Two days before Christmas I was in Wal-mart. It was in the evening and I was picking up a few extra things so I wouldn't have to go back out before the Holidays. In front of me checking out was a very young woman and she was by herself as well. All she was buying were bananas. Well a lot of bananas. Like several pounds of bananas. The "southernly" check-out clerk asked her "what are ya doin' with all these bananas?" To which the young woman sweetly replied, "they are for my son. He is 3 years old and he loves bananas. He eats several a day." The check out clerk carried on casual conversation with her about what a good eater he was and then gave her the total. "Six dollars and .36 cents is your total." The young woman pulled a WIC check out of her pocket which was a prepaid amount of six dollars. She said with embarrassment "all I have is six dollars, I guess we will have to put some of the bananas back." "Well wait a minute," the clerk said searching her pockets, "maybe I have some change. No I'm afraid I don't." The young woman started to grab the bananas to have them taken off her total. Of course at this point I am going to buy all the bananas for her so I already have my wallet out. The clerk asks me, "Do you have any change?" Knowing I never have cash, I peer into my change pocket of my wallet hoping to find 2 quarters and I say, "all I have is 3 nickels and a few pennies. It doesn't look like 36 cents." So the clerk holds her hand out and says "Well honey, count it out in my hand and we will see how much you have."
Do you need to ask how much I had? I had exactly 36 cents. Three nickels and 21 pennies. Me, who never has cash, me who thought I only had 3 nickels and a few pennies.
I almost cried as I counted out to number 36. The clerk was counting with me. We were counting out loud too. She folded up her hand, opened her register, dropped the money in, and said to the young woman, "Well that's God for ya." The young woman half smiled, still a little embarrassed, and walked out with $6.36 worth of bananas for her son.
Today is my birthday, I am now 36. I have to say I am much happier turning 36 than turning 35. Last year a very difficult birthday. I didn't want to turn 35. It was like I could no longer be in my early thirties. Daniel was literally out of the country. My Dad was in Wisconsin because his brother had just passed away, and it was my first birthday without the one who birthed me. There was no phone call from her telling me the story of how I was 9 lbs 15 ounces and broke my collar bone being born.
There was no describing how I had a bunch of red, curly hair. There was no telling me how I looked like a line backer with big shoulders. There was no me rolling my eyes at the story I had heard at least 100 times. Oh to hear that story once more......
I think about the 36 cents I had in my wallet that evening. How long had it been in there? How long had it been exactly 36 cents? At what point did I add or subtract for it
to make it the perfect amount for that evening? I do not ever believe in random chance. And it may seem trivial, but I believe 100 percent that the amount was there
for that moment by God to speak to me. I am sure it spoke to that young woman as well. We live so much of our lives in doubt. Doubt of God that is. It is hard to believe
in the "unseen." But the Jewish people had the "seen" and most of them didn't believe as well.
We finished up the Book of John with the kids the other night for Bible time. We were reading about how Jesus appeared to the disciples and in particular to Thomas. Oh doubting Thomas. Thomas who had to see for himself the markings on Jesus' hands and feet. Jesus who waited 8 days to appear to Thomas. Jesus who said to Thomas, "Do not disbelieve, but believe." Oh how I love Thomas' response, "My Lord and my God!" "Lord" translating in Greek to the divine name "Yahweh" and "God" to exclaim
His deity. What sweet worship. Jesus' timing was perfect.
John 21 describes Jesus appearing to some of the disciples as they were fishing one evening, after His resurrection. When the disciples realize it is Jesus on the shore, Peter jumps into the water and swims to where Jesus is standing. What I love is that the Bible says they weren't far from shore. The rest of the disciples boated back in. Peter couldn't wait. Peter who denied who Jesus was. Peter who said he never knew the man. Peter who was afraid. Jesus' timing was perfect.
I say all this to bring encouragement. I don't know if you are doubting, disbelieving, or struggling with something in your life or faith. I know that I cannot live without my faith. I know I am not suppose to live without my faith. I know I do not want to live without my faith. I struggle with various things in life like we all do, but I can explain the comfort I have had from the day I knew my Mom was going to die, because of my faith in Christ. Life is difficult. Believing in the "unseen" is hard. But He has shown us His hands and His feet. He has said "Do not disbelieve, but believe." And He gives us 36 cents all the time to show us that He is our Lord and our God.
May you believe Jesus is the Christ and jump into the water. The only thing we have to deny is ourselves.