It only took two days for my prayer to be answered. On Sunday, I prayed that we would be given people this week that needed forgiveness rather than judgment. I got what I prayed for, and by the time I realized it, it was almost too late!
My house is in a small town, one of those towns that has lots of fast food options but none of them are ever quite as good as you’d get in a larger town. Our local fast food places reinforce the idea that it’s just better to eat at home.
But last night, Alex really wanted pizza, the same pizza we’d had just a few nights before, even though they’d gotten our order wrong. He logged into the app, re-ordered the last pizza we had, and was pleased the online ordering was working. When our pizza arrived, we threw back the lid, and… what the…? It was the saddest pizza I’ve ever seen. The receipt had the right order on it, but the pizza was all wrong.
I picked up the phone without even thinking. As I said to my mother, “The spirit of my father overtook me, and I called to complain.” I was nice. Okay, nice-ish. I told them this was the second time this week they’d gotten our order wrong. The manager got on the phone. Instead of apologizing, she offered to make me the correct pizza herself, bring me the correct pizza, and bring the wrong one back to teach with. I was happy with that.
Except that’s not what happened. I got the right pizza, undercooked, delivered by an angry man who had no idea why I was giving him back the other pizza.
This is the moment that I snapped.
This is the moment I should have just let it go.
This is the moment I should have let the spirit of my Father overtake me.
This is the moment when I should have forgiven.
But I didn’t.
I called again.
I told them they’d lost a twice a week customer.
When I hung up, I felt sick (not from the undercooked pizza). I realized this was the person I’d asked God to bring me, and I had blown it. I had not practiced what I’d preached. I felt horrible, and no rationalizing made it any better. I’d been mean to someone over a pizza! If I couldn’t forgive over little things, what did that say about how I’d handle bigger things?
Twenty minutes later, my doorbell rang, and I went to the door with low spirits. On my doorstep was the manager of the pizza place. I was very nice. She was very nice. I explained why I had been upset (with all the upset burned out of me). Somewhere in the middle of my calm explanation, she stopped being the representative of the pizza place and just told me what was going on there, how it was her first day filling in, how the crew had messed up so many pizza orders that day, she had decided to spare them further embarrassment with my very wrong pizza, how she doesn’t even know their names. It wasn’t a list of excuses. It was one woman telling another about the difficulties of their day. I got the chance to forgive, and so did she.
We have a special time in our worship services to share answered prayers because we really do believe God answers our prayers. Even the dangerous ones. Even the ones that cause annoyance. They do get answered, in ways big and small. All we have to do is pay attention. This small issue almost slipped me by. I was almost too late to respond to my answered prayer, but God gave me a second chance. I am thankful for the opportunity and the lesson.
May God bring you someone this week who needs forgiveness rather than judgment, and may you find the strength to forgive all the stuff… big and small.