I am generally an easy going, congenial kind of person but there are a couple of things that can cause a switch to flip inside of me that make Simon Cowell look like a kind hearted boy scout! Whenever we hire new employees I tell them they never want to lie, cheat or steal from me because the end result will not be pretty. I then sometimes share with them this story. . .
When David and I had been married about ten years, we decided to purchase a Winn Dixie grocery store. We put down $25,000 as earnest money, which was a very large sum of money for us at the time. The funds were to be held in an escrow account by a third party attorney who represented neither the buyer nor the seller. We were given a certain amount of time for “due diligence” in order to research the project, check the financials and see if it would be a profitable venture.
There are a couple of things that can cause a switch to flip inside of me
At the end of the allotted time we had decided not to make the purchase so I waited several days for the deposit money to be returned to us. Finally I made a phone call to the attorney’s office requesting a refund of our money being held in his escrow. After numerous calls, I finally received a check, deposited it in our bank account and proceeded to make withdrawals against the balance.
By the end of the week our bank was sending notices of overdrafts and accumulated fees. You guessed it. The check the attorney had written us had bounced and consequently so had ours, all over town. My switch had been turned on!
How in the world had he had enough nerve to spend monies that were not even HIS? How could a legal professional who had been entrusted with holding funds in “safe keeping” even think of spending those funds marked “escrow”? And what had he used the money for? I had some questions that needed answers but I mainly needed to get our money back!
Obviously I wasn’t this guy’s first rodeo but I planned to be his last!
Following multiple phone calls and promises that the check was in the mail, I had finally had enough. I called his office and asked for an appointment to meet with him in person. When his assistant told me he was booked all week and wouldn’t be able to see me my reply was “Oh he WILL see me! Tell him I’ll be in his office tomorrow morning.”
Eight months pregnant with our second child, I carried a big belly and a big briefcase into his office and announced myself early the next morning. When his assistant said he was booked with clients all day I told her I wouldn’t leave without seeing him. Mid morning a young man in a blue auto mechanic’s uniform arrived, clearly distressed about money the attorney had spent from an inheritance he was suppose to be “settling”. Obviously I wasn’t this guy’s first rodeo but I planned to be his last!
As I nibbled on the snack bar in my purse for lunch, I heard the assistant whisper into the phone “She’s still sitting out here”. Shortly after that she curtly announced to me that Mr. M would be in court all afternoon. “I’ll wait”. My voice was clear, direct and determined.
At the end of the day as the assistant was turning machines off and clearing her desk to go I asked when she expected her boss back in the office. “Oh, he’s been back. He’s already gone home. We have a back door.” Boom!
I heard the assistant whisper into the phone “She’s still sitting out here”.
My feet were swollen, my back ached and my stomach felt hunger pains from the lack of food that day but I wasn’t about to give up! The next morning I made a phone call and soon had an appointment at the attorney general’s office. I calmly placed the documents before him, explained the situation and asked what he could do. I also called the State Bar Association and reported the gross misconduct. Obviously if the money wasn’t refunded, the attorney (who apparently had a history of gambling with other people’s money) would face criminal charges.
Over the next couple of weeks all sorts of strange financial arrangements were proposed including having a “friend” of the attorney show up at our home with $25,000 in cash. No deal. I wanted a certified check from the exact escrow account where the money had been deposited, not strangers showing up at my house with bags of money. All the while I prayed that the stress and lack of sleep during this ordeal wouldn’t cause me to go into premature labor with the baby I was carrying.
Finally we received the certified check, the attorney lost his license for a year and I was able to sleep in peace once again. Now why am I sharing such an “unspiritual story” on my blog that usually has a very spiritual emphasis? Because sometimes persistence pays! (And in this case, it did quite literally.)
My experience reminds me of the parable of the persistent widow told in Luke 18. She kept coming to the judge asking, “Grant me justice against my adversary.” Now scripture says that this judge cared nothing about God or his fellow man but he eventually gave in to her pleas simply to be rid of her.
Because sometimes persistence pays! (And in this case, it did quite literally.)
Jesus told his disciples this parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. I love what the Lord has to say in verses 7 and 8: “And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly.” I just love those verses!
I have a dear friend whose only daughter left home and cut off all communication with her parents for an entire year. Strong people of faith, every evening at exactly six, this mom and dad would stand on their porch facing the Eastern sky and pray for their daughter’s safe return. Day after day after day they persisted in their prayers.
My friend also kept a beautifully appointed table in their dining room in preparation for the banquet feast which would take place when their prodigal daughter returned home. Birthdays. Mother’s Day. July 4th. Thanksgiving. Christmas. No daughter and no feasting. But they REFUSED to give up! Like the persistent widow, they kept presenting God their request.
Finally nearing the one year mark on Easter, this persistently praying mother asked God to let her daughter come home on that day. As they returned home from an outing that evening, she gave a sigh of disappointment and said to her husband, “She didn’t come home.” It was then she saw the light blinking on their answering machine and turned it on. Their daughter’s voice, which they hadn’t heard in an entire year, spoke these words, “Hi Mom. Hi Dad. I’ve been trying to get home for Easter and couldn’t make it but I’ll be there in the morning.” The very next morning she walked through their doors.
They REFUSED to give up! Like the persistent widow, they kept presenting God their request.
Unlike the callous judge in the parable of the widow who was being treated unjustly, Our God CARES about us. He WANTS to supply our needs. And it is our PERSISTENT PRAYERS that prove to Him we believe He can and will.
I love the strength implied in these synonyms for the word persistent. Tenacious. Determined. Resolute. Single-minded. Tireless. Patient. Insistent. And maybe my favorite. . . Relentless.
Albert Einstein, considered by many to be a genius, said this, “It’s not that I’m so smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer.” I encourage you to stay with your problems, pray through your pain and be relentless in your search for answers. Why? Because persistence pays!