I got to be an answer to prayer not long ago. My son had a friend who had been schooled at home for a short time, and in her senior year she was going to have to go back to a school she didn’t like and leave her homeschooling friends behind. She needed someone to help her with a couple subjects, and I have experience teaching the subjects, so I emailed the mother–whom I’d never met, and whose name I didn’t know–and offered to help teach her daughter. Emailing a stranger that way was a strange and not entirely comfortable act, but I felt compelled to do it, and so I hit the send button and waited to see what would happen.
She was delighted. When she came to meet me, she said she’d decided that if I was teaching British Literature to my other English students this year, she would know God wanted me to teach her daughter. I was indeed teaching British Lit, and now I have a new student. She’d had no idea someone would appear to help her out when she’d not even looked for the help, and it blew me away to be part of God’s plan in such a unique way.
In an unrelated story (well, for a few moments it will be unrelated), I registered my son for a chemistry class this fall. Then over the summer I bought him a cheap chemistry book at a used book sale, forgetting that I’d signed him up for the class. I felt silly for having this chemistry book I would never use and wondered why I couldn’t be more organized. Friday, three days before the chem class started, I realized I was supposed to have a textbook for the chem class. I panicked–how could I miss that on the class information site? How could I get this book in one weekend? Then I read the title and laughed. The textbook just happened to be the book I’d bought by accident this summer.
Okay, third slightly related story. This summer my son drove from Lexington to Louisville to visit a friend on a college campus. He arrived after hours, and he had no idea where to go. As he stepped out of his car, planning just to walk the large campus until he found the right building, he ran into someone he knew, someone from Lexington who was on campus who knew exactly how to get him where he was going. He’d had no idea this other friend was at the school, and he certainly had no idea he would be there on the sidewalk the moment he arrived on campus.
I’m pretty sure my son’s friend was real and not an angel sent to help him find his way. I know I’m real and not an angel sent to teach British Literature. So often I see what God ISN’T doing, like sending us a job, that I miss all the amazing things he does using ordinary people in ordinary lives. Sometimes God’s actions are subtle, and sometimes his plans are kind of neon signs across our paths.
I’m thankful for the neon right now. As we wait for my husband’s education and job situation to work out, I get weary, and I don’t look for God’s work. I forget to be thankful, and I forget to be in awe. I have a friend who likes to say God is in the details, and I admit sometimes I don’t agree. Sometimes things feel rather random, that God wants us to change and grow in big ways, and the little details just get in the way or don’t really matter to him.
But then someone shows up on the sidewalk to point the way, or the book on the shelf is exactly the one I need, and I have to apologize to God for being so cynical and not seeing his hand in every part of my life. I like to think he smiles a bit, rolls his eyes, and asks why I have so little faith. Honestly, having lived well for two years with no income, I have no good answer for that. I should be the most faithful person I know. I’m glad he’s faithful regardless, and I’m really thankful that he knew this summer I needed some neon pointers to his love for me and my family.