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"There's always hope" by Claire McGarry (CatholicMom.com) Via Pixabay (2016), CC0 Public Domain[/caption] I went to the bank a few weeks ago to cash some checks. What I thought would be a five-minute errand turned into an hour of deep confusion and stress. To make a long story short, the teller and I discovered that my credit card company had cashed the same exact check twice: once in November, and then again in June. The ripple effect was: My account was put very much into the red, checks were bouncing everywhere, my overdraft account was activated, and subsequent penalties and fines were accruing daily. The teller was very sympathetic and printed out all the transactions for me. The manager was not. His comments were, "There's nothing we can do for you. It's a third-party vendor issue. You'll have to fight with your credit card company." Then, to really kick me when I was down, he added, "It's a mess. It could take weeks to resolve." In an almost sarcastic tone, he ended with, "Good luck." I drove away from the bank in complete despair. I could hear "cha-ching, cha-ching" as I thought about the penalties and fees that were accumulating daily. My head was pounding thinking about the weeks of battle that lay ahead. With my back up against a financial wall, it took everything I had to fend off a full-on panic attack.
He had him (Peter) put in prison under the guard of four squads of four solders each ... Peter, secured by double chains, was sleeping between two soldiers, while outside the door, guards kept watch on the prison. (Acts 12:4 & 6)
After Peter was arrested, sixteen guards watched over him. He was double-chained and had to sleep between two soldiers. Talk about feeling like your back is up against a wall! At the same time, "Prayer by the church was fervently being made to God on his behalf" (v. 5). It was that prayer, Peter's unfailing hope, and God's deep love and compassion that sent an angel of the Lord to break Peter out of jail. Peter and the Angel walked right by all those guards without the guards even noticing. Peter's story illustrates that even the hopelessly impossible is possible with God. As I drove home, feeling helpless and hopeless, I recalled a Living Faith reflection I'd just read where the author prayed "Jesus, I trust in You" in hopeless times. I began to pray it, over and over like a mantra, for the rest of the drive. I prayed it, over and over, as I pulled into my garage. I prayed it, over and over, while I dialed the phone to call the credit card company. The more I prayed it, the more I felt my hope being restored. I had no idea how things were going to shake out, but I became certain that Jesus had my back. The end result was: I got the kindest customer service rep, and then manager, who bent over backwards for me. Not only did they immediately start the refund process for the check and fees incurred, but they credited a chunk of money to my account as a courtesy for my troubles. The call ended with them saying, "If you incur any more fees, please call us back for an additional refund." As I hung up the phone, I realized something: That bank manager, who'd painted the situation in brush strokes of such hopelessness, didn't know that I knew God. In times of crisis, financial or otherwise, things can look bleak. But when we choose to trust in Jesus, rather than giving in to despair, His hand of hope always reaches out and pulls us through.

Copyright 2018 Claire McGarry