It happened some years ago--I forget exactly when--but I will never forget what happened.
A woman stood up in our church to recommend an idea for Investment stewardship. She suggested if anyone had a bad debt, to put it in God's hands and donate the result to the Investment Fund.
This caught my attention--I did have a bad debt! However, the solicitor had said there was absolutely no hope of recovering the debt on several legal grounds, so I had just forgotten it till this suggestion was made.
It was an amount owed to me by an injury patient. This middleaged woman had called me her "lifeline" and much else besides for the "many extra miles"--even in the middle of the night--I had gone to help her.
She had vowed to make sure I was paid by WorkCover, but when the time came for payment, it may have affected her claim adversely to get payment made to me for the treatment over several years. She refused to communicate and I was left much out of pocket.
So I prayed, and although legal advice was against me, I claimed this debt in the Magistrate's Court, without a solicitor.
I won! Wasn't that simple, I thought, and praised God. But my faith was to be tested further. Soon after I received a summons to the Supreme Court. The Magistrate's order was being appealed against.
Again, without human legal advocacy, I spent nearly five hours in the Melbourne Supreme Court. I continued praying, and at one stage tried to drop all the proceedings, thinking not to sue my "sister," who still would not look me in the eye.
No, they said, they had me "over a barrel" and told their solicitor (who seemed kindly disposed toward me) to tell me so. I remember thinking, You can't give God's money away anyway!
So the case continued, and during the proceedings a little note was passed down to me from a solicitor sitting up the back. "Good work!" it said. I was thinking it wasn't worth the stress, but kept claiming the promise that God "would give me the words to speak" and enable me to do so calmly.
I won every point, and more than I had asked for, and costs were awarded in my favour. I remember not being too surprised. I have had a long walk with God and realised I had just had a moment of panic in the awesome legal hallways and courtrooms.
So that was that, I thought. No further appeals were possible with this case and I just had to wait for the order to be enforced. However, the defendants had a little message for me: they had put their three homes and other property into the hands of their adult children.
After what I had seen God do, that didn't bother me either. The sheriff let me know they had tried unsuccessfully several times, and doubted they would have any success in this case. The courts and the legal system could not enforce the order nor deliver rightful compensation.
But only a little while later, one evening, there was a knock at the door and the woman's husband stood there with nearly $4000 in cash, requesting a receipt!
The why and how, I was soon to find out. A nurse working in the cancer ward at our local private hospital told me this woman had been admitted with cancer, and was distressed that God may have pointed His finger at her for mistreatment of someone who had been good to her.
I don't know if God was acting in this way, but our wonderful, powerful, loving and compassionate Father sometimes appears to work in ways we do not understand.
Then you will delight yourself in the Almighty and look up to God. You will pray to him, and he will hear you, and you will fulfil your vows to him. Whatever you decide to do will be accomplished, and light will shine on the road ahead of you. Job 22:26-8.
Jennifer Philippiadis is a health therapist who lives in Ballarat, Victoria.
This story is used with permission from Signs Publishing Company. More of these stories can be found in these collections: Ordinary People—Extraordinary God, Ordinary People—Faithful God, and Ordinary People—Generous God