Every year, my dear Grandmother gets everyone a gift certificate from Barnes and Noble. We all went out the day after Christmas and I browsed for quite some time until I found the perfect selections. I had two books in my hand as I walked towards the registers. In one hand, I held "Eat, Pray, Love" and in the other, "Three Cups of Tea". For some unknown reason, I felt like I should put "Three Cups of Tea" back and just get the one book...which is very unlike me! I usually use up my gift cards in one trip :)
Fast forward to that evening...I am squatting in front of the book section at the Goodwill, looking through all of the castaways. Most are from the 1970s...parenting books, cookbooks, novels. And then I see a very familiar cover...one that I had in my hand earlier that day! There is was..."Three Cups of Tea"! It was marked a whopping 59 cents. I caught my breath as I pulled it off of the shelf and quickly tucked it under my arm. I simply could not believe that it was the very book I had almost purchased at full retail price earlier that day.
Fast forward to the next day. I had been telling Rebecca about "Eat, Pray, Love" and that it would be the perfect book for her to read on their airplane ride to Brazil. I had prayed earlier about just giving her my new book, but I quickly (and selfishly) brushed that idea aside. I told God that if I was supposed to give it to her, then He better make it obvious. As we were sitting at the cafe drinking our coffee, Rebecca says, "could I just borrow that book from you for now"? And of course I said "NO! You can just have it!" :) I knew that God had spoken clearly and I heard Him.
The best part about all of this...was that because I didn't buy "Three Cups of Tea" at Barnes, I still had enough money to go back and buy another copy of "Eat, Pray, Love" for myself. God prepared the way in advance for me to bless Rebecca that day over coffee.
I don't believe in coincidence. I don't believe in luck. I believe in a sovereign God that weaves together every strand...every circumstance in our life...for good. Sometimes it may not feel "good" at the time, but when we look back years later or even at the end of our life, we can see that it was all working towards a purpose.
When I am abiding in Christ (spending time reading the Bible every day and regular time in prayer), I am so much more able to hear His gentle voice. My eyes are open and eagerly awaiting the amazing things that God has planned for my day.
"If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him" Matthew 7:11
My mind always comes back to this verse when God does something that delights and surprises me. My earthly father loves to go out for coffee...and he blesses his kids by taking them with and buying them coffee too. It's a sweet time a fellowship together and we love doing it. I'm always especially blessed because a Grande Soy Caramel Macchiato doesn't usually fit into a tight traveling budget! A few days ago, I was out running errands and I really wanted to stop and get a "fancy coffee", but I didn't want to spend the money on it. A few stops later, I was at the Co-op getting some groceries, and they were offering hot cups of fair trade, organic coffee for FREE! I was giddy with joy...and my mind went immediately to Christ, who I KNOW had a hand in that. Coffee with your Father is a good thing :)
Don't get me wrong...I don't believe that our prayers should be "you give me this, and I'll give you that" kind of prayers. I just know that when you walk with Him in a constant intimate relationship, He WILL bless you. He loves to bless you. And because you are in that close relationship, you will immediately recognize his touch.
Thank you God for good gifts!