Saturday, March 27, 2010


Yesterday I won a basket filled with Avon beauty products in a raffle held where Jesse works.I've been wanting to do something to pretty up my feet in preparation for summer, and I'd been putting off buying the products myself, so I sent $5 with him to work to win for me. I was so excited when he called to tell me the good news, and I immediately gave credit where it was due: to God. Okay, so you might not believe that God cares enough about the little things to grant me this completely pointless and vain wish, but I believe He does.

In Luke 11:10, Jesus says: Don't bargain with God. Be direct. Ask for what you need. This is not a cat-and-mouse, hide-and-seek game we're in. If your little boy asks for a serving of fish, do you scare him with a live snake on his plate? If your little girl asks for an egg, do you trick her with a spider? As bad as you are, you wouldn't think of such a thing—you're at least decent to your own children.

God loves to give us our heart's desire, even when the desire isn't necessarily earth-shattering. I love to give gifts to people. My love language is gifts, so that's how I show my love to my family. I am always picking up little things to surprise my kids. Doogie rarely returns to college without something new in his duffle bag, and both my girls know that if they go shopping with me, they're going to come home with a little something. When Christmas time rolls around, I start planning in September, and I spend a great deal of time thinking over every gift. I want every single person to be thrilled with their present and know that I've paid attention to what they love and who they are.

Like the Bible verse says, if I treat my loved ones this way, and I am a selfish and sinful person, how much more does God love to gift us? Sometimes those gifts are a miraculous answered prayer, but more often they are quiet reminders of His love, and if we aren't paying attention, we don't even think of them as being what I call a "God-thing."

A few weeks ago, I was driving to my doctor's appointment to talk about getting ready for my upcoming surgery. I had to have a procedure I wasn't looking forward to, and I had been fasting since midnight. I was hurting and cranky when I got into the van, and my heart sent up a small prayer, "God, show me your love." Heading down the road, I flipped through radio stations trying to find a good song to sing along to and I came to Amie by Pure Prairie League. I've talked in previous blog posts about how much this song means to me, and I never hear it on the radio. I instantly recognized that it was God answering my prayer. I sang at the top of my lungs with a smile on my face warmed from the depth of his love.

At the beginning of my book fast, I was really struggling with not reading, and then realized that I had scheduled an overnight trip, fourteen hours round trip in a car, that I would normally pass by reading, and I couldn't read books! I wasn't sure what to do, but I had to stop at the library, so I prayed for a few Publisher's Weekly magazines that I could bring along. When I walked in the door, the librarian handed me several Library Journal magazines that she had been saving for me, plus there were two PW's on the shelf that I hadn't read. It was another answered prayer, and it made the whole trip more enjoyable.

God answers small and large prayers every day, and I think that we don't even notice even half of them. He wants us to know his love so that we will want to live with him, and one of the clearest ways we can feel his love is through answered prayers.

Think of the story of Ruth and Naomi. Naomi lost her husband and two sons and decided to return to her home country in hopes of finding some comfort there. Ruth, as Naomi's daughter-in-law, had lost her husband, but rather than take the easy road of marrying someone else, she followed Naomi to a strange land where she was viewed as an outsider, a foreigner. They moved into a cave, Naomi's husband had sold their home years before, and lived off of the gleanings Ruth was able to scrape together. Naomi was so angry with God about her circumstances, that she changed her name to Marah, meaning bitter, and told everyone that God had abandoned her. Ruth went from field to field until she found one where the owner welcomed her, fed her along with his workers, and ensured that she would have plenty to eat. The benefactor's name was Boaz, and he just happened to be a cousin to Naomi's husband and the one man who could pull them out of their poverty. When Ruth told Naomi how Boaz had taken care of her, Naomi responded, "Why, God bless that man! God hasn't quite walked out on us after all! He still loves us, in bad times as well as good!" Ruth 2:20

Who knows what prayers Naomi had offered up in her heart? Maybe she had given up on God so far as to stop praying to him entirely, but he placed Ruth in the only man's field in all of Bethlehem who could redeem the women from their poverty. That's not chance or coincidence, that's God actively working! The story ends with everyone happily every after; Ruth marries Boaz, Naomi dotes on their son, Obed. Obed would have a son named Jesse who would later father David, the most famous of Israel's kings. Ruth is also mentioned in the lineage of Jesus. Funny how one small answered prayer ended up impacting the entire world.

God answers so many of our prayers daily, that if we took the time to thank him for every one, we'd never have time for anything else! Especially when you consider all of the things we don't pray for, but he give us anyway.

Back in Numbers, God sends the Israelites to avenge his people against the Midianites. Moses sends a thousand soldiers from each tribe, and they completely annihilate their opponents. The plunder they take is 675,000 sheep, 72,000 cattle, and 61,000 donkeys, not to mention all of the gold and silver! After the battle, the military commanders approach Moses and say, "We have counted the soldiers under our command and not a man is missing. We've brought offerings to God from the gold jewelry we got—armlets, bracelets, rings, earrings, ornaments—to make atonement for our lives before God." 

They are grateful to God because not a single Israelite life was lost. They are thanking God not for all they acquired or for the victory as much as they are for what they didn't lose. How often do we take the time to thank God for what we take for granted? Not to scare you, but there are 6,420,000 car accidents annually in the US with someone dying every 13 minutes. Have you thanked God this week for every safe car trip your family made?

There is something to be grateful for in every single day. Maybe it's hard to be thankful for what's going on in your life, so then take the time to appreciate what hasn't happened. Like Junior Asparagus says, "A thankful heart is a happy heart!" So open your eyes to the little gifts from God each day; I find that the more I look for them, the more I see. Open your eyes and your heart and let yourself be overwhelmed by the blessings of the Lord.