Some think it's silly to expect God to intervene in the minutiae of everyday life. It's ridiculous, they explain, to pray for a parking spot in a crowded garage. Why would God care whether the rain holds off so we can finish mowing the back yard? And yet, God cares for us infinitely.
Let me tell you what happened this week. This weekend my daughter and son-in-law are coming home and bringing our precious one-month-old grandson. I have prepared all week for this event, compiling and re-compiling the menu for our Sunday dinner when other family will also be at our home. The center piece of this menu will be a great ham, roasted and juicy straight from the oven for Sunday lunch.
Early in the week during a visit to Food City, our local grocery store, I shopped for that ham. Looking over the few hams in the meat department, I experienced severe sticker shock. Forty dollars for a ham? I thought there had to be a cheaper ham somewhere in Smyth County. So I loaded up on Tuesday and went to Marion, which is home to several grocery stores. But I found the situation to be much the same at the Ingle's Grocery in Marion. Never one to give up easily, I stopped in at the Food Lion, a store in which I never shop.
I believe Food Lion had even fewer hams than the other stores, and their hams were just as expensive, if not more so. At this point I began to feel a little less optimistic. What about Kielbasa for lunch? Everybody likes Kielbasa, right?
There was one more store in Marion: Food City. But I'd already been to Food City in Chilhowie. Would this one be any different; they have mostly the same items at both stores.
I reluctantly pulled into the Food City parking lot. Sitting in the car, I prayed a short prayer: "God, help me find a ham. If I can't find a ham in this store, show me what I should fix for lunch on Sunday." Nothing fancy, no thee's or thou's, nothing holy. Just, "God, help me."
I walked directly to the ham section. All Food City stores are mostly the same, so I knew exactly where the hams would be. They had several. The prices did not take my breath away, so I rolled the lumpy chunks around to see what I could find. The biggest cheap ham was a little over $23. Not horrible. Not $40. Oh, but the freshness date was May 15. Tomorrow. But it was vacuum-wrapped. Surely it would still be good by Sunday. A store employee stood nearby, so I boldly pointed out to him that the ham's freshness was slowly expiring. Could he offer me a discount on the ham?
He hesitated as he mentally processed my question. "Yeah," he said. "I can discount it for you. Sure, it will still be good for this weekend." He took the ham back into the meat department and returned quickly. The price of the ham was now 99 cents per pound; the total cost was a little over $11! I was so excited about the answer to my prayer that I hugged the man. He laughed as I thanked him!
I do not believe in coincidences. I do believe in reaching out to a loving God and trusting in his care. God used the man in the grocery store to bless me and to teach me about how much God loves me. I'm quite sure that if there had not been a ham for me in Food City, God would have shown me another way to prepare Sunday's meal, even if it turned out to be Kielbasa and kraut. God is good, all the time.