It was the 15th of December of last year when Virna and I decided to take the train to attend the 11:30 AM Hillsong service. We wanted to drop by Paddy’s Market on our way home, which was going to be difficult with a car (knowing how expensive parking could get in the city).
Being the skinny jeans fan that I am, I found it incredibly hard to fit my wallet into any of my “pockets” that day. Fellow fans would understand why.
A few disclaimers here:
- My wallet was stuffed because of receipts and other useless pieces of paper; the caption is by no means indicative of how much money I carry with me (or own thereof).
- I wear Bench skinny jeans. If this passes as Designer, then the world is not judgmental (this is hardly the case).
With the situation at hand I asked Virna to keep my wallet in her bag to keep it safe. We merrily chatted our way to Central station, but midway through we had to move to another seat to let a passenger get past us (he was sitting at the window side). We made it just in time to catch the free bus service from Central to the campus.
So we arrived at the Hillsong service all pumped up and ready to soak in the word of God. We sang the praise songs as loudly and lively as we always do (when we’re not hungry), and listened intently to the message shared by Pastor Brian via a live videocast. The message was about the common tensions in Church life: Comfort vs Calling, Inclusive or Exclusive, Grace-filled versus Condemning. It would have been a brilliant message if I actually heard it until the end. Unfortunately, by the time the message was being wrapped up, Virna popped the question that sent shivers down my spine (yes, shivers talaga).
I reached for my back and side pockets and found no sign of my wallet; I looked below my seat and hers, but didn’t find it there either.
And so I thought she was just kidding. I was forcing a laugh to at least make her feel I appreciated a good joke. But when I saw the panic on her face, I knew that she was in it for real.
Then everything was a blur. I remember watching Pastor Brian mutely fade away from the large video screen, still in denial that my wallet was now lost somewhere in the huge city of Sydney.
Before the crowd even stood up to exit the auditorium, we found ourselves already on our feet running towards the Hillsong bus, in hope that the kind lady driver found it and kept it in safety. And, as a real testimony of my multi-tasking ability, my right hand was at the same time also busy dialing CBA and NAB to cancel my cards.
Some 20kph sprint and a heart rate of 150 later, we confirmed that it wasn’t in the bus. The most likely case then was that we dropped it in the train, when we moved seats to allow a kuya get past us. We immediately headed off to the Central railway office but still to no avail; despite the massive pile of lost and found valuables that they were keeping, my wallet wasn’t there. As a side note, someone left in the train a backpack whose contents were a Macbook Pro, an SLR camera, a wallet, and a wi-fi dongle. It made me wonder what the poor guy was going through that caused him to forget half of his personal properties in the train. If you’re that guy, I was happy to bless you. 🙂
Finally giving up our search for the day, I was left imagining my wallet carried all the way to the far western regions of NSW, all alone, cold, and vulnerable. Inside were my credit cards, driver’s license, Medicare, ID /reward cards, a $10 and a P1,000 bill. I couldn’t do anything else at that time but to pray. In fact I realized that it should have been the first thing that I’ve done.
“Dear God, pakihanap po ang wallet ko. In Jesus’ Name”. Then suddenly I heard God respond with “In two hours”. I wanted to believe it was God actually saying “Yes” to my prayer. However, with me already on my way home, there was but a small chance of that happening.
A couple of weeks later, I had finally gotten through the entire cycle of acceptance (by getting all my cards cancelled and replaced). That two-week period gave me a strangely liberating feeling of being cash-less and credit-less. It almost felt like I was a grade school student again whose “baon” was counted to the last centavo. I also learned to be vulnerable and independent of money, and allowed me to cut back on my Christmas shopping expense as well (valid excuse for being stingy!). And capping off that cycle was a new wallet given by Virna as Christmas gift. A much better one than what I lost.
I then flew out for my Christmas holiday in the Philippines, which turned out to be incredibly AMAZING! Read the details here. What I didn’t mention though, was that a few days before the New Year, I received an SMS from my housemate (who stayed in Sydney over the holidays) saying that I received a mail from the police. My initial reaction was panic; all those times when I haven’t necessarily followed the pedestrian lights came flashing by. I asked my friend to take a photo of it for me and what I read sent shivers down my spine (yes, shivers talaga again).
Shock, disbelief, confusion, and incredible joy followed. Just when I had given up all hopes to find my not-so-long lost wallet, this was God saying, “I did say Yes to your prayer, didn’t I?”
As soon as I landed back in Sydney, I drove to the police station to claim my wallet that I’ve missed dearly. My wallet was in perfect condition with everything still inside, you’d see the P1,000 bill peeking out. 🙂 I asked the lady police for details on who returned it, but the kind stranger chose to remain anonymous. She did say though that the wallet was surrendered to them on the 15th of December, sometime in the evening. That same day when I lost it, around that time when God said it was going to be found.
I’ve seen miracles happen before my eyes, sometimes in the least expected ways. But this was the first time that God actually spoke to me about it, and it did happen. Was it a coincidence? Maybe. Although the odds of this being the case are too tiny. So I choose to believe that this was God’s mighty hand at work. Because when He says Yes, He really means Yes.
To God be all the Glory.
“For all of God’s promises have been fulfilled in Christ with a resounding “Yes!” And through Christ, our “Amen” (which means “Yes”) ascends to God for His glory.
-2 Corinthians 1:20 (NLT)