In my hope, if not zeal, to move forward in the Lord and better prepare to serve, I picked a challenging book from my shelf, ‘Studies in the Sermon on the Mount’ by Martyn Lloyd-Jones. It is a lengthy volume, nearly 700 pages, each chapter full of godly wisdom, inspiration, and scriptural insights.
At the same time, I happen to send books out to an elderly Hispanic couple, Pastor Alfred and Edna Fernandez*, relatives of my husband. These are also godly books, written by another beloved Bible teacher, Zac Poonen. Edna’s books I sent from my home however Pastor Alfred’s were ordered through a church as they were Spanish translations.
Ten days later, Edna’s books are lost in the mail and oddly, the PayPal payment for Pastor Alfred’s books remains “pending”, unable to process. It was a $10 purchase, from Fellowship Church, with a memo to payee, “for books ordered for Alfred Fernandez”. PayPal sent me an email indicating that, due to security measures, they cannot forward payment as requested. They required documentation, such as the DOB of Alfred Fernandez.
W H A T ? This must be some computer glitch in their system. I was sure this would be cleared up when PayPal office opened Monday morning.
Meanwhile, I read and reviewed the first chapters of Lloyd-Jones book, “…The meek man likewise does not demand anything for himself. He does not take all his rights as claims. He does not make demands for his position, his privileges, his possessions, his status in life…He is not always on the defensive….” We’re not only to avoid anger, but control our lips and speech. Of course, the chapter was chock full of more and woven into the ‘Poor in Spirit’ and ‘Those Who Mourn’ chapters. Altogether humbling and worthy of much meditation and self examination.
Monday morning, after reviewing my chapters, I called PayPal, and inquired about pending payment and their “required documentation”. “Why does this remain ‘pending’?” The rep replied, “this is a security matter”. A security matter? “I am paying a church ten dollars for books going to an elderly pastor, what’s the security issue here?” When the matter became futile, I asked for a supervisor. Surely this would be cleared up when further reviewed.
“I see from the notes here that you’re calling about a pending payment. It is under investigation for security reasons.”
“This is so bizarre! I am sending ten dollars to a church to pay for books sent to an elderly pastor. I only mentioned it in the payee memo for clarity. How can this be a security issue? And why did PayPal email me, requiring personal information for the name on the memo? How could that be relevant to my purchase?”
“I cannot tell you more, it is a government stipulation.”
“A government stipulation? What’s the government stipulation?’
“I’m not at liberty to share that information. If you want further information, you’ll need to contact our legal department with a subpoena.”
“What, I need a lawyer? I can’t believe what I’m hearing. Can you just cancel the payment?”
“No, it can’t be canceled.”
“W A I T one minute here. My payment cannot be cancelled, cannot be processed; it is being investigated for “security reasons” based on a “government stipulation” and I’m not allowed to know what this government stipulation is? I’m required to give personal information on a name noted on the payee memo – what if I wrote ‘books ordered for Joe Biden?'”
If I had any meekness, it surely quickly drained….I went on…
“Let me ask YOU,” I feel the hammer in my voice, “What do you think? Do you personally agree that this is normal and right that…
- I ordered books from a church for an elderly pastor. I indicated for payee what the payment was for.
- PayPal requires me to send documents with the book recipient’s personal information.
- Sending ten dollars to a church started an investigation, based on a “government stipulation” to which I must comply but I am not allowed to know what it is.
- And, if I want to know what this ‘government stipulation is’ I must get a lawyer and file an subpoena.
- I cannot cancel the payment, nor can it be processed.
“Now let me ask you, do you yourself think this is reasonable? Do you yourself agree with this?”
“Yes,” she replied, “I do”.
“You do? You really agree with this? Agh, fine! Keep the pending payment on my account forever, for the rest of my life. I can easily send a check to this church and pay for these books!”
Even as I was pounding these points, my heart was pressed with these points: Firstly, just mentioning words like ‘church’, and ‘pastor’ brings a connotation of ‘Christian’. Am I sounding like a representative of Christ? Secondly, while this is appears totally unreasonable and unjust, this is nothing at all compared to the ‘government stipulations’ that will come with an antichrist government, especially against the church, pastors, and brethren.
Dr. Lloyd-Jones also writes, “Meekness is compatible with great strength. Meekness is compatible with great authority and power…defenders of the truth. The martyrs were meek, but they were never weak…”
Perhaps my position was right, but my delivery was not meek. Having failed the meekness test, I suppose I need stay in that class until I pass the next test!
Oh Lord, help me to prepare for days to come and for Your return!