Wednesday, August 17, 2016
Years ago, I heard a sermon by a pastor who was, it seems to me, grievously wrong-headed. He said that God was disinterested in human joy and that God did not want to hear about the small matters of our lives.
I cannot believe that. I don't. I won't.
The Bible tells us that God takes note of sparrows, that he counts the very hairs of our heads. He cares whether we are happy or hungry or angry. I am so certain of that that I believe it in my bones. That is I felt sure today that God would be interested when I brought him the question of a very particular pink jacket.
I saw the jacket the other day at the dollar store. Although the regular price on it was already low, it was marked down and clearance priced at 40% off--a bargain!
Oh, I wanted that jacket. But I already have a couple of pale pink jersey jackets that I should be (and am) grateful for. And I can't afford to go clothes-shopping--I have not, in fact, bought any item of clothing since January. I had a big bill that was coming due that to be paid before anything else, so I forced myself to walk away from the pink jacket. I didn't really need it, did I? And I certainly shouldn't think of buying. I figured that, like most other interesting stuff, I'd forget all about it soon enough.
But I didn't forget. This wasn't like any other pink jacket. It was so Excessively Pink that I can't even name what color it should be called. It's a couple of shades beyond hot pink, and that's for sure. It's so pink that it looks like the color of hope, if hope were to be called a color.
The Excessively Pink jacket kept popping up in the back of my mind for three days. I knew that it surely must have sold. It was the only one in my size, and the sale price was too good to resist. And it was irresistibly Excessively Pink.
Now I don't wear dark colors, and I rarely wear white. I don't have any black or gray clothes. Life is too short to be dull! I wear pink, turquoise, red, lime, orange, yellow--sometimes all of them at once if I can. But I've never had anything quite so Excessively Pink as the jacket I saw at the dollar store.
Finally, I said my prayers. "God, I really want that pink jacket but only if I am supposed to have it, and I need you to show me clearly. I won't be leaving the house today unless I make an eBay sale, so I won't go to the store unless I do. And whenever I do go to the store, I will accept it if the jacket is gone. Thank you for bringing joy and hope to my life no matter what." Almost immediately, I got notification that I had made a sale--I would have to go to the PO. The store is on the way there, so I just had to stop in--that's what I prayed about, after all. There were still a couple of pink jackets remaining. And there it was, curiously tagged on the hanger with the wrong size, my answer: the Excessively Pink jacket that I wanted so much. I bought it.
God answers prayer. He really does. He cares about the small stuff. He wants us to have hope. He wants us to be happy. I know that's true because I have an Excessively Pink jacket that is a clear answer to prayer, and I believe that it's a reminder to me of how God demonstrates his caring.
There's a Japanese TV Drama that I saw nearly a decade ago. In it, the lead character tries to explain why he doesn't mind someone else being in control. What he said has stayed with me because it sounded a lot like the way I understand our relationship to God. To paraphrase, he said that a kite could feel joyful flying freely in the sky because it knows that there is an understanding and gentle hand guiding it by holding the string that will bring it back safely to earth.
We can trust God to guide us and to take care of the small stuff. It's good to be joyful. And I am so very grateful.
.....and, by the way, just so I'm clear: I understand that it was the lesson that was the true blessing. The jacket doesn't really matter, except as a reminder of God's love.