One Sunday night, long after the church service had concluded, I was deep in conversation with Frank, a friend and church council member, when Ann Georgianna approached us. We could both see she was in distress, so we immediately stopped our conversation to find out what might be troubling her.
Ann, at that time, was over 70 years old—a classy and beautiful lady who brimmed with charm. She was part of a large family that had emigrated from Sicily. When the parents of this family lost their health, it was Ann who offered to leave her vocation to care for them full time with the generous support of her brothers and sister.
Under Ann’s tender care, however, the parents lived much longer than anyone had expected. By the time they passed away, Ann was well past retirement age herself with virtually no Social Security benefits and little savings. Making use of her gracious spirit and God-given charm, she found a new career as a hostess at one of the area’s most popular restaurants—and quickly established herself both as a fixture and a favorite of the clientele.
For several years, everything went well for her. She had her health and thoroughly enjoyed her role at the restaurant, which she proudly described as “the job the Lord gave me!”
That Sunday night, however, Frank and I could immediately see that something wasn’t right with her. Her smile was gone. She explained that the owner of the restaurant, with whom she related so well and who had always treated her with such favor, had hired a new general manager who decided to make wholesale changes.
“He told me he’s going to go young,” she said, which meant that a pretty twentysomething had already been hired to replace Ann, who was to be terminated in 30 days.
A Terrifying Dilemma
“You know, Pastor,” she reminded me, “I have only a tiny bit of Social Security and just a little in savings, which would only take care of me for a few months. I know I can’t get another job. Who would hire a lady my age? What shall I do?”
The grief was in her face, in her voice, in her eyes. She was looking to me for answers, and at that moment, I didn’t have a clue what to tell her. She had walked with the Lord so many years and had always been a strong believer in the faithfulness of God. What could I say to her that she didn’t already know?
With hands on Ann’s shoulders, Frank and I began to pray out loud for her. We submitted Ann’s problem, which to us seemed impossible, into the hands of an almighty God.
Ann went back to work on Monday, and the new manager seemed to gloat as he assigned her menial tasks that she would be expected to do during the final month of employment. She would say later it was one of the most belittling experiences of her life and that “things couldn’t get any lower.” The manager had a real cruel streak and laughed at her distress.
As we talked on the phone that first Monday evening, Ann said, “Pastor, I’m about to break.” I felt so inadequate but made what attempt I could to help her refocus on the presence and faithfulness of God.
The Lord didn’t keep Ann waiting for her answer very long. On Wednesday of that week, I received another call from Ann—and it was about as different from the Monday call as two conversations could be. I could tell her spirits were sky high as she literally yelled into the phone: “Pastor! A miracle has taken place!”
Giving me no more than a couple of seconds to absorb that news, she quickly went on to explain.
A Miraculous Provision
“Pastor, the owner of the restaurant came in today and fired the new manager—and told him to take the ‘new girl’ with him. He came into the back room where I was doing the humbling work and said, ‘Ann, go home and put on one of your nice dresses and return to your position as hostess. I’m going to give you a good raise in salary.’ Pastor, can you believe it?”
But that was just the beginning of Ann’s saga. At the end of the month, in a restaurant with scores of employees, she was chosen as employee of the month.
After another month, she had a conversation with a middle-aged couple who were regulars at the restaurant. To Ann, this husband and wife showed no signs of affluence. She was surprised when they stayed until all diners left, evidently wanting to speak to her. Then they quietly asked Ann if she would come and work with them.
They admitted they had been watching her for a couple years and had concluded she was just the person they were looking for. Whatever her salary might be, they said, they would double it.
Taken aback, Ann asked them, “What kind of business do you have, and what would you want me to do?”
They confided that they were building a privately owned country club including a huge golf facility and a large, first-rate restaurant with a spectacular view overlooking the valley. They wanted her to be their hostess, and even though the facility wouldn’t be complete for nine months, they would give her that time off to herself, with pay.
Too Good to Be True?
It certainly seemed like the miracle she wanted, but was it too good to be true? As so many of us do, she began looking immediately for the barriers that would keep it from happening.
“I couldn’t drive back and forth from where I now live,” she said. “It would be much too far.” They answered that they were building a large, opulent home with a guesthouse, which would be hers to live in.
Ann found yet another barrier. “But my old car is worn out, and I would need to make weekly trips to my church and to my family.”
Ann couldn’t believe their response. “We will buy you a car!” (It turned out to be a Cadillac.) What was left but for her to graciously accept God’s miracle provision for her life?
In the course of time, she invited my wife, Marilee, and me to visit her in her new living quarters, see her car, and have dinner in the beautiful dining hall overlooking the valley. On numerous occasions Ann said to us, “God is so good to me that I have to pinch myself to see whether or not this is all real.”
For several years, Ann was the much-loved and endearing hostess of the country club dining room. One day, an investor came to offer the owner of the country club a handsome price he could not refuse. The sale was negotiated.
But what would happen to Ann?
She didn’t have to worry about it for a moment. One of the only stipulations made in the contract was that Ann would be kept as a public relations employee as long as she desired to work there and would receive regular increases in salary. She continued on with her hostess responsibilities for several more years, until age began to take its toll.
She finally quit working and went to live the last three years of her life with her “world’s best brother,” finally taking her leave to be with the Lord when she was 93. It comforted me—and made me smile—to realize that those successive waves of miracles would continue in the life of Ann Georgianna for all eternity.
This is Part 1 of a three-part article series.
To read part 2, Physical Healing and Angelic Intervention, click here.
To read part 3, Revival in Brazil, click here.
By: Dr. Paul Risser, well-known for his pastor’s heart and love for people, is a former president of The Foursquare Church and a popular speaker who has traveled worldwide. This article is adapted from his new book, An Eye for Miracles: Be Surprised by the Hand of God, published by Foursquare Media, copyright 2010. Used by permission. This article may not be republished or redistributed in any form. An Eye for Miracles is available for purchase from Foursquare Media.