Minutes to Spare

Minutes to Spare

This story illustrates not only our Lord’s gracious intervention in the lives of his kids—it also demonstrates his mercy to one who in NO way deserved it!

E and I had long-term care insurance policies whose premiums we paid twice a year. That was my job, and I sucked at it. The insurance company, Allianz, provided a 65-day grace period after the due date for the premium. If they did not receive payment by the end of that grace period, the policy was cancelled. Nearly every payment from me was toward the end of the grace period. I was (and remain!) totally disorganized.

I was aware that I needed to send a check to Allianz pretty soon, because the end of the grace period was approaching within a couple of weeks or so. But I had a lot of other stuff going on, and that task remained off my radar.

I returned to our house after running errands for most of a Thursday afternoon. As soon as I walked in the door, the Holy Spirit spoke to me:

“Do not go upstairs to greet E (in our office, as usual, doing biblical research).          

Do not get a snack. Do nothing other than call Allianz about your premium. Now!”

I didn’t understand the urgency, since I knew I still had plenty of time to get our payments to Allianz; but I did as I was told. I couldn’t find the invoices (alas, that was typical for me), so I simply called the company. I asked the friendly young woman to tell me our policy numbers, the precise amounts of the checks I should send, the address, etc. Then I asked her to check exactly when the grace period ended. She disappeared from the phone for a minute or so. Her voice was rather shaky when she returned:  “The grace period ends tomorrow. I’m sorry, but we’ll need to receive your payments by tomorrow afternoon. . .”

I had been wrong about that two-week estimate!

I panicked. It was shortly before 5:00 p.m.  I knew without asking that it was too late for sending an overnight letter via the Postal Service. I asked E to call FedEx to find out the latest time I could get something to them for next-day delivery. The answer was 5:30. In the meantime, I found the checkbook and made out a check for each of us, writing our account numbers on them. (At this late date, Allianz would not accept payment by credit card.)

I ran to our car and headed for the FedEx Shipping Center in north Urbana, several miles away, arriving around 5:20. A couple of people were in line ahead of me.

I finally was able to hand the FedEx clerk my filled-out form and the appropriate overnight envelope, paying her in cash. She assured me that the envelope would definitely arrive at its destination in Minneapolis the following day—Friday, the last day of our grace period.

It was 5:28 p.m. Two minutes to spare.

God could have let it go. It was my mistake. I had been irresponsible, disorganized, lazy. He could have let me (us) experience the consequences of my sin. But he didn’t. Because he loves his kids!

As it happened, a number of years later we desperately needed that policy after E developed Alzheimer’s. Without the policy, we would have been undone financially. Our Lord is gracious.