The day of Pat’s funeral was one of the hardest days of ministry my husband and I ever faced. For two years, we invested our lives and emotions into helping Pat overcome her alcohol addiction, but it was too little too late. After the funeral, her estranged daughter asked if she could come to our home that evening for counseling before her plane left the next day. I hurried home to get ready for our oldest daughter’s eighth birthday party, only to intercept a phone call from a disgruntled woman who felt we had not done enough to help Pat.
By late afternoon, I was physically and emotionally drained. I wondered what I could feed our coming guest for dinner but my clogged brain couldn’t even remember what I had in the refrigerator.
The doorbell rang. “Lord I can’t deal with one more person, I just can’t,” I prayed. I was tempted to ignore it. My body went into auto-pilot mode and I opened the door.
In His mercy, God took care of my need.
Doug stood outside the screen door, holding something shiny in his hands. A former biker and hard drinking truck driver, Doug was a brand new believer. We didn’tsee much of Doug and his wife outside of Sunday morning services, so Doug had no clue of what was happening in our lives that day.
“What’s that?” I asked. I sounded grouchy, blunt, terse, dull. But I didn’t care. I was too tired to even pretend to be gracious, too weary to figure out anything on my own.
Doug, whose dry sense of humor is a finely honed art skill, answered with the obvious. “A plate covered with tin foil.” A Brittish comedian could not have done better. I accepted the plate, peeking under the foil. The plate was full of fresh grilled barbecued chicken. “Dinner!” I breathed. “Thank you!” He shrugged. “I got in a grilling mood and sort of cooked too much,” he explained, ending with a sheepish laugh.
I closed the door, promising myself I would tell Doug later how God used an abundance of barbecued chicken to meet our desperate need. For years afterwards, our families exchanged plates covered in tin foil to commemorate how God, in His loving mercy, nudges others to help us in time of trouble.