When God Puts a Hand over your Mouth

by Lynn on December 17, 2011

Photo by Urs Schmidli - Barcroft MediaAlmost two weeks ago, I ordered a Christmas present from out of state. After sending an e-mail telling me the item was in stock, the small specialty store cheerfully accepted my credit card number over the phone and said the item would be shipped the following day. I patiently waited the six days necessary for the package to arrive by ground. A few days ago, I found it sitting on my doorstep, and eagerly brought it inside to open it! To my dismay, the item in the box was not at all what I had ordered. I was ticked. Now, I would have to ship the item back, and hope that the store would expedite shipping of the item I ordered so I could get it in time for Christmas. I also seriously doubted they would reimburse me the cost of shipping the wrong item back to them, so I was mad about that too. That evening, I sent them a terse e-mail, expressing my frustration with the situation. No response. The following day, I shipped the wrong item back to them by priority mail and sent the store a second e-mail with the tracking number for their return package. Again, no response. Generally, I can be tolerant when someone makes a mistake, as long as they are nice about it. But if they are rude, or just ignore me altogether, my patience wears a bit thin.

By today, their return package was scheduled to arrive, so my plan was to contact them by phone and demand some action! After all, I had been stewing about this for several days, and their lack of response had made my stew over boil! This morning I checked my e-mail one last time. Still nothing from them. “Okay, that’s it,” I said, lining up all my paperwork so I could easily access all the facts when I had them on the phone.

Remembering that I hadn’t printed the e-mail about the item being in stock, I logged back into my e-mail account. Lo and behold, in the few seconds it took me to log back in, I had received an e-mail from them. They reported that they were very sorry about the mix up and that my package would be re-shipped today.

Oh. Okay. Since that was the information I had been waiting to hear, I no longer had any reason to call them. I have to admit, I was grateful, because I really detest confrontation! But later, I got to thinking, “Boy that sure was some precise timing…” I had been about sixty seconds away from phoning them and laying into the first person who answered the phone. But now the situation was diffused, and no phone call would be made. I wonder if God had essentially put his hand over my mouth to keep me from yelling at someone who really didn’t need to hear that right now. Maybe the poor salesgirl made an honest mistake and has already berated herself. Maybe she’s doing the best she can. Maybe she’s already having a really tough time this Christmas, and doesn’t need me to tell her how dissatisfied I am with her efforts. Maybe she doesn’t deserve to have me verbally throw up all over her for something that wasn’t even her fault.

I know that God orchestrates events to keep us from harm, but perhaps he also keeps us from inadvertently harming others. All of us have experienced times when we’ve felt “kicked when we’re already down,” and during those times, we wished that someone had cut us some slack.

Thank you Lord for extending grace to me by putting your hand over my mouth when I’d do better to keep it shut. Please help me to think before I speak, and to show others the mercy that you’ve shown me.  

On the journey toward Home,

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