These are two words you never want to hear anywhere, at anytime of the year, but maybe never more so than when Christmas shopping. You can picture the scene, can’t you, dear reader? Long lines, tired check out staff trying valiantly to keep the lines moving and customers happy. People watching their watches (does anyone wear a watch anymore or should I have said phones?). Customers long on to-do lists and short on patience in this season of peace and goodwill toward all.
So you can imagine my shock and dismay when, after carefully selecting some gifts for family and friends and waiting patiently for my opportunity to check out and move on to the next thing on my own to-do list, my credit card was declined not once but three times. I was baffled as I’d just used it a few hours earlier with no problem and didn’t have much on it anyway, well below my credit limit.
Actually there was a warning that all was not going to go well, that technology was once again out to get me, but I only recognized it as such in hindsight. (isn’t that always the way?) The first thing the clerk asked me was my phone number, which brought up a guy living in L.A. Wrong gender, wrong city, wrong state. So living across the country from me is a guy with my phone number? How is this possible? This is not a comforting thought. Perhaps I should give him a call? But I digress. . .
So we were not off to a good start, technology and I. Let the games begin. Now after investing my time and effort in carefully selecting these various gifts for specific individuals, being pleased with my purchases and satisfied I’d found special and unique gifts AND waiting in line, I was not about to let technology win! So, I ran the card again with the same unanticipated result; TRANSACTION DECLINED. Now what? I did not have any cash, (I never do), nor any other cards with me.
Was I hearing sounds of impatience behind me? Was I now “that” person in the checkout line that the other customers would later talk about as they explained to whomever why they had taken so long at the store? Maybe they should thank me for giving them a valid explanation for their delay. But what to do next? I was not going to leave my gifts behind. I was committed.
My next move was to get customer service for my credit card on the phone, which I did, succeeding in getting a live person on the other end of the line in a relatively short time. And who says miracles are no more? But something else was happening before my very eyes as I tried to explain my situation to the kind voice on the other end of the line. There were three check out stations and everyone’s card was being declined! I kid you not. I felt such relief and joy, it wasn’t just me. I wasn’t alone, I wasn’t the problem. Technology was attacking everyone, not just me. I wasn’t “that” customer anymore, I was every customer.
While this made me feel better, it didn’t solve my problem. Since the problem was with the store’s system, my credit card company couldn’t help me. At this point the only cards being used successfully were the store’s own credit cards. Some customers paid cash and some used their store card but I didn’t have either option. At this point I was the only one left at the register. That’s when I decided to apply for a store card. How hard could it be? And how long could it take? I was committed by this time to whatever it took to leave the store WITH my purchases.
By this time they had shut the system down in order to reboot it. Another customer, unaware of what drama had just taken place, approached check out and completed a successful transaction on the “newly booted” system, giving hope to myself and other customers. The clerk suggested I try again and miraculously mine went through as I had come to assume it always would. I saw those welcome words on the key pad, “transaction approved”. But what a wake up call. I was reminded of what I already knew, that I cannot count on technology. She is fickle. My transactions can be declined at anytime, anywhere, without any notice or warning. I ended up winning this round, but what about the next one? I don’t want to live in fear of the”declined transaction”, just when I need gas, groceries or am paying the bill after eating out somewhere. Maybe I can find a support group or form one of my own?
Then it occurred to me how grateful I am that my most important, vital transactions are never declined, ever. Because my most important transactions/requests are with my Creator God, my Heavenly Father. “For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile – the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on Him. for, ‘Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” (Ro. 10:12-13)
This assurance is made clear to me in Luke 23:42-43 when one of the criminals hanging on a cross next to Jesus says, “‘Jesus, remember me when you come into Your kingdom.’ Jesus answered him, ‘ I tell you the truth, today you will be with Me in paradise.'” Transaction approved.
I John 1:9 tells us, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” again, transaction approved.
“If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.” transaction approved (James 1:5)
Jesus said, “If you remain in Me and My words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you.” transaction approved (John 15:7)
“Yet to all who received Him, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God-” transaction approved (John 1:12)
“I sought the Lord, and He answered me; He delivered me from all my fears.” transaction approved (Psalm 34:4)
“He who did not spare His own Son, but gave Him up for us all- how will He not also, along with Him , graciously give us all things?” all transactions approved (Ro. 8:32)
So there it is, with my Heavenly Father I need not wonder if I will end up with a “declined transaction”. Psalm 84:11 tells me, “For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor; no good thing does He withhold from those whose walk is blameless.”
I can count on my Heavenly Father. He never slumbers nor sleeps, so His servers are never down. He can always be reached to approve a transaction. He is faithful even when I am unfaithful. My requests for salvation, forgiveness, wisdom, mercy, eternal life with Him will not come back, “transaction declined”. He is not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.
“For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
TRANSACTION APPROVED !
sincerely, Grace Day