I have been lamenting lately about not hearing God like I used to. Because I have been praying and fasting now for over a year for a situation in my life to change and I have seen nothing change and heard no new direction from God I feel that I am not hearing God. Tonight, however, I had an experience that leads me to believe that even though I may not always HEAR God He is still DIRECTING my STEPS and leading me.
We go to a very large church. I don’t know the exact numbers but a more than ten thousand people pass through our church doors on any given weekend. We attend Saturday services usually at 4:00 pm. Yesterday we attended our regular service. Tonight one of my daughters and I were at church for a special Sunday service celebrating the end of a 21 day church-wide fast. We arrived early expecting to participate in pre-service prayer which they didn’t have this time. She and I stopped by McAlister’s to get a cookie and some tea because we had a little extra time so we were wandering around the lobby so I could finish my tea. I NEVER do this. I always throw away my drink when I leave McAlisters. If I arrive early, I might get a glass of water from the cafe and stay over there or just go to my seat in the sanctuary but my actions tonight were not my normal.
As I was walking through the lobby, I saw what looked like a dead armadillo on the information table. This piqued my interest, so I went closer to see if it was an armadillo on the information table. As I got closer, I noticed it was a stuffed toy elephant. (Ok…I should wear my glasses.) I then noticed a small Bible beside the elephant. I thought. Hmmm…that looks like Matthew’s Bible. I was about to turn and walk away, but something inside me made me reach out and look more closely at the Bible. I noticed it was stuffed with jewels just like my youngest son does. Then I noticed the Bible also had tabs on it. Again just like my son’s Bible. Wow, another child does what he does. I picked it up and looked at it. It’s just a plain black NIV nothing fancy. My daughter thought it was my son’s Bible so I thought I would just give him a call. He was at his grandparent’s house for the evening.
I said, “Matthew do you know where your Bible is?” Matthew, “in the car.”. Me, “are you sure? Matthew, how do you sort your jewels?”
Matthew said, “I put the 5’s then the 25’s then the 50’s then the 100’s then the 10’s.”
I looked at the jewels inside the Bible and laughed as I noticed all of the 5’s, then one 50, all of the 25’s the 100’s and then the 10’s. Why would anyone sort jewels that way? Yes, the 50 was out of place but it was just one 50. Lots of 5’s 10’s and 100’s. No other child would sort 10’s AFTER 100’s but Matthew likes the colors that way. Both of his sisters confirmed that he always puts his 10’s last. So I took the Bible home. I figured if it isn’t his we can always bring it back.
I brought it into the house tonight, and all the kids confirmed it was Matthew’s Bible and he hadn’t even noticed it was missing yet and I found it.
That thought just amazes me as I think about it. My son must have left his Bible in the play area yesterday because he was playing while I was talking to someone. They never do that, so he apparently set it down and forgot about it. There were 4 more church services after the one we attended over the course of 24 hours since we had been there. That Bible could have been put in lost and found. It could have been left in the play area. It could have been just about anywhere, but it was right where I would see it when I was walking by somewhere I usually don’t walk. Was this just a coincidence that everything lined up just so? Is it possible that God cares about my son and his Bible and his jewels? Any child could have taken his stash of jewels. It wasn’t even a fancy Bible. Yet, I was directed to the right place at the right time so that I would see it when I wasn’t even looking. Perhaps I don’t have to always HEAR God speak to me about everything.
I used to pray every night when I went to bed but several years ago praying became more of a constant conversation all day long between me and God. It’s more like he’s just tagging along with me everywhere I go and I’m always talking to Him about stuff. Like when I go shopping with my daughter Lindsay. She and I talk almost constantly sometimes about important stuff sometimes just stupid things that pop into our head, but we are there together and sharing life together. That’s how I think it is with God in my life now. We get so used to someone being in our daily life that they just are part of us and we don’t notice it so much. We notice more their absence than we do their presence. It’s like when your child first learns to talk. Those first words are so special and amazing. You cannot hear enough them saying “mama, dada”. But honestly after a few years of “MAMA, MAMA, MOM” and my favorite “MOTHER!” it isn’t as amazing. We are used to it and we at times may not listen as attentively as we used to. It isn’t that our relationship isn’t important it’s just that we have become so accustomed to it that we don’t notice it as much as when it was new.
So even in those times when I don’t hear a “word” when God doesn’t send a messenger to me I am convinced that He is still guiding, directing, leading and protecting me. Even when I don’t know I’ve lost something, God has shown me that He knows what I need and He can provide for my need even before I know I need it.