Psalms 37:1-18; 19-42
This past fall I had the immense opportunity of being able to study abroad at Oxford. However, about a month before I returned to the States, my wallet, and everything in it, was stolen. It's funny how much you can take the little things in life for granted. It's funny how much silly little green paper can stress you out. All of a sudden, I went from being able to go out whenever I wanted to having to ration everything I was eating for the next three weeks. If I was hungry or tired, I couldn't go out and buy a sandwich or a latte. I couldn't go out with my friends to restaurants, pubs, coffee shops, or concerts. At first, I was angry and frustrated -- how could my last month at Oxford be ruined like this? Why did I have to be suddenly plagued with so much worry and stress, especially with final papers rolling around?
But when it comes right down to it, God really does provide in times of trouble. Although my wallet was stolen, my passport and my library card weren't -- so I could still complete my academic work, and I could still come home in December. And I was never really without support systems -- my friends were willing to loan me money, and my parents sent me some in the mail. My very last day in Oxford, I even found a hundred dollar bill that I'd tucked away and forgotten about, so I could buy a bus ticket to the airport to come home and even do some Christmas shopping. Even in the midst of this temporary ugliness, God was there in the background, taking care of me in ways I needed the most.
But what was most valuable to me about the whole experience was that in the midst of the holiday season, which is so often plighted by consumerism and excess, it was humbling to have to be purposeful and deliberate about every single little thing I did and bought. After wandering around Oxford for days with my stomach growling with hunger pangs, spending five dollars on a meal for a homeless person rather than on a latte suddenly made more sense to me than ever before.