Kelly looked with dismay at the soapy water that drenched her uniform slacks and formed a puddle on the floor around her feet. This patient was really trying to make her life difficult! She had hoped to finish bathing her by now, and now she had this mess to clean up. Worse still, her new shoes were soaked. She tried to keep a cheerful manner as she finished bathing her awkward patient and returned her to the ward. The patient was now feeling fresh and comfortable in a nice soft gown, but Kelly was wet through and her feet squelched in her shoes at every step.
As soon as she was free she hurried to her room in the dorm to change, but her thoughts were focusing on her shoes. Regulation nursing shoes were expensive--more than twice the price she normally paid for shoes. Although money was tight, Kelly had bought a good leather pair, hoping they would last her for the duration of the course. It would be three more years until she graduated and now the shoes looked ruined.
She picked up a cloth and started to clean them up. She mopped up as much of the moisture as she could, squeezing the leather to remove as much water as possible. Carefully stuffing them with crumpled absorbent paper to help them retain their shape, Kelly looked for a place where she could put her shoes to dry. She placed them in the hallway outside her door, leaning against the wall. She hoped they would be dry by noon, because she had a shift on the wards after classes finished.
Next morning on her way to the bathroom for her shower, she glanced down to see how her shoes were drying. They were not there! She knew all the girls in the rooms along her corridor and she was sure none of them would have taken them except for a joke, but she was not in the mood for jokes at the moment. She banged on doors up and down the corridor, checking for pranksters and shoes.
No-one could remember even seeing Kelly's shoes outside her door, let alone know where they might have gone, and they were not very interested anyway. Shoes were not such a big deal. Most of them had more money to spend on clothes than Kelly did.
Before going to her first class that morning, Kelly had looked everywhere she could think of that her shoes might have ended up. She looked in the drying room, the cleaners' room, even in the rubbish bin, but no shoes. On her way past the reception desk she checked the lost property, but they had not been handed in there, either.
It was not until classes were dismissed for lunch that it hit her that her expensive new nursing shoes were really gone. And she had no money to buy a pair to replace them--not even enough to put down a deposit. Every pay packet, small as it was, was carefully budgeted well in advance, with tithes and offerings taken out first and the rest divided meticulously to cover her needs until the next pay. Back in her room, she knelt beside her bed and told the Lord her problem.
Then she dressed in her uniform, put on her old shoes and hoped no-one would look at her feet. When she returned to the dorm, the dean was at the reception desk, so Kelly shared her distress over the loss of her new shoes with her. Being an understanding woman, she joined with her in a short prayer that the shoes would be found. Her sympathy made Kelly feel a little better and she was sure her shoes would turn up the next day.
But they didn't. Surprisingly, Kelly maintained her optimism-- most of the time--as the days passed. A number of times each day she renewed her prayer request that her shoes would somehow get back to her.
Each afternoon she doubted her old shoes would see her through till the end of her shift, but each day they did. And each afternoon she checked the lost property box.
On Friday afternoon as she came past the reception desk, Kelly merely raised her eyebrows inquiringly at the dean who was on duty and she shook her head in reply. About half an hour later she thought she heard her name over the intercom above the noise of the washing machine. Probably a message from one of her friends in another dorm, she thought as she ran upstairs from the basement. Kelly had never seen the dean so animated. "You won't believe it! I hardly believe it myself! But look, here they are! Are these your shoes?"
They certainly were her shoes. They were on the middle of the counter of the reception desk--but they looked brand new. She couldn't even see any scuff marks on them.
"Where did they come from?" she marvelled. "That is the part I cannot believe!" exclaimed the dean. "No-one came by, no-one put them there; they just appeared! There was nothing there one minute, then your shoes were there the next!" Joyously, Kelly thanked the Lord there and then, and the dean joined her in her prayer. Kelly knows that the Lord cares for His children, even in such a mundane thing as restoring a pair of regulation nursing shoes. She knows that in taking care of that problem for her, He was assuring her that she could rely on Him for help in the larger problems of life, too--and she does. Commit everything you do to the Lord. Trust him, and he will help you. Psalm 37:5. Shirley Tarburton is a lecturer in the School of Arts and Humanities at Pacific Adventist University, near Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea. "Kelly" is a midwife at the Jessie MacPherson Maternity Unit, attached to Monash University in Melbourne, 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