Later on, in that same month (November 2018), I was back home in New Jersey for Thanksgiving. I was on my way to a mall on Black Friday to meet up with one of my mentees from my church. Google maps showed my ETA and it was unusually longer. I figured, ‘No biggie, Google probably isn’t really reflecting the traffic pattern.’ Yeah, no kidding!! Google was off alrighty, by like one hour!! After battling all the tractor-trailers and getting lost in Port Newark (which I finally got to see after living in Newark for forever! 😊) and crossing Kapkowski Rd. fending off all those New York drivers (why ya be shopping in Jersey anyway????), I finally got to the mall parking lot….only to discover I could not find parking!
Bummed, upset, tired, and annoyed, I called up my mentee and said, ‘Let’s go to Livingston Mall instead.’ She agreed since Google was telling her it would take her 40 minutes to get to that mall. In actuality, it should have only taken her 10 minutes to get there. It took us about 27 minutes to get to Livingston Mall and find parking. I thought to myself, ‘Why does life have to be that hard over there??’
Two days later I was back in Tulsa. After church, I was hanging out with my friends, one of which is from the neighboring town to mine in Jersey. He said to me, ‘Did you see that there was a shooting at that mall the same day you told us you were there??’ I said, ‘What?! No, I didn’t!’ I couldn’t believe it! There I was on Friday complaining and carrying on about all the things that annoyed me on my way to the first mall, but those were probably all things used to prevent me from being at the wrong place at the wrong time. That’s not to say the shooter was coming for me, but who’s to say which direction a bullet will go or what damage a stampede of people can cause?? God forbid my mentee ended up being a causality or hurt. What on earth would I have told her mom?!
At the time I didn’t see it, but all those no’s were just a way of God protecting us and a means to getting us to our greater yes: safe shopping, better parking, and life! Sometimes we have so many no’s stacked up against us and we wonder what is wrong with us and with our life. Choose to see it as God working all things together for a greater yes. I know it is hard to keep that at the forefront of your mind in the moment, but remember this: And we know [with great confidence] that God [who is deeply concerned about us] causes all things to work together [as a plan] for good for those who love God, to those who are called according to His plan and purpose. Romans 8:28.
I know that 2020 has been rough for a lot of people. It is my prayer and desire that 2021 will be filled with a greater yes for you. Happy New Year to you and to yours!
Check out part one of this series here.