Up Close and Personal

Why am I so often surprised when God answers my prayers?!

I really wanted to go to the Sonoma County Harvest Fair this weekend but since I have some debt I didn’t feel right about spending money on a ticket. I started praying Thursday and Friday God would provide me with a free ticket.

Saturday I worked until mid-afternoon and missed out on going with family.

This morning (Sunday), I woke up and told the Lord I really wanted to go but if it was His will, He’d need to provide a friend to go with who was willing to drive and a free ticket. At church, since I didn’t have enough in my checking account to write a check like I usually do, I tithed the $20 bill remaining from this week’s tip money. Good riddance! It had been burning a hole in my wallet trying to convince me it should be spent on going to the fair. This left me with $2 and an expectation either God would provide or I was supposed to spend the afternoon doing something else.

Though my sister had already gone to the fair the day before, she had mentioned Saturday her willingness to go again with me on Sunday. Then the early afternoon slipped by playing with my niece and listening to my sister try to explain to her how taking a nap was non-negotiable. I started to think God had other plans for how I was to spend the rest of the day.

By the time my niece was tucked into bed I was surprised to hear my sister say it was still worth our while to go if only for a couple of hours. I took my sister’s persuasive argument and eagerness to go as God’s provision of someone to go with, even as my trembling faith conceded to compromise with plans to charge the $10 ticket on my credit card. We pulled into the parking lot and my last $2 were offered as a contribution towards the $6 parking fee.

As we were walking across the parking lot, I could sense a few faint wafts of guilt mixed in with the pungent smell of fair food. I thought it might be guilt that hadn’t yet been carried off by my recognition of God’s provision thus far. Then again if I had been fully convinced God was the one who had provided thus far, if I had been certain He heard my prayers, was able to provide and was willing and eager to grant my request simply because I am His, I wouldn’t have given up a few minutes too soon that He might still provide a free ticket.

We were not more than 10 yards from the ticket booth when we passed an older lady wearing a Harvest Fair staff shirt. Just after we passed by her, she stopped us to ask if we needed tickets.

REALLY?!!!!

Though she was wanting to give them away she had let others who had passed by before us continue on their way to the ticket booth. She said she had been looking for folks who looked like they’d appreciate them. Or maybe she thought the others who had walked by already had tickets? Who knows? What I am certain of is God led her out to the entrance at just the right moment and waited to give her the courage she needed so His complete Sovereignty and perfect goodness would be revealed to me, up close and personal. Me! A sinner saved by grace and so overwhelmingly undeserving of His goodness! Me, one of the billions of people roaming the planet, each of whom He watches over day and night. Me, a child of little faith who prayed for something small and trivial and then didn’t hold fast to the promises of her faithful Father when He says:

Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened. …If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! ~Matthew 7:7-8, 11

“Lord, I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”

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