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Sunday, December 15, 2013

A Shortcut for Shopping

A precious, white-haired woman sat speechless when I inquired, “How might I pray for you?” Certainly life was weighing on her. Big and small, she carried weights that God could take care of…if she’d ask Him.

Silence hung between us. Then, finally, came her shy reply. “Oh, the good Lord has bigger, more important things to take care of than what concerns me.”

 Sadness filled me. This sweet, Christian woman was missing out on the joy that comes from believing “small matters” are never too small for God. Bottom line, short on faith, she felt unworthy of her Father’s care.   

The truth is, God longs to hear us ask for help. He cares about all concerns, personal, and small. He owns the game plans and doesn’t expect us to figure them out. Even for shopping!

Christmas shopping began, for me, in November, when Kohls advertised a huge sale. I purchased presents for all the men in my family, including what I considered a “pretty” blue, fleece sweatshirt for my daughter’s boyfriend. With a bundle of presents, I drove home. One glance at my daughter’s dull look at the sweatshirt stopped my merry momentum.  Together, we returned to Kohls, she found a “better” gift, to her liking, and we landed at the customer service desk.

 Making a quick exchange came to a halt when I learned their policy about sale items purchased with “Kohl’s cash.” I could not return the sweatshirt in exchange for the “new” boyfriend gift without losing several dollars. I was told to look for an exchange item in the store for exactly $40. O K, I sighed, I’ll come back later. I’ll use the gift credit then, to buy a present for my daughter-in-law. So I paid for the “new” gift, kept the sweatshirt, and we left.

 The following weeks, I imagined strolling up and down Kohls aisles, sifting racks and shelves stuffed with women’s clothing. How could I find a $40, women’s item and not outstretch my time and energy?  

The day I decided to return to Kohls, words sprang from the depth of my being.  “We’ve got to pray!” I told my husband. I remembered the past. Asking God for guidance and grace before shopping always, somehow, simplified the task. 

I closed my eyes. Requests fluttered from my lips. “Lord, I need Your help to find Noelle’s present… today. Please make this quick. Make it easy. You know where it is and what it is! Guide me through the store.”

Minutes later, I whisked into Kohls women’s department at breathless speed. Before I could finish my thought about liking to have a clerk’s help, I glimpsed a young woman, straight ahead, folding clothes.

She looked up, straight at me, smiling big and eyes sparkling.  “Hi!” Her warm, happy greeting, wrapped my stiff heart. I stood shocked.

“Abigail! I haven’t seen you for years!” Elated chatting erupted. We caught up on news about her parent’s farm and future college plans. Together, we searched to find a gift, exactly $40. Shopping was turning into a joyous occasion.

God listens and He answers. Incredible as it seems, the Creator of the universe desires to answer seemingly insignificant, small prayers! At just the right time, and the right place, God led me to beautiful Abigail, a happy helper. She served God’s purpose to cut shopping short and make it unusually fun!   
Instead of looking to reason, which is the long road, call to God. Rather than figuring out everything on your own, take the shortcut. Go to God. He invites you, “Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know” (Jeremiah 33:3).  

Happy shopping!

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