Tammy the Timeless Teller

Reading today Psalm 59 and John 4:27-38, 43-54

Doris and I were at the funeral home last night. We sat for a long time with a couple we have not seen for years. They were our best friends in college. We lived in the married students’ apartments at the bottom of the campus at Trevecca. Doris and I lived on the second floor and Paul and Honey Vee lived on the first floor, one breezeway over. We were inseparable. Sharing supper several nights a week. Playing Rook (Nazarene poker) most weekends. Paul and I learned to scuba dive together.

We were poor back then and didn’t know it. When one of us came into some windfall, like our parents sending us forty bucks, we would share that and go out together. They were rare occasions and Doris and Honey Vee made a big deal of them. They would dress up. We would load into Paul’s Chevrolet Biscayne and we would take our brides to some really upscale restaurant like Shoney’s and then go to night court for free entertainment.

Let me pause for a minute and say this was right about the time that 3rd National Bank came out with an amazing invention called the bank card. You could stop at Tammy the Timeless Teller (ask your parents) and get money right out of the wall. Unbelievable. It was an idea we were sure would never last but we took advantage if it anyway.

One Saturday night, the girls got all dolled up and we headed out for a night on the town. Paul’s parents had deposited a little money in his account so we stopped at Kroger on Murfreesboro Road to see Tammy. The girls stayed in the car, looking fine. Paul and I go inside to get the loot when Paul has a great idea. “Hey,” he says, “See if you can guess my pin number.” I punch in four digits and he says, “Man, you got three right. Try again.” I change one of the numbers, the wrong one, and Paul says, “No, only two right. Try one more time.” I use my best ESP and try one more time. This time Tammy speaks, “We’re sorry. You have failed three times to enter the right code. For your protection, your card will be kept. You can claim it at any 3rd National Bank on Monday.”

We have no cash, no bank card, and two very dolled up, very ticked off girls in a Chevrolet Biscayne in the parking lot. It was not the all time best weekend of our college experience. To this day just the mention of Tammy the Timeless Teller can send Doris over the edge.

Paul’s father died this weekend and we sat with he and Honey Vee at the funeral home. Sometimes God comes through in miraculous ways. He spits out answers to prayer like an ATM machine. Our kid gets healed. Our enemies are silenced. That promotion comes through. At other times, He allows nature to take its course. He seems to leave us to our own devices. He trusts us to endure hardship and “count it all joy.” (James 1:2) I don’t know why that is. I don’t know why parents die when the week before they seemed so healthy. Why brothers get ALS and aren’t healed. Why we lose jobs and suffer heartbreak and get attacked by former friends. I don’t understand all that stuff.

But I do know this. We sing it at church. He’s a good, good Father. That’s who He is. That’s who He is. And I’m loved by Him. That’s who I am. That’s who I am. Psalm 59:17 says, “You are my strength, I sing praise to You. You, God, are my fortress. My God on whom I can rely.” His answer is not always exactly what I want. “His ways are not my ways.” But He has never left me sitting outside in a Chevrolet Biscayne. I can rely on Him. He’s a good, good Father. And He doesn’t make us pick numbers.

I just thought you might need to hear that today.

See you tomorrow.


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