Confession: I circled ceaselessly through the ins and outs of this question for three weeks.
Should I return the clothes? Should I keep them?
The question was entangled in so many other things I believe, or doubt.
Uncertainty: Am I living the life I ought?
Depression: How to go on living, enjoying life, while the world is so broken and ugly?
Charity: Should I live in personal poverty so that others may have something? I know I cannot change the injustices of the world. But I want to do with my own few dollars what I ought, regardless of how large (small) a change this creates.
Renunciation: Surprisingly, more than half of me would be very happy to live as a hermit with the basic essentials of life, nothing else. This is one of my pet fantasies, and not as holy as it appears.
Ingratitude: Am I rejecting the gifts God gave me, sheltering behind a veneer of holiness in wishing to carve out a simpler (more selfish) life? Is my desire for renunciation merely a way of clinging to the small life I desire, saying No to the larger life He asks of me?
After three weeks of this I was weary, stuck, and no closer to being able to sort it all out.
I decided to flip a coin, and ask the Lord to speak.
(What? You think this is flippant? Perhaps. But also a way of releasing to Him a decision I could not make alone.)
Heads: His glory with glory. Tails: His glory with sacrifice.
Heads I keep, tails I return.
I dug a penny out of my purse. A poor man’s coin. I held it in my hand and it had been so long since I flipped a coin that I worried I would be able to catch it at all. I decided to do a single trial run for the technique, then throw the decision-making flip.
I set it on my thumb, flipped it, caught it, inverted it on my other hand, paused. Okay, I can do it. I didn’t mean to look at the trial run result at all, but I did by mistake: Heads.
Oh Lord. It won’t be heads two times in a row, and I will need to give up my purchases.
Before I flipped the coin again I shook it up in my hands, praying, and He did not make me feel silly like I deserved. Without looking I set the penny on my thumb. Heads again.
I flipped. Caught. Inverted. Opened my hand.
His glory with glory.
I don’t want to read too much into this little test of the Lord, but simply recognize what is. For some reason He has given me the life of a rich lady in America, with ample to feed my children, to clothe my body, to share with others—while many starve and thirst and go naked around the world.
Questions remain, nagging. But I accept this answer, and pray for the grace to live it well…
…yet still to sacrifice more
so that others may live.