Strong Finish

“I prayed for a money bonus,” she said as I walked through the living room.

“A bonus?”

“Yes. I asked God to send me extra money as a way to practice using my words and faith. I want to see if it will work.”

My daughter wasn’t asking out of a need but to build her walk with God. I didn’t know what that was like. I always asked heaven for financial help to pay a bill, and so far, so good.

Her request was a bit beyond mine, and I had never thought to pray for something I wasn’t in a crisis for because I thought that was the rule. Don’t you have to have an emergency to wring a drop of help from above?

“I’m just putting it out there to see what happens.”

“So is this bonus like at the casino where the machine launches you into that extra thing? You play the regular game, and then it suddenly takes you to a different screen to accumulate more?” I had watched her do that numerous times.

“Yes. That’s why I am saying it’s a bonus, and it’s an add-on to what I already have.”

With Christmas around the corner, my thought was her chances were pretty high that someone would give her a gift, possibly money.

But, the holidays came and went, and her prayer went unfulfilled. I forgot all about it, and she didn’t mention it to me again.

She doesn’t like clutter, but she often gets very busy with her career, so her room and workspaces can be a mess.

During the first week of January, she declared one morning that she would straighten up her room. It had gotten to the point of overload where she was feeling confined. Just like me, this process feels like an evil necessity. I don’t want to do it, but I know I will love it when I walk in the door to be surprised as if a maid had magically appeared. She would thank herself later for taking the time now.

I began my day when I heard,

“Mom! Oh my gosh! MOTHER!”

It was one of those statements where I was in her room and didn’t recall how I got there that fast.

“What’s wrong?”

She was standing by her bookshelves, holding two $50 bills.

“Did you find that?”

When both my girls tidy up, they always find a small lost treasure, like a couple of extra dollars or a piece of jewelry.

“This wasn’t here before.”

She kept looking at each hand.

“What?”

“Remember how I asked for a money bonus? I didn’t put a time on it or an amount. I was cleaning that top shelf, and these were folded neatly there.”

The space she spoke of was high, and no one had been in her room or in our house to do this.

I took one of the brand new bills from her hand. It had that new smell, and the paper wasn’t worn. Like it had been freshly printed.

Even though she knew it would eventually manifest, her shock was quite evident.

“I know it works now.”

“Put it to work for me,” I said.

In the summer, we went to the track. She took the money with her because she had intended that it would be used for something entertaining. As each race ended, her money was dwindling. Her picks weren’t coming to fruition, and I could see her irritation rising. She isn’t accustomed to losing, and while she looked serene to the outside world, I sensed the frustration. Her mind was making her believe that all was not going her way.

As we approached the machine to make her guesses for the final race, she said with much annoyance,

“I am here to have fun! And I’m getting all my money back right now!”

I watched her fingers fly across the touch screen as she decided to play the trifecta. This meant she had to correctly predict the horses that would come in to win, place and show, and it was an all-or-nothing chance. She didn’t bat an eyelash as she punched it in and hastily grabbed the printout.

We had some time to wait, and she said again,

“I’m getting it all back! Right now!”

There was a tone in her voice that meant she wasn’t backing off believing that she could. Like when Jesus flipped tables kind of energy.

The horses lined up, and the bell rang. We watched the screen to see how it would all end. I wasn’t even sure who she had bet on because she hadn’t told me.

She calmly watched as all three of her picks eased across the finish line in the exact order she had set.

At the collection window, she was given back all of her bonus money.

She had won the trifecta once before, so she had the confidence that she could do it again. That made all the difference when the mood went from downcast to “nothing can stop me from accomplishing this.”

In Jeremiah 17:7-8 it says,

But blessed is the man who trusts God,
the woman who sticks with God.
They’re like trees replanted in Eden,
putting down roots near the rivers.
Never a worry through the hottest of summers,
never dropping a leaf,
Serene and calm through droughts,
bearing fresh fruit every season.

It looked like she was going to lose it all, but she came out the winner.

You and I are running a race with God cheering us on. We get to decide how we proceed. Will we do it with joy, peace, and faith? Or do we go with a double mind mentality and doubt? My daughter put no parameters on her prayer, and she just flung it out there on a whim to see what would transpire and let it go. It all came to pass, and we all have that power.

No horse limped across the line. They were in their best shape, charging forward with the end in mind. Are you doing that? Are you inwardly driven to victory?

2 Timothy 4:7 says:

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.

Determine to have a strong finish.