When God Does Your Grocery Shopping
Apparently pomegranates are the new banana.
Last night, Stephanie, Fabio and I hosted a large Thanksgiving dinner for Fabio’s family. We had 16 adults in total, comfortably filling our whole living room. Most of them had never had a Thanksgiving meal before. Stephanie and I have been planning for this occasion for a couple of weeks. This last week in particular, all three of us have been exceptionally busy menu planning, decorating, cleaning, shopping, cooking, baking etc.
One of the dishes Stephanie planned to make was cranberry sauce. Her family uses a unique recipe which includes pomegranate juice and seeds. She did most of the grocery shopping earlier in the week but was unsuccessful in finding pomegranates.
Thursday morning found me at the ladies painting group I’ve been attending here in Belpasso. My friend who hosts the group each week had brought in a small bag of pomegranates she had collected from her tree at home to share with the ladies. Shortly before I left, she offered me a pomegranate to take home. A minute or two later, she came back and offered me a second one. I hesitated at first, not wanting to take the second one unless I was confident it would be eaten. Eventually I agreed and took the second one as well.
I am not an avid pomegranate eater. In fact, I only discovered I like them in the last couple of years. Not being well-acquainted with the fruit, I have to confess, I thought the pomegranates didn’t look very good because both of them were cracked open. When Stephanie arrived home from work later that day, I learned the following: the cracks are indicators they are extremely ripe, so much so, the fruit has literally burst open because it can’t contain all the ripe fruit and juice in side.
When Stephanie saw the two pomegranates sitting on the counter, she immediately asked where they had come from and what they were for. As I explained where I got them from and how I had no specific plans for how I would use them, she began to get extremely excited and shared with me her need for two ripe pomegranates for her pomegranate-cranberry sauce.
Just as Jesus provided the three ripe bananas my older sister needed several years ago, so He saw fit to provide Stephanie with exactly what she needed.
If you’ve read many of the other “ripe banana” stories on this blog, your response to reading about this sovereign provision will likely be similar to mine:
Of course she did.
Of course she needed exactly two ripe pomegranates.
Of course what she couldn’t find at the store was provided for at just the right time.
Of course it would be this week my friend would think of and remember to bring her extra pomegranates to art group.
Of course the other ladies who were offered the pomegranates before I arrived would not want them all.
Of course I would agree to taking not one, but two pomegranates.
But beyond Stephanie’s literal need for two of this particular type of fruit, the pomegranates also filled another need she had: confirmation and assurance.
Jesus sanctioned our dinner with the gift of two ripe pomegranates.
These small, timely gifts were for her, a confirmation from Jesus we were doing what He wanted us to do. Throughout the week or two leading up to this event, Stephanie had been struggling to know with certainty we were planning for and hosting this event because it was what Jesus wanted us to do. By Him so evidently providing for one our smallest of needs regarding the dinner, she quickly regained the assurance she had been seeking and was able to move forward with the work left to be done with an extra measure of joy and gratitude.
Am I surprised by God’s provision? No, not in the least.
Overwhelmed by His tender care and attention to the smallest of details? Absolutely.
Interested in trying a new recipe for Thanksgiving this year?
Here is Stephanie’s cranberry-pomegranate sauce recipe:
Makes 2 cups – Active time: 5 min – Total time: 20 min
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1 large shallot, finely chopped (Stephanie leaves this out since these are hard to find here in Italy)
1 bag (12 oz) fresh or frozen cranberries
1 cup pomegranate juice
1/2 cup packed dark-brown sugar
course salt and ground pepper
1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
In a medium sauce pan, heat oil over med-high. Add shallot; cook, stirring constantly until softened, 3 minutes. Add cranberries, pomegranate juice and brown sugar; season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until cranberries have burst and sauce is slightly thickened, 10 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in pomegranate seeds. Let cool to room temperature before serving (to store, refrigerate in an air-tight container, up to 1 week).
Use any leftovers as a sandwich spread or stirred into yogurt as a dip.
per 1/4 cup: 1.2 g fat (0.1 g sat fat); 0.5 g protein; 23.8 g carb.; 1.9 g fiber
From: Everyday Food; A Martha Stewart Magazine, November 2010. Page 95.