Monday, December 15, 2014

Life in a box of chocolates

A little story about how practically and impractically God provides for me. This is from the last few minutes of my life.

I’ve been helping to care for my Grandma in the hospital since she just had a big surgery.  That isn’t really what the story is about, its just background. Well, my Grandma is a simple lady – easy to please, difficult to anger, a pleasure to care for. She doesn’t require much. But over the past many years, we’ve come to a little “tradition” of me getting her Godiva chocolate for special occasions. The tradition goes that I buy some at a discount store (I don’t tell her that part, because part of the fun is that it seems like expensive, fancy chocolate), and then she takes it from my hand saying things like “you’re trying to make me as big as a cow” and acting like I shouldn’t have gotten it. And then she keeps it on the counter at her house and rations it out one piece every day or two, until its gone.

Well, I’ve been planning to go get her those chocolates each day that she’s been in the hospital. And each day I’ve been too tired, or too busy. So, when I come back to the hospital, it’s been empty-handed with regard to my planned gift. Plus, though I’ve determined to do it because it is something special, I’ve thought many times about how I shouldn’t really buy things that aren’t necessary. I’m not completely broke, but it’s the principle that if there’s no income, there shouldn’t be any purchases apart from necessity. But a few minutes ago I just thought to myself that I needed to be sure to take care of getting it done today, especially cause Grandma’s appetite is starting to come back.

So, I just stopped by the house to find a package addressed to me. No joke, “Godiva Chocolate” is printed on the outside, and inside is a box of chocolates with a gold bow tied around. I smiled as I picked it up, seeing my name on the front. Immediately, I told Him thank you for His provision. I mean, I could tell you a thousand times when “coincidence” provided exactly what I needed. Time, and paper, would limit me if I started to name the ridiculous things - ranging from the right color socks to thousands of dollars- that have appeared at exactly the right time. I’m no fool, that’s no coincidence. By no means do I mean that God is some genie who grants my foolish wishes when I rub the side of my Bible in just the right way. Nope, He isn’t like that. And His gifts aren’t like that either. They are usually more like this.  Unexpected, undeserved, and just right.  Now sometimes He seems like He hasn’t heard, or hasn’t seen, or once in a while, like He doesn’t even care. But I’ve learned to trust that He always does, regardless of whether it is really clear to me. But sometimes, He really does do this kind of practical provision. And I love it cause maybe it is something tangible that someone else could actually see and understand.

And then I’m reminded of the impractical. One story always leads to another it seems. Like even Christmas. That was a totally impractical, destined to fail kind of plan. I wouldn’t have wrapped up God in flesh. And I sure can’t understand why the hope of the world was stuck in a little podunk town with average parents. Nor do I really grasp the life He lived and how His righteousness gets to cover my unrighteousness.  And then there’s the cross, and blood, and death, and resurrection – none of those sound reasonable regarding options for saving the world. Sounds kind of impractical for a God who just spoke and the world came into being. Why such an elaborate plan? Why didn’t He just speak again? But as I read the story I am reminded of how lavish this impractical love was. That Somebody chose to give their son to save me. I can’t understand that. I’d like to think that I’d give my life for lots of different people. But not my kids (the theoretical ones, how much less willing if they were actually real onesJ ). And not for a kind of wobbly plan. Or messed up, selfish people.

I think about the crazy extremes of His love. Wishing I could see Him smile as I opened up that box on the porch, understanding His care and provision through chocolate that will bring joy only for a moment. And then a minute later considering the kind of love that bought my life, at a much greater cost than it was even worth.  

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