The Jammed Drawer :: Gospel Fellowship Association Missions

The Jammed Drawer

Tom Franzen
2:39 read

When my wife and I arrived in Tirana, Albania, there was civil unrest. We heard gunfire day and night, and bandits robbed vans and buses on the roads. Because of the turmoil, most businesses closed, including banks. Therefore, all transactions were cash.

We didn't have many hiding places in our partially furnished apartment. So, I taped extra money to the back of a drawer in a cabinet. It sat next to a large table that held our radio modem, printer, and computer. Both pieces of furniture came with the apartment.

One Sunday, just as we were getting ready to leave for an evening service, we heard a loud, impatient pounding on the door. Our landlord's brother's father-in-law was demanding we return his table and cabinet. This furniture did not belong to our landlord, as we were previously told. No, it belonged to the impatient man outside with a cart and donkey, yelling, "Hurry, hurry. Come on, let's go! It's getting dark." I protested that we were leaving for the evening church service, and the cabinet and table were filled with our stuff. “Not our problem,” they said. “Hurry!”

Exasperated, we removed our things and put them on the floor. I was angry at their rudeness and wanted to throw the cabinet and table off the balcony to them. However, this would create a great hindrance to any future ministry.  So instead, I carried the furniture pieces down and walked to church angry. 

I returned home calmer at 10:30 that night. But then a voice in my head said, "the money." Oh no. I felt sick and rushed downstairs to talk to the landlord. I couldn't say I left money in the cabinet because I would never see it again. So instead, I casually mentioned I had l some important papers in the cabinet. Could I go retrieve them in the morning? His brother calmly said, "there is nothing in the drawers. We pulled them all out." 

My heart sank. The landlord’s brother was untrustworthy, coveted power and money, and would never acknowledge money in the cabinet. Wow, I thought. This will create significant problems between the brother, the father-in-law, and the rest of the family living below. There would be lies, denial, and shame. All these thoughts ran through my mind, and I prayed a short prayer, "now what do I do, Lord?" 

The brother saw my mind racing and said, "there was one drawer that didn't open." I'm sure my eyes widened, and my expression changed because I could see him turn very curious. I asked if I could go and look for myself, and the landlord, who was a decent guy, said that he could get the neighbor to drive me at sunrise. I agreed, knowing that I wasn't going to sleep much anyway. At about 4:45 am, the landlord came upstairs with the neighbor, and we jumped in the car, but before we left, I saw the landlord's brother jump on a bicycle and hurry away. My stomach felt queasy again, and I prayed that the Lord would let me arrive before him. If he beat us, I knew he would take the money and claim the cabinet was empty.

The road had huge craters, so the driver was slow. The brother on the bike was way ahead. I imagined the brother smiling, saying the cabinet was empty. I continued to pray. Then, we saw the road covered in 10 inches of water from the previous night's rain. The landlord's brother desperately looked for a way around, but there wasn't any. As we passed him, I thanked God. What a strange race.

Ten minutes later, I saw the brother 50 yards behind us pedaling hard. We arrived at a partially constructed house. Inside the open house sat the cabinet on a large pile of dirt with drawers strewn about. Why did they need it so urgently? I quickly went over, reached behind the drawer where the money was taped, ripped it from the drawer, and shoved it in my shirt. I thanked God for looking after us. I also thanked him for placing this cabinet on an uneven hill, which caused that particular drawer to bind. My landlord waited at the door and asked me, "are we good," and I said, "yes, good." Just as we started to walk towards the gate, his exhausted brother arrived, annoyed and silent. I returned home with enough money for the next month.

Thankfully, weeks later, the American Express office opened, and we could get our regular funds. God knew our needs and showed us that He will provide and protect us in difficulties. Praise His Name.

Psalm 50:15 “And call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me” (KJV).


Photo by Julian Hochgesang from Unsplash