We wanted to have a platform/patio in our back yard. I designed and drew it and we hired a contractor to build it. We got a deal from a local materials supplier, so we bought the stone for the floor and steps in bulk and stored it until we needed it. Everything was going swimmingly until I got a call from our contractor, Frank.
"Kim, I'm calling to let you know that we don't have enough of the stone for the floor and steps. We need 300 square feet and you only have 275."
In the past, this was just the sort of thing that would start to get me angry. I would say to myself, "Great, some architect you are. Can't even take-off the square footage of your own little patio. What an idiot!" That would be just the beginning. But, having recently been encouraged to exercise some self-control (a fruit of the spirit) I tried not to even sound upset. I said,
"That's ok, Frank, you were headed to the materials yard anyway, go ahead and pick up some more when you get there."
Problem solved. No fuming or fussing. Until the call came a couple of hours later:
"Uh, Kim, I'm here at the materials yard and they don't have any more of that stone that you bought...They checked their other store and they don't have it there either."
Another chance to be upset. Normally, this kind of thing would send me over the moon. The stone I had bought was actually mounted on a sort of plastic mesh. An unusually colored slate, it was manufactured specifically for this material supplier who only had two locations. On top of it all, I had purchased what I had on sale. There was a real chance that I wouldn't be able to use the stone I bought at all and that I would have to buy a whole different stone.
But, I had been studying some Scripture about anger and I remembered that Proverbs 14 says "He who is slow to anger has great understanding, But he who is quick-tempered exalts folly." I really wanted to get more understanding and I had been working on softening my spirit. I simply told Frank,
"Frank, don't worry about it. Come on back and we'll figure something else out."
They say that attitude is everything. I remember actually being self-aware that this was a test and that the outcome would depend on how I handled my attitude towards the situation. I remember feeling truly peaceful, not forced. Not like I was barely holding it together, but that I was a bigger better person than to let something as small as this get my goat. The phone rang again...
"Kim, I've got some good news!"
"You know how I told you that they didn't have any more of the stone here? Well, that was based on them checking the computer. As I was walking out, I thought 'I wonder if they actually checked the yard?' So, I asked them to check it and, sure enough, they found exactly the amount we need to finish the job."
"And, I have more good news!"
"What's better than that?"
"I told them who I was buying this for and they saw that you had purchased a large amount during the sale, so they're going to sell this to us at the sale price!"
So, my question is, "If God can make a man from mud, can he make stone from nothing?" I'm wondering if the computer was correct about there being no stock in the yard. I know people will think I'm crazy, but I imagined God poised, waiting to see my reaction to the bad news I was hearing and when He saw that my attitude was right, He materialized exactly the amount of stone I needed to finish my project. Everybody say "hmmmm"
I wish I could say that I always have control of my temper. I don't. But, I'm aware of the circumstances that lead to my losing it and do what I can to keep them in check. That's my story and I'm sticking to it...