Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Write in the MYSTERY genre (04/05/07)
TITLE: An Angel Did It (a true story)
By Suzanne R
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An envelope, neither crisp nor white, lay on the mottled writing surface of the artificial mahogany desk. The handwritten characters were clear: ‘Luo Suhui’. Tearing open the envelope, I slid out five crisp red 100 yuan notes. A small piece of paper fluttered after them. ‘Yesu ai ni; zhu ni shenti jiankang’. (‘Jesus loves you – may you enjoy good health.’)
It had to be the cleaning lady. Or maybe the boss. Or……
My doctor had ordered an expensive test. I tried to postpone it until after my next quarterly allowance came through two weeks later, but the wheels of the system were in progress. The doctor offered to advance the money herself if need be, but I declined. Having prayed long and hard, I shared with our ladies Bible Study group about the need for God to ‘do a miracle’ and provide 1000 yuan. I had even worked out how the miracle should come about. There are several new believers in that group and God often grants their prayerful requests. Later, I shared with my ex-patriate team mates the prayer need for God to ‘do a miracle’, since I’d considerately … or not … ‘set God up to be glorified’. Glorified He must be.
The next morning I arrived at work to find that envelope on my desk.
My assistant appeared at the door. “Teacher Luo, can I talk to you about that money you need?”
“’Shirley’, I was wanting to talk to you about exactly the same thing. What do you make of this?” I handed her the envelope. Her brown eyes crinkled in concentration as she examined the handwriting. As she examined ‘the evidence’, she curled her long dark hair around her slender finger, beautifully adorned with an unusual ring.
“I don’t recognize the writing. Could it be the cleaner?” The cleaner was part of our Bible Study group and she had been in the office early that morning. I earn far more than she does – why should she loan me money when I just don't budget for unexpected expenses? Shirley put the envelope down and reached into the pocket of her embroidered jeans. “Anyhow, I want to loan you some money. Here is another 500 yuan.” She quietly slipped the red notes into the envelope.
Overiding my vehement protests, Shirley retorted, “Look, I’m not even a Christian yet, but I know God told me to do this. Please don’t argue and just let me obey!”
Having had the tests, paid the even-higher-than-expected bill and then accepted a loan from my doctor friend for ‘daily life expenses to carry me over until the next quarter’, I had some serious thanking to do. But I still didn’t know who my anonymous benefactor was.
“Shirley, can you help me with something a bit different? I want to thank the person who gave me that money. Can you do some snooping around and then give them this card? I don’t need to know who it is. I just want to say thank you. And here is a card for you too.”
Shirley’s lovely face lit up with a broad smile. “You want me to be a detective – how fun!”
Two days later, Shirley pulled me aside. Her shoulders were hunched and eyelids lowered. “Teacher Luo, I have failed you. Nobody owns up to the gift. The boss says it must have been an angel. Here is the card back.”
The ladies in the Bible study group giggled and chattered like ladies anywhere in the world do. The card sat proudly on display on the table. “An angel did it?! Who is the angel?” I still suspected the cleaning lady but she, one of the most humble ladies I know, actually looked me in the eye as she declared her innocence. Cindy wanted to analyze the handwriting, but in God’s providence, I’d thrown the envelope away. This was a mystery I wasn’t sure I wanted solved.
Who is the angel? Our boss? Our cleaner? Somebody else?
Isn’t it so often the case that God listens to and answers the prayers of new believers? Shirley, who believes at a heart level but hasn’t yet publicly declared her faith, ‘sensed’ God’s clear direction and obeyed. My doctor, also in that group, gave me a loan. And as for the rest of the money that was needed, it was provided by an angel.
It’s a mystery. Thank you, God. Thank you, team. Thank you, dear angel.
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