Oompa-Loompa Wisdom

I am white… not as an ethnicity (although technically that is true too)… but rather as a very pale, ghostly winterish shade of hiding under sweaters for the last 6 months white. I was especially white sitting next to my darling mother today who has just returned from a glorious beach vacation. “Wow, look how tan I am,” she rejoiced as she held her beautifully golden arm next to my, what all of a sudden appeared to have turned bluish-white, arm. It was a very cool day here in Tulsa, so maybe that’s why I appeared a little blue…. or maybe it’s just my skin crying out for sunshine. So far, the distress signal has gone unnoticed as we have had rain everyday for the last two weeks. Will summer ever come?

Last week, as I was thinking about my brilliant whiteness and praying for summer, I decided to try to do something about it. I hate tanning beds and had recently watched a movie where they had gone for mystic tans. Of course in the movie (Bride Wars), the tanning goes horribly wrong with Anne Hathaway’s milky white skin going an awful Oompa-Loompa-ish orange, but I felt optimistic about my chance of success. I decided to make an appointment for a mystic tan.

I organized with Matt to have the children and dressed in a hideous getup to protect my skin after the mystic tan. Apparently, very bad things will happen to your skin if you get it wet after mystic tan, and unfortunately for me, it was still raining in Tulsa. So, covered in a huge rain jacket, pants, long sleeve shirt, socks and shoes and no makeup, I arrived at the Tanning Salon. The teenager working behind the counter took me through the paperwork and then started on an extensive tour of the salon. I’ll spare you the details, it was really only the ending that I remember anyway… the part where she says, “The best deal for you is to get a month membership because mystic tan only lasts for 5-7 days.” 5-7 DAYS!!! I thought it would at least last for a month. “For how much?” I hesitantly inquired… “$30 for a single application. But you can join for a month for $75,” the girl added cheerfully.

Now, I had gone to great lenths to be at this appointment. I was excited to have color on my skin, even if it was fake color. I had even been praying all week asking the Lord to provide for my mystic tan. It really was the desire of my heart, and I knew it was a small thing for the Lord. Yet as I stood there and realized the stupidity of paying $30 for a tan that would last for a week, everything became clear. “I’m so sorry,” I said to the girl,” but I need to cancel my appointment.” I felt silly, I felt a little dissapointed, but I also felt really peaceful. And as I walked down the steps to my car, I felt the Lord speak these words to my heart, “See, I provided.” I just started laughing. He did provide. Only, He didn’t provide the money, He provided me with wisdom. God knew my real need, and He answered my prayer.

There are so many times when God’s provision doesn’t come in the form that we are expecting and asking. He is absolutely faithful to take care of His children, but sometimes His answer is to give us the wisdom to walk away from a situation that is just a financial drain. There are times when you absolutely need a financial miracle, but that miracle may come in the wisdom to handle your finances better. Or that miracle may come in the form of additional work. I love how God takes care of us, because He does it from outside of our box with the perfect view of the big picture of our lives. Who knows, in His perfect big picture of my life, maybe He knew that my skin would turn oompa-loompa orange with mystic tan, or maybe He just knew that the lesson that I learned through that experience was infinitely more valuable than a $30 tan.

Whatever the reason, I know that God was working for my good in all of it. I asked Him to provide, I gave Him the desires of my heart, and in including Him in that process, I allowed the miraculous to be part of the frivolous. After all, mystic tan is not high on the priority list in the budget. It’s actually a total waste of money, but God didn’t say “No.” He could have put a check in my spirit about it, but He didn’t. Rather, He took the opportunity to teach me a wonderful lesson of faith and His provision, and I left that salon closer to Him and rejoicing that He had provided. I wasn’t tan, but I was totally content.

Even today, as I looked at my blue-white skin next to my Mom’s golden glow, I remembered again His “provision” at the Tanning salon and it just made me smile. Maybe God likes me pale… well, that seems like a stretch. I think He just likes me listening, and asking, and including Him. He likes being in relationship with me, and in that relationship comes everything I have need of, whether that is peace, or patience, or finances, or grace for a situation, or wisdom. He doesn’t just GIVE me what I need. He IS what I need and in relationship, He gives me Himself for my need. That is why God isn’t a vending machine, and faith isn’t making out my Christmas wish list of desires. Faith is believing that He IS and that He is a rewarder of those that diligently seek Him. (Hebrews 11:6) In other words, I believe in God and His goodness, and He comes into my situation and brings His goodness for my needs. He doesn’t “reward” us with stuff. He “rewards” us with Himself.

So even though I didn’t get what I thought I wanted, I got more of God. I had a great laugh feeling His peace and presence all the way home from the tanning salon, and my heart was totally happy. I learned a wonderful lesson and my heart opened up in trust even more. He is so good and He only gives good gifts to His children. Who knows? Maybe His good gift to me was that my Mom didn’t lean over today and say to me, “Wow, look how brown I am next to your orange arms.” When I needed His provision, He provided me with wisdom, and I think there may be some areas where that is God’s answer for your need too. Because without His wisdom, we are all just one bad decision away from Oompa-Loompa land.