big, stupid, silly, goofy smile. I think I even giggled. I felt excited. 1Peter 4:19 "So then, those who suffer according to God's will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good."
I had this undeniable feeling leaving that funeral home that the right thing to do, was to take those flowers up to Cambridge. I knew. I felt it deep in my gut. I am still young in my spiritual maturity, but I discerned that was God speaking to my soul. Teaching me the right. As I drove, my mind raced. I realized that there was no better way of learnin' a scripture than to live one! Even as minimal as this trivial "suffering" was I can't help but feel this was God teaching me 1 Peter
4:19. If I believed that God needed me to get these flowers to this recipient, he will fix, replenish, restore, and take care of any and all suffering that I should endure. If it is His will, it is always right. Even when we suffer.
Though I wouldn't say driving to Cambridge was suffering, I think the definition of suffer, in this context, could include any type of suffering. Physical, financial, emotional. This extra trip to the upper country during mass havok at the shop, with little to no incentive of making any money, is not a wise business move. Donald Trump would fire me. I questioned that perhaps the feeling I had felt earlier was guilt and not the conviction of God. I also realized, with the help of my husband, that there was nothing but good fruit (Galations 5:22) coming from this choice and that's ultimately how you know God is involved.
I wondered who this most needed to effect. Me. The other florist. The recipient. It was a get well bouquet. Maybe she will die or maybe she will recover tomorrow and these flowers will somehow play a small little role in that 'maybe.' I praised God all the drive home. I hoped that why ever this needed to happen, it ultimately needed to happen to shine His light. Whether it was for me, the Flower Box, the recipient. It's all about glorifying Him. I realized today I was taking His flowers to His people and the sacrifice of me not making any of His money on this one small order was not even one iota of the greater picture. I felt so small and at the same time, so loved, so big, and so joyful.
When I got back to the flower shop, I talked with each of the girls about my decision to take the bouquet to Cambridge and the irony of my choice scripture for today. What I didn't know, was that the computer had an error and the other florist didn't even get my message. She sent a new order, with the extra money, while I was gone. I took that as a pretty strong indicator that this lesson was for, um... *THIS* girl. I am so thankful for the real life application of this scripture:
If we believe we are living His will, do it joyfully, happily, and purposefully for Him. EVEN IN OUR SUFFERING AND LOSS. This is commendable by God. WOW!