God’s faithfulness never runs out.
My daughter’s text message, “God is so good,” made my soul soar. It’s been a difficult year for our oldest daughter. A difficult several years, in fact. After watching her parents and sister leave the state, and experiencing setbacks in her optometry school studies, she left for an out-of-state clinic rotation. As her parents, we hoped the experience in a new environment would give her a chance to start over again and give her a fresh perspective.
The first day did not bode well. Her first impressions of the VA hospital weren’t reassuring, The upper floor of an adjoining office building where interns were housed was small and cramped. She experienced the normal but unexpected glitches of settling in – like procuring a key pass and juggling her possessions around her roommates who already lived there. The “free” hospital food, while ok, wasn’t much more glamorous than nursing home fare.
“Can I come home now,” she asked for about the fifth time in eighteen months. Mean mama that I am, I extended the gnarled branch of tough love and said, “No.”
Later, I called her back. “Remember how you prayed for Kraft Macaroni and Cheese when you were four years old? I told you it was too expensive and I needed to wait till it went on sale. You suggested we pray that it go on sale. I couldn’t bring myself to pray that God would make Kraft Mac and cheese go on sale, but you did. And the next day, the sales flyer showed it to be the cheapest price we had seen it in months.”
I took a deep breath. “Daddy told that story in his sermon today. You are my Kraft Macaroni and Cheese girl. You had the faith back then that God would provide even the small stuff. He can do it for you again. Just keep trusting Him to provide your daily bread.”
All through the next week, I fretted and prayed over her. God has been so good to me through the years. I reminded God about my first weekend in Cincinnati after moving 1500 miles from Arizona to attend seminary. Caught without enough cash to get me through the weekend, stranded at campus with no car and no access to an ATM, I found out the cafeteria was closed on Sundays. I literally did not know how I would get my next meal. For the first time I learned to pray, “Give me my daily bread.”
God answered in such a marvelous way that Guideposts later published the story. The parents of a church camp co-worker back in Arizona invited me to evening services and even offered to come get me. While in the car, Mrs. Ensign asked if I would stay for dinner. Her meal was exactly the kind my mom had fixed for my birthday two months before – baked chicken, baked potatoes, sautéed zucchini and homemade whole wheat bread.
I begged the Lord to do for Katherine what He had done for me so many times, to provide for her in a special way that would help her feel at home.
Meanwhile, Katherine was praying her own prayers. I’m so proud of my girls that even on vacations, they seek out a church on their own. I know how nerve wracking it can be to walk into the unknown, to be the stranger in a fish bowl of familiarity. Homesickness and isolation washed over Katherine once again. “Getting invited home for lunch would just be lovely,” she informed God. “But would You please just send someone who would ask me to sit with them? Help me connect with people like I have at my other two churches.”
She found a church within walking distance of the VA hospital. As soon as she walked in the door, the greeter engaged her in conversation, introduced her to her husband who used to work at the VA, and invited her to sit with them and would she join them for lunch at another couple’s home after church? As they enjoyed introducing Katherine to the local food favorite of lobster rolls, Katherine discovered she shared common ground with this delightful couple – Wendy and her crafting and Herb’s interest in biochemistry. After lunch she tagged along for an afternoon of hiking, one of our family’s favorite activities. It was the perfect introduction to her new surroundings, an area of the Northeast that Katherine explored and grew to appreciate and love over her three month stay. What started out as more of the same discouragement she had endured over the past three years turned into one of the highlights of her Optometry School experience.
God wasn’t done yet. He left His calling card to show this moment in time wasn’t just coincidence, serendipity or standard fare for church folks. Katherine told me with breathless awe, “Mom! This family has your silverware pattern.”
“The Mighty One has done great things for me—
holy is his name.
His mercy extends to those who fear him,
from generation to generation.” – Luke 1:49,50
The book of John tells how Jesus turned water into wine. As my preacher husband said on that day he told about the Kraft Mac and Cheese, that miraculous event shows that Jesus cares about the small stuff. Like an expert Party Planner, he covers every detail, even drifting from the necessary into the nice. He didn’t have to provide wine. He didn’t have to make so much. He didn’t have to make it the best of the evening. But that’s our Lord. He lavishes us with His love, doing things bigger and better, going beyond the seen need to the unseen just so there is no doubt of who gets the Glory. He will go to any measure to assure us that He is there taking care of us, looking out for us, championing us, and bringing us to into community with other believers that help us feel like we’ve come home.
Every detail. Any measure. Even Kraft Mac and Cheese. Even the silverware.