The unexpected birthday gift

I have a dear friend who told me about something that happened on his birthday. His car was in for repairs, and on this particular day he was driving someone in their own car on an all-day excursion. Planning to pick up his car from the shop after his long day’s drive, he brought along a substantial amount of money to pay for the repairs.

However, when he went to collect his car, he discovered that the envelope with the repair money wasn’t in his bag where he’d carefully put it. He quickly called the owner of the car that he had chauffeured to see if the money might have somehow fallen out of his bag inside the car.

“No, I’m very sorry, I don’t see it,” came the answer.

My friend said that the terrible sinking feeling, combined with the exhaustion after a long day of driving, was overwhelming. There was nothing to do but cry out to God that somehow the money would be returned. Yet the chances of that looked too small to even hope for.

He was heavy of heart and beset by a bad migraine headache, and his birthday, of all days, had turned into a disaster. Struggling with the migraine and worry about finances, as well as blaming himself that he had somehow allowed that money to be lost, he spent several hours trying to figure out why this had happened. Finally, he chose to put the whole situation into God’s hands and trust Him.

He went to work the next day feeling a peace that everything would work out for good. He wasn’t counting on seeing those funds again; he just knew that somehow God would take care of things.

Midmorning he received a call. It was the woman he had chauffeured the day before. “We found the envelope with the money when we looked again in the car,” she said. “So we have it here safe and sound for you.”

What a relief and cause for praise. My friend was glad that he had chosen to entrust everything to God’s care.

He could have been tempted to give in to despair and anxiety. But he made the choice to praise God no matter what circumstances he faced. It wasn’t about what God did or didn’t do for him or whether it looked like God was being “good” or “bad” to him. What mattered was that he trusted Jesus. He knew he could always trust in God’s love, regardless of what challenges or losses he faced, because Jesus had given up everything—even His life—for him.

Being a follower of Jesus doesn’t guarantee that everything will always work out the way we want it to. Nevertheless, once we’ve done what we can, we can leave it with Him to do what He knows is best. Even if something is lost or taken away, God will always supply, or redirect us, or show us how we can do without something we thought was needed. Through it all, we need to trust that He never fails and that He works all things together for our good.

It takes faith to endure times of testing and loss. When we strive to give thanks in everything, we will be in a better position to trust God to provide whatever He knows is best for us.

My friend got something very precious from Jesus on his birthday, the gift of reinforced faith that he could always trust Him in all things. That is a present that will last forever.